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  • Writer's pictureJoanne Jacobs

Uncredentialed teachers do as well as normally trained teachers

"Emergency" teachers hired during the pandemic seem to have been just as effective as credentialed teachers with similar experience, according to research from Massachusetts and New Jersey, writes Chad Aldeman on The 74.


Massachusetts hired teachers with a bachelor's degree, but no education credentials, starting in June, 2020, Aldeman writes. They "were disproportionately assigned to work with children with disabilities, English learners and low-income students," yet "their students saw about the same rate of growth in math and reading as children taught by regularly licensed educators," Boston University researchers reported. The first-year uncredentialed and the credentialed teachers received similar evaluations from supervisors


The emergency teachers "were about twice as likely as other beginning educators to be Black, Hispanic or Asian," the study found.


New Jersey had a similar hiring policy that produced similar outcomes, Aldeman writes. "Teachers without the normal training and testing were at least as effective in reading and math as other novices."


Is teacher training truly that useless?



"The New Jersey policy expired after one year, and Massachusetts is trying to phase its version out this year," writes Aldeman. Why? If there's no evidence that credentialed teachers are better -- and new teachers are in short supply -- why raise unnecessary barriers?


A decade ago, with plenty of new educators available, focusing on raising teacher quality seemed to make sense, he writes. States adopted tougher licensing exams and accreditors pushed teacher-prep programs to raise standards.


Now, states are dropping exams and scrambling to find teachers, especially for high-need students. Tests such as edTPA and Praxis have proven unpopular, because they disproportionately screen out minority candidates who may be better at connecting with minority students.


Teacher licensure tests offer "no guarantee" of classroom competence, writes Aldeman. Scores appear to be "mildly accurate predictors" of classroom success, especially for math and science teachers, he writes. But, over all, raising the bar for entering the profession doesn't seem to do much good.


Fewer college students are interested in teaching careers, writes Jeffrey R. Young on EdSurge. The number of students in teacher-prep programs fell by more than a third from 2010 to 2019. Outreach programs are trying to turn that around.


Black males can be game changers, writes Sharif El-Mekki, founder of the Center for Black Educator Development. Too often, they're seen as disciplinarians rather than teachers. Schools employ "Black men with college degrees who are behavioral-support specialists, climate and culture aides, and in a host of other paraprofessional roles," he writes. "Removing barriers to entry into the teaching profession for these future educators is a must."

6 Comments


bkwormtoo
Jan 18

Tossing another bomb into this topic, homeschoolers, as a whole do rather well, despite despite few having teaching credentials. Teachers unions' and public school adminicrats' (some, not all) opposition to homeschooling and to private schools has very little, if any, basis in education of students. POV disclosure: my wife and I homeschooled our kids "K-12", and also started and administered a support group for homeschooling families. Between support groups, activities, and volunteering at conventions, we probably became acquainted with 1500-2000 homeschooling families.

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Richard Rider
Richard Rider
Jan 17

My wife is a retired career public high school teacher. A mentor teacher, she was so good that SDSU asked her to teach and mentor 5th year ed teacher students, which she did for 9 years. During her time at SDSU, she watched the teacher requirements get more and more difficult, for no reason. The emphasis was on what I call "edubabble" -- using all the proper buzz words -- rather than teaching effectively. The college ed curriculum would annually add more and more bullshit requirements, without REMOVING any of the previous requirements. It was very discouraging to the students -- and to my wife. This happens largely because there are state education bureaucracies that have to justify their existence by churning out…

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markmoss1
markmoss1
Apr 02
Replying to

I first noticed edubabble in 1988, when I met my son's 4th grade teacher. Ask her anything about what and how she was teaching, and all she could do was recite jargon that she was unable to define. I eventually decided that, not only had she been horribly miseducated by an "education" major, but to begin with, she wasn't as bright as an average 4th grader.

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Darren Miller
Darren Miller
Jan 16

Teachers should have specific knowledge and skills. Credentials, not so much.

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m_t_anderson
Jan 16

So maybe credentialism isn't an unalloyed good?

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