Reposted from the Chronicle of Higher Education:
Are teacher-training programs rigorous enough? A new study, completed by a group that has long been critical of the quality of teacher preparation, makes the case that they’re not. Education students face easier coursework than their peers in other departments, according to the study, and they’re more likely to graduate with honors.
The report [PDF] —”Easy A’s and What’s Behind Them,” which is to be released Wednesday by the National Council on Teacher Quality—argues that a more-objective curriculum for teaching candidates would better prepare them for careers in the classroom. “We’re out to improve training,” said Julie Greenberg, the report’s co-author, who is a senior policy analyst for teacher-preparation studies for the advocacy group. “We want teacher candidates to be more confident and competent when they get in the classroom so their students can benefit from that.”
The council examined more than 500 institutions and found that 30 percent of all their graduating students earned honors. But when it came to education programs, 44 percent of students did so. It also analyzed syllabi across multiple majors to determine whether their assignments were “criterion-referenced” (that is, explicitly knowledge- or skill-based) or “criterion-deficient” (that is, subjective). It found that criterion-deficient assignments were more common in teacher-preparation classes than in other disciplines.