Tag Archives: CAEP

New Research: “Prospective Teachers Respond to Economic Incentives,” Absent “Economic Incentives,” How Can We Attract and Retain Teachers?

My principal at James Madison Hugh School was Henry Hillson, a classmate of Nelson Rockefeller at Dartmouth, Jules Kolodny was a founder and officer at the UFT, and he earned a law degree and a Phd in economics. They were products of the Great Depression, graduated from college in the 30’s, jobs were scarce, especially for Jews, and, entry into teaching required passing a rank order civil service examination. The teaching force was exemplary, in a more prosperous era they would have risen in the world of law, medicine, business or university academia.

With the reintroduction of the draft in the early 60’s teaching in a high poverty school came with a draft deferment, and, once again, college graduates heading toward other careers ended up in teaching. Some taught a few years and moved on, others, many of my workmates stayed in teaching. Three of my department members had Phd degrees.

In the 80’s and 90’s schools were desperate for teachers, the NYC Board of Education issued provisional, probationary teaching (PPT) certificates, requiring a handful of college credits, the pre-service literacy exam was deferred. In the mid-nineties, seventeen percent of teachers were PPT’s; teachers unable to pass a low level literacy examination.

Professor Martin West tweeted the results of his large research project, 30,000 third and fourth grade teachers in Florida and found,

“… teachers entering the profession during recessions are significantly more effective in raising student test scores…”

We exchanged tweets,

Peter Goodman‏ @edintheapple 20h20 hours ago

Replying to  @ProfMartyWest

The Great Depression drove the best and the brightest into teaching, and, with a Board of Examiners “blind” civil service exam and rank order appointments our teaching force in NYC was unparalleled

Martin West‏ @ProfMartyWest 20h20 hours ago

Replying to @edintheapple

This would be a very interesting historical parallel. While “more recessions” is not the right policy prescription, hiring more (or at least not fewer) teachers during recessions probably is.

West’s research only confirms what we already knew, outside options matter, economic downturns, the draft, impact job choices, and, during prosperous economic periods teachers are drawn from the “lower cognitive distribution” of college graduates.  The primary reasons are lower salaries, low status and the job itself.

… individuals entering the teaching profession in the United States tend to come from the lower part of the cognitive ability distribution of college graduates (Hanushek and Pace, 1995). One frequently cited reason for not being able to recruit higher-skilled individuals as teachers is low salaries compared to other professions (e.g., Dolton and Marcenaro-Gutierrez, 2011; Hanushek et al., forthcoming).

Currently enrollment in teacher preparation programs are sharply down, fewer prospective teachers in the pipeline, additionally, the attrition rate among new teachers is depressingly high.

Linda Darling-Hammond at the Learning Policy Institute has conducted extensive research on why teachers leave,

  • inadequate preparation
  • lack of support for new teachers
  • challenging working conditions
  • dissatisfaction with compensation
  • better career opportunities
  • personal reasons

Why is our nation unable to hire and retain the most effective teachers?  Why have policies been so unsuccessful?

The NCATE (now known as CAEP), in a major report, “Transforming Teacher Education Through Clinical Practice: A National Strategy to Prepare Effective Teachers   (2010),” reports,

The education of teachers in the United States needs to be turned upside down. To prepare effective teachers for 21st century classrooms, teacher education must shift away from a norm which emphasizes academic preparation and course work loosely linked to school-based experiences. Rather, it must move to programs that are fully grounded in clinical practice and interwoven with academic content and professional courses. This demanding, clinically based approach will create varied and extensive opportunities for candidates to connect what they learn with the challenge of using it, while under the expert tutelage of skilled clinical educators. Candidates will blend practitioner knowledge with academic knowledge as they learn by doing. They will refine their practice in the light of new knowledge acquired and data gathered about whether their students are learning.

 In order to make this change, teacher education programs must work in close partnership with school districts to redesign teacher preparation to better serve prospective teachers and the students they teach. Partnerships should include shared decision making and oversight on candidate selection and completion by school districts and teacher education programs.

 New York State moved in a different direction, the State Education Department (SED) under Commissioner John King “solved” the problem by requiring four examinations; eight years later there is no evidence that the exams have approved teacher effectiveness. Over the last few months SED has presented increases in clinical preparation hours, the Board of Regents had doubts and the resolution was withdrawn.

My suggestions:

I agree that teacher education programs must work in close partnerships with school districts, I would add teacher unions; excluding teacher unions is foolish, pre-service teaching candidates will become teachers and teacher union members, to include unions gives the stamp of approval and increases the chances that teachers will volunteer to work as cooperating teachers.

In New York City the Teaching Fellows program has been around for twenty-five years, an alternative certification program targeting career changers in shortage areas; the program has been highly successful. The new Men Teach program, in its third year targets men of color already accepted into four-year CUNY campuses. There is increasing evidence the positive impact of teachers of color, especially males.

