Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Highly Qualified Math Teacher

What does it mean to be a "highly qualified" math teacher? Is that different from an "effective" math teacher? If you had to choose one or the other--and no, you shouldn't have to, but play along--which would you choose?

Dr. P over at EduInsights has two interesting posts on the subject. He essentially says that the states' standards for math teachers are entirely too low, yet also says that there's no research showing any correlation between teacher math knowledge and student achievement. That doesn't mean that a correlation doesn't exist, merely that there's no research proving one. So absent that research, how can he say that passing scores on teacher math tests are too low? That's just one small inconsistency that caught my eye in two otherwise very interesting posts, here and here.


Dr. P. said...


Thanks for the plug.

I tried hard to let the data speak for itself, but I also needed to provide some perspective, so, for example, I pointed out that the majority of states set "highly qualified" standards that were well below a previous standard for minimal ability.

I am not arguing for higher pass scores. I am mostly arguing for more transparency. I want the decision to be made at the local level by an informed citizenry. I think to push for higher pass scores is bad policy at this time, because the only short term result would be a staffing shortage and more emergency certifications.

The closest I think I came to saying the pass scores are too low is when I said: "but is any one willing to come forward and defend scores below 50%, some as low as 20%, on a test of high school level material?"

But even if I had explicitly said: "20% is too low". I do not see an inconsistency with making a judgment that is not contradicted by any fact in evidence, or any other assertion I made.

Darren said...

Fair enough. And note from the tone of my post I'm not attacking, merely pointing out.