top of page
  • 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."

bottom of page