The alternative certification programs referenced supra should be replicated in the SUNY colleges around the state.

Teacher preparation programs in the senior year should be sited in schools. School districts and colleges should identify schools in which to cluster student teachers and the accompanying coursework should be taught at the school sites, the prospective teachers should become part of the school community.

Newly appointed probationary teachers need high quality teacher mentors, unfortunately there is no training for mentors.

The Board of Regents/State Education passes resolutions, policies that too often do not impact classrooms,

I’m constantly told, why can’t we just be like Finland, well, not so easy,

 High quality teachers are the hallmark of Finland’s education system. Annual national opinion polls have repeatedly shown that teaching is Finland’s most admired profession, and primary school teaching is the most sought-after career. The attractiveness of teaching likely has much more to do with the selection process, the work itself, and the working conditions than teacher pay (which is similar to that in many other European countries) or simply respect for teachers. Because Finland has very high standards that must be met to enter teacher preparation programs, just getting in is a prestigious accomplishment.

 While teaching in Finland is one of the most highly regarded professions, teaching in our nation the opposite, with prospective teachers drown from lower “cognitive ability” candidates.

What we can do is to try and replicate the Finnish education in the communities with the highest poverty and lowest achievement. Candidates paid a stipend during training, research-based instruction/training, a mentorship pathway from apprentice to teacher. Yes, expensive; however, many times less expensive than the endless remedial instruction that we now depend upon, without much to show at the end of the journey.



Repairing Broken Teacher Preparation Programs: Hiring Unprepared Teachers or Fixing a Broken System: A Vital Task for the Board of Regents

The agenda for the September Regents meeting contains a shocking resolution: the state will allow school districts to hire substitute teachers without a valid teaching certificate. How is this possible? Schools can bypass teachers who have spent years studying and hire anyone to become a teacher? Should we be outraged? What’s going on?

The state is still suffering from ill-advised decisions by former commissioner John King.

There are two ways of creating institutional change: either force the change through and defend or work with stakeholders (“Participation Reduces Resistance”) to develop a level of consensus. Building consensus is time-consuming with many bumps along the road, using the power of an office to change policy can anger and alienate stakeholders as  well as result in unintended consequences.

The Obama administration “took on” the education establishment, from state departments of education to teacher unions, an attempt to remake the education landscape. The Race to the Top dangled $4.4 billion in competitive grants if states agreed to create teacher evaluation plans based on growth in student test scores and increase the number of charter schools.  Additionally, the administration supported increasing the quality of new teacher candidates. In New York State Commissioner King pushed through the Board of Regents a dramatic change in teacher preparation requirements. Teacher candidates would have to pass four examinations in order to receive a teaching certificate in New York State.

EdTPA, “The edTPA requires a lengthy electronic portfolio that includes written work and videos of candidates interacting with K-12 students. Obtaining parental consent is required for video recording…. All edTPA materials must be submitted to Pearson, Inc. through web-based platforms. Pearson, Inc. scores the edTPA,” Academic Literacy Skills Test (ALST) is a three and a half hour general knowledge test containing both multiple choice and essay questions (see sample questions here) Educating All Students (EAS), a multiple choice and essay test specifically asking questions regarding students with special needs and English language learners, and, a Content Specialty Test (CST), also a three hour test, containing both multiple choice and essay questions specific to the candidates certification area.

The four tests cost about $1,000 plus additional costs for study guides and prep sessions.

The union representing college teachers at the State Universities oppose the tests, as an intrusion on academic freedom.

In reality the tests have turned college teacher preparation programs into test prep mills. Not only are the tests required for teacher certification; college will be “judged” by the state based on candidate pass rates.

The results on the exams have been so catastrophic that the state has created a safety net for candidates.

Enrollment in teacher preparation programs has dropped drastically, across New York State enrollment has dropped between 20 of 40 percent. Failure rates on the exams are highest among students of color and students whose native language is other than English; candidates that the state especially wants to attract into teaching.

The unintended result has been that instead of increasing the quality of teacher preparation candidates the state has created a growing teacher shortage across the state necessitating allowing persons without valid teaching certificates to work as substitute teachers. Instead of increasing the quality of teachers the state is allowing completely unprepared teachers into classrooms,

With the departure of King the Regents are moving to remedy the ill-advised policy.

Regent Cashin, the chair of the Higher Education Committee has held hearings across the state, with hundreds of participants from both public and private colleges. Slowly the educational establishment has moved toward a consensus.

Hopefully over the next few months the Regents will reduce the number of examinations and perhaps revise the content of the tests.

Whether the imposition of the tests was even necessary is open to question.

The Council on the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) has spent a number of years, with widespread involvement of the national education community developing standards that would apply to all teacher preparation programs including raising the bar for entrants to programs. In fact, with the requirement that teacher preparation programs undergo periodic CAEP reviews why is it necessary for states to impose additional requirements on teacher preparation candidates?

