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Jan 21, 2012 - Questions to Consider    Comments Off on Week 1: Question to Consider: So You Want to be a Teacher?

Week 1: Question to Consider: So You Want to be a Teacher?

Questions to consider:

1.      Why might some teachers be angered by evidence that some teachers bring about higher achievement than others?

Although summative tests are used to measure a student’s ability, a student’s achievement is also inadvertently a measure of teacher effectiveness. While some teachers do produce a higher level of student achievement, standardized test results primarily determine which students are at risk for school failure (Garrison & Ehringhaus, 2007).

2.     Why might some teacher educators want to find flaws in the evidence that teachers differ in producing student achievement?

On the other hand, using one method to assess the needs of various learners is narrow.  Whether the tests are State assessments, District benchmark, or scores that are used for accountability of schools (AYP) and students (report card grades), testing limits teacher instruction and debilitates teacher and student motivation (Garrison & Ehringhaus, 2007).

3.   Did you know, as a high school student, that teachers “matter” in producing achievement? How? Did your friends know this?

As a student, rarely do I remember being aware or concerned about how much a teacher “mattered.”  Rather, I questioned particular teaching styles, if I enjoyed the course topics and whether the teacher was lax, engaging or disorganized. Mostly, students expected teachers to be effective and based achievement on how much effort the student out toward studying or completing assignments.  Students explicitly judge teachers and subconsciously question how much they matter, but realistically hoped for the teacher that everyone liked.  Even though “likeability” probably meant the teacher was effective, had the ability to convey lessons with ease, and could relate to students.

4.   Why might principals be reluctant to use data on differential achievement of teachers’ students as a basis for improvement? What might they, and what should they, do?

Presently, principals are required to facilitate standardized tests to produce AYP scores.  Summative assessment can, ”help evaluate the effectiveness of programs, school improvement goals, alignment of curriculum, or student placement in specific programs,”(Garrison & Ehringhaus, 2007,1).

However, some administrators may purposely overlook the relationship of teachers who “matter” and student achievement. For instance, state and district standards testing can be a great source of stress on both teachers and students. Preparing for tests often effect teacher instruction and motivation, and do not account for learners who do not test well, those with special needs and ELL students (Ornstein & Gutek, 2011).

Like the principal in the video case study, administrators should use the data to identify struggling students and track progress after intervention.  Although such assessment is under scrutiny, the quantitative data has been identified as a method that is calculable and efficient.

5.   What might be the “causes of underachievement” that Haycock refers to? Can you support this idea from your readings for week 1? 

As much as administrators like to ignore the research, there are in effective teachers in the workforce who contribute to causes of underachievement.  Unfortunately, individuals who are in the classroom but are not qualified risk putting students at a disadvantage.  Improving the quality of the workforce is being improved through basic skills testing (Ornstein & Gutek, 2011).  Over the years competency tests have become more stringent in areas of reading, writing and math, in an effort to prepare pre-service teachers, new teachers and even experienced teachers (Ornstein & Gutek, 2011).

 6.   Consider this question, What makes a great teacher? (pedagogical knowledge, subject knowledge, professional dispositions?)

In VA, an “effective” teacher is someone who was enrolled in a credible teacher preparedness program, who can pass the Praxis I and II, VCLA and VRA, and who possesses a license to teach (Ludlow, Mitescu, Pedulla, Cochran-Smith, & Cannady, 2010). But do these tests really prepare a teacher for the classroom and make them a “great” teacher?  A great teacher is a motivated individual, who is prepared to enter the classroom and possess an understanding of 21st century educational reform.  A great teacher is reflective, utilizes various forms of formative assessments and can predict the challenges that her/his students face.



(2011). The big squeeze stories of educational accountability. (2011). [Print Photo]. Retrieved from

Ornstein, A.C., Levine, D.U. & Gutek, G.L. (2011). Foundations of education. (11th ed.). Belmont: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning.

Garrison, C., & Ehringhaus, M. (2007). Formative and summative assessments in the classroom.Retrieved from

Ludlow, L., Mitescu, E., Pedulla, J., Cochran-Smith, M., Cannady, M., Enterline, S., & Chappe, S. (2010). An accountability model for initial teacher education. Journal Of Education For Teaching, 36(4), 353-368. doi:10.1080/02607476.2010.513843