Teacher Certification Impact on Student Achievement Literature Review

Pages: 30 (9216 words)  ·  Style: APA  ·  Bibliography Sources: 30  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: Doctorate  ·  Topic: Education  ·  Written: October 23, 2017

By raising requirements for teaching, the legislation would presumably end the employment of non-certified or under-qualified teachers in public schools.

Nonetheless, the legislation mainly emphasized subject matter knowledge and introduced constraints in teacher certification (Townsend, 2014). This was one of the major shortcomings of the legislation. By emphasizing subject matter knowledge, the NCLB gave little attention to pedagogy and curriculum. This resulted in a narrower view of teaching accountability in which teaching effectiveness was measured by the ability to pass tests as opposed to more meaningful aspects such as teacher characteristics. Schuster (2012) also criticizes NCLB’s attention to content knowledge, pre-service tests, and experience, contending that such measures are not necessarily useful indicators of teaching quality. Another shortcoming of the NCLB stemmed from the fact that it empowered higher learning institutions to be accountable for their graduates’ test score, an aspect that eventually widened inequality (Grimmett, Young & Lessard, 2012). In the end, NCLB critics turned out to be right as the legislation was replaced in 2015 by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).

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The deregulation perspective on the other hand equates teaching with occupations like journalism, hence no need for professional certification (Grimmett, Young & Lessard, 2012). This perspective advocates for lesser teaching coursework requirements, lower barriers to entry to the teaching profession, alternative teaching licensure, more emphasis on content knowledge as opposed to teaching coursework, and greater flexibility in hiring teachers. Proponents of deregulation basically advocate for self-regulation (Townsend, 2014). Self-regulation means little involvement of state governments in teacher preparation. Under self regulation, governance of the profession would be done by bodies with membership drawn from the profession. This approach has been used in countries such as Scotland and Canada (Grimmett, Young & Lessard, 2012).

Literature Review on Teacher Certification Impact on Student Achievement Assignment

For deregulation proponents, the most crucial factors that influence student achievement are factors that have to do with teachers (Grimmett, Young & Lessard, 2012). Based on this premise, proponents argue, the focus of policy should be more on luring and retaining candidates with certain characteristics and candidates who can work in certain schools as opposed to qualification requirements that have little to do with teaching effectiveness. In a self-regulatory system, attention is paid to getting the right individuals for the teaching profession, developing the individuals into effective teachers, and ensuring every student has access to competent instruction. Proponents of deregulation hold the view that achieving this under the professionalization perspective is quite difficult (Townsend, 2014). Indeed, as noticeable in other professions, a substantial portion of training occurs in real-world contexts. Following from this argument, individuals with teaching talent can learn teaching skills on the job (in a real-life teaching setting). This perspective has formed the basis for alternative certification paths (Grimmett, Young & Lessard, 2012). On the whole, education reform within the context of teacher certification has degenerated into a debate of professionalization versus deregulation, with proponents of professionalization on one hand advocating for traditional certification and proponents of deregulation on the other hand advocating for alternative certification.

Traditional Certification

Prior to joining the teaching profession, one must be awarded a teaching certificate or license by the state. Traditionally, teacher certification programs are administered by colleges and universities (Townsend, 2014). Some programs, however, are administered by school districts or non-profit organizations. Regardless of where it is provided, a teacher certification program is aimed at equipping pre-service teachers with the skills and knowledge required to effectively plan lessons, instruct students, manage student behavior, and to evaluate student performance (Schuster, 2012).

In traditional teacher certification, candidates first earn a bachelor’s education degree at a state-approved college or university (Uriegas, Kupczynski & Mundy, 2014). The candidate chooses a major based on the candidate’s preference for subject or grade level. For example, a candidate who desires to teach preschool to 5th grade students should major in elementary education, whereas a candidate wishing to teach at the high school level should major in their preferred subject (e.g. science, math, or history). After completing undergraduate education, the candidate undertakes a teacher preparation program – a program whose aim is to complement the major pursued in college. The teacher preparation program may be pursued alongside the undergraduate degree or upon finishing the degree. The next step involves an internship. Though internship periods vary one state to another, candidates are generally required to undertake at least 15 weeks of practical teaching (Teacher Certification Degrees, 2017).

The internship is followed by a series of Praxis tests. Typically, candidates are required to pass three Praxis tests (Teacher Certification Degrees, 2017). One of the tests is the Praxis Core Academic Skills for Educators. This test is designed to evaluate a candidate’s reading, writing, and math skills. Another test is the Praxis Subject Assessments test, which is designed to assess a candidate’s general teaching skills as well as their knowledge of the subject they wish to teach. The third test is the Praxis Content Knowledge for Teaching Assessments test. The purpose of this test is to appraise the candidate’s knowledge of specialized content and how effectively the candidate can apply the knowledge in real world practice. After passing these tests, one can then apply for certification (Jang & Horn, 2017). Candidates’ criminal history must also be examined before a teaching license is finally awarded.

Advocates of traditional certification argue that formal certification programs take potential teachers through wide-ranging training that focus on not only subject matter knowledge, but also other equally critical areas such as pedagogy and child development (Brinkman, 2014). This intensive preparation is intended to produce highly qualified teachers, which ultimately influences student achievement. Nonetheless, traditional certification programs are not without limitations. For instance, traditional certification programs have been criticized for locking out talented individuals from the teaching profession, hence aggravating challenges such as teaching workforce shortages (Kim, 2015; Mueller, 2012). Increased criticism of traditional certification has seen the emergence of alternative certification.

Alternative Certification

Alternative programs… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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