Programs generally agree that the edTPA, embedded within teacher educations programs is a useful tool, the other exams are highly questionable. There is no evidence that grades on the exams have any correlation with success in the classroom.

Teachers, and their unions, have been under unrelenting pressure from the so-called reformers, rather than leading to changes that will improve teaching and learning the “teacher bashing” has chased potential candidates away from the profession, and, maybe, the candidates that you most want to attract.

When Arnie Duncan and John King raced to change the face of teaching; they jumped at untested, ill-advised ideas and, as it turns out, producing counterproductive policies.

Hopefully, in New York State, the Regents will repair the damage done by the previous educational leadership.

Are the New Teacher Preparation Exams (edTPA) Racially Discriminatory? And, Why Has the State Failed to Listen to Experienced Educators?

Experience without theory is blind, but theory without experience is mere intellectual play.
Immanuel Kant

From time to time I meet someone who attended the high school at which I taught, I always ask: “Who was your best teacher?”

They usually answer, “Mr. Greenman.”

Bob is a friend, a wonderful teacher and an author (“Words That Make a Difference“) At a book signing a few years ago the room was filled with former students, a few journalists, attorneys, doctors and yes, even a few teachers, all gathering to pay tribute to their former teacher.

How do we measure “great” teaching?

The State Education Department (SED) and the reformers who run education policy these days would say, “What was his Regents passing rate?” I’m sure Bob, and his hundreds of adoring students, have no idea, or care.

Over the past year SED and the Regents have jumped on the “a great teacher in every classroom” band wagon. We should have the best teachers we can find in classroom, and, BTW, the best doctors in hospitals, the best dentists and the best second baseman.

We probably had the “best teachers” in the 30’s and the 60’s. In the 30’s, the heart of the Depression, the old Board of Examiners created extremely challenging exams and with 16 million unemployed teaching drew the “best and brightest” to the civil service exams. During the 60’s the feds offered deferments from the draft for men who decided to teach in high poverty schools, better the trenches of the South Bronx than the trenches in Vietnam.

As our economy continues to recover from the 2008 economic meltdown, and employment continues to rise, guess what, the number of candidates entering teacher preparation programs will shrink, a constant negative drumbeat, an assault on teachers, attempts to diminish teacher benefits will only chase away prospective candidates; schools of education are beginning to see drops in enrollment.

Teaching has always had a high attrition rate – teaching is hard and for many not rewarding, for decades high poverty, inner city schools had revolving doors, teachers dropped by the wayside or moved on to higher achieving schools in better neighborhoods.

The road to certification varied from state to state, as did teacher quality. In New York State a Master’s Degree is required, in other states a Bachelor degree, in some states teachers commonly come from the lower half of their graduating class, in other states prospective teachers must pass a variety of exams.

The State Education Department has approved a seemingly endless line of college teacher education programs over the years.

There is general agreement that teacher education programs should meet a higher standard.

The Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP), issued a Report a year ago that recommended significantly increasing standards for teacher training institutions. The expectation is that as schools of education apply or reapply for CAEP accreditation they would have to meet the new and higher standards.

An example of a CAEP standard,

The provider sets admissions requirements, including CAEP minimum criteria or the state’s minimum criteria, whichever are higher, and gathers data to monitor applicants and the selected pool of candidates. The provider ensures that the average grade point average of its accepted cohort of candidates meets or exceeds the CAEP minimum of 3.0, and the group average performance on nationally normed ability/achievement assessments such as ACT, SAT, or GRE:

• is in the top 50 percent from 2016-2017;
• is in the top 40 percent of the distribution from 2018-2019; and
• is in the top 33 percent of the distribution by 2020.

The CAEP process would restrict the pool of prospective teachers by limiting the admission to education preparation programs over a number of years to students in the top third of the ACT/SAT/GRE exam pool.

New York State decided to move in a different direction. The State decided to ratchet up the exit rules from schools of education, and, to do it immediately.

For years candidate teachers had to be recommended by the teacher education program and pass two examinations – the passing rates on the exams was well above 90%. The SED decided to change the exam structure: they adopted a well-regarded exam from Stanford University, the edTPA, “The edTPA requires a lengthy electronic portfolio that includes written work and videos of candidates interacting with K-12 students,” while thirty states are in the process of adopting only NYS and Washington have adopted and NYS set a higher pass score.

In addition teacher candidates must pass two additional exams: the 135 minute computer-based Educating All Students (EAS) test (read description here) and the 210 minute, computer-based Academic Literacy Skills Test (ALST) (read description here).

