Grading the teachers’ teachers
Gerald Carlson’s heart sank when he received word several years ago that a controversial statistical analysis had decreed his program one of Louisiana’s weakest in preparing educators to teach English language arts.
“We thought we had a good program,” said Carlson, dean of the education school at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. “We were shocked when we saw the results.” Carlson has since worked with his staff to revamp the school’s curriculum: adding a new class in reading and English language arts, requiring more writing across the board, and beefing up professional development for the university’s professors.
He is confident that when the latest results come out this spring—the first to be released in over a year and a half—the university will fare well.
Scores of teacher training programs across the country will likely face similar scrutiny in coming years. Following Louisiana’s lead, policy makers in a growing number of states are evaluating programs based on the test scores of their graduates’ students. So far, eight states have policies requiring them to do a similar analysis, most of them adopted in the last few years, according to the National Council on Teacher Quality.
“This is a policy movement that’s sweeping the country,” said Charles Peck, a professor of special