Some Findings on Teacher Assessment


The latest newsletter from the National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ) includes an interesting piece on teacher assessment. It contends that while hostility is often lobbed at the concept of standards and testing, the greater issue is that teachers aren’t properly prepared for the assessment process.

Here is NCTQ’s study on teacher assessment. And a summary:

Our preview glimpse into what teacher candidates are learning about assessment quantifies (for the first time) the magnitude of a long suspected problem. Before going into the classroom, teacher candidates’ exposure to the task of assessing student learning, including how to interpret results and better plan instruction, is pretty thin–and that includes helping teachers do a better job designing their own pop quizzes, tests and exams.

Looking at 180 elementary and secondary undergraduate and graduate programs across the country, we found only six programs–that’s 3 percent–that appear to provide sufficient coverage of assessment–probably not a surprise to school superintendents or principals, nor apparently to the field of teacher education itself.

The only silver lining after examining syllabi for nearly 500 courses as well as "capstone" assignments required of student teachers was that at least some portion of institutions is exposing teachers to the language of assessment (21 percent). However, almost none of them is exposing candidates to the means of analyzing test results (2 percent) or, even more importantly, coming up with an instructional plan once they’ve done so (1 percent).

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