The commissioner presented the Regents with proposed cut scores and the Regents members who were educators strongly objected, the scores were much too high, and suggested that the scores be phased in over five years. How could colleges be expected to alter their curriculum with no notice? How could students be expected to pass an exam which may not have been the subject of the courses they took? And, most importantly, is there evidence that the Pearson-created exams are “valid and reliable” predictors of teacher success? Are the exams actually “job-related”? Or, just an academic exercise?

Unfortunately experienced educator voice was ignored, the commissioner set high cut scores with no phase-in period.

Over the months the same pushback from the field occurred that occurred over the imposition of high cut scores for the Common Core student exams. With pressure from the State legislature the SED agreed to allow the old exams to be used for one additional year.

At the November Regents meeting the SED reported on year one results of the exams. (See Report here

Pass Rates:
edTPA the pass rate was 81%
EAS the pass rate was 77%
ALST the pass rate was 68%

On a protected site, not available on the NYSED site, the results by race:

The pass rate for White test takers on the EAS was 82%, Non-White test takers 74%
The pass rate for White test takers on the ALST was 74%, Non-White test takers 55%

It appears that the required EAS and ALST tests, pursuant to Duke and Chance are racially discriminatory test.

The new, untested, teacher certification tests are acting in direct opposition to one of the primary goals of the State and also the US Department of Education, Arne Duncan (See 5 minute U-Tube here) wants our teaching force to reflect the diversity of our schools.

The exams are not only reducing the diversity of our teaching force, the exams ignore standards set by prior court decisions.

In 1971 the Supreme Court, in Griggs v Duke Power Company ruled,

The facts of this case demonstrate the inadequacy of broad and general testing devices, as well as the infirmity of using diplomas or degrees as fixed measures of capability. History is filled with examples of men and women who rendered highly effective performance without the conventional badges of accomplishment in terms of certificates, diplomas, or degrees. Diplomas and tests are useful servants, but Congress has mandated the common sense proposition that they are not to become masters of reality

A year later in a New York City case, Chance v. Board of Examiner the appellate court sustained the opinion of the trial court. The Board of Examiner licensing exams which had been the sole path to a supervisory position in New York City were challenged due to wide disparities in passing rates between white and black/Hispanic test takers,

Judge Feinberg wrote in Chance v The Board of Examiners (1972),

[T]he examinations prepared and administered by the Board of Examiners for the licensing of supervisory personnel, such as Principals and Assistant Principals, have the de facto effect of discriminating significantly and substantially against Black and Puerto Rican applicants.

The judge further found:

Such a discriminatory impact is constitutionally suspect and places the burden on the Board to show that the examinations can be justified as necessary to obtain Principals, Assistant Principals and supervisors possessing the skills and qualifications required for successful performance of the duties of these positions. The Board has failed to meet this burden.

Although it has taken some steps towards securing content and predictive validity for the examinations and has been improving the examinations during the last two years, the Board has not in practice achieved the goals of constructing examination procedures that are truly job-related.

Even were we to accept the City’s allegation that any discrimination here resulted from thoughtlessness rather than a purposeful scheme, the City may not escape responsibility for placing its black citizens under a severe disadvantage which it cannot justify

The commissioner and the Regents could have phased in the exams and as well as tracking graduates – how did the performance of the graduate correlate with their exam scores? The current teacher evaluation tool is divided into three separate sections; the newly appointed teachers can be tracked in the three categories: How did principals “score” the teachers? How did the students of the newer teachers achieve on state tests? The key question: Are the tests “valid and reliable” indicators of teacher effectiveness?

The new CAEP standards are being phased in with the expectation that the standards will be in place by 2020, the State should have followed the CAEP route, and unfortunately they’re tone deaf.

The Common Core State Standards offered an opportunity to raise the bar for all children; the standards should have been created in the blaze of sunlight not in secret. The standards are not written in stone and should be subject to emendation at the state level, and, the tests, if necessary at all, should have been phased in over a lengthy period. When the State moved from a dual diploma to a single Regents diploma it took twelve years to phase out the old system and phase in the new.

Whether the Regents or the commissioner know it or not the current testing regimen is toxic to parents. Tens of thousands of parents will opt out in the new round of testing. The recent attempt to mandate field testing of the yet to be adopted PARCC tests is a slap in the face to parents. The opt-out movement is not restricted to New York State; it is a national movement. It is possible that the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act will remove the annual grades 3-8 testing requirement. New York State could move to sampling methodologies and obtain state student progress data.

I suspect the State legislature will begin to rewrite regulations adopted by the Regents. In the past the legislature has been reluctant to pass legislation that altered education policy. Not so since the last round of State tests.

As thousands of emails flood in-boxes of legislators and parents flock to legislative town halls policy making will move across Washington Avenue, from the regal columned headquarters of the State Education Department to the halls of the Assembly and the Senate.

The commissioner and most of the Regents can learn from Mark Twain,

A man who carries a cat by the tail learns something he can learn in no other way.