Caught in a Vise: The Challenges Facing Teacher Preparation in an Era of Accountability

January, 2014

Source: Teachers College Record, Volume 116, No. 1, (2014)
(Reviewed by the Portal Team)

This article aims to examine the field of teacher preparation in the current era of accountability and testing. Specifically, the authors have tried to display how teaching has been highly criticized for its practices, and how much of that criticism is unwarranted. The authors have tried to examine how various professions are working to deal with the very real need to measure outcomes of their training—with little emerging beyond what teacher preparation already does.

The authors used accreditation requirements associated with 10 professions—law, medicine, social welfare, engineering, journalism, athletic training, psychology, business, pharmacy, and teaching. They gathered the specific measures for each field, which utilized for assessing student success and outcomes from the documents available on accrediting body websites. The authors also asked for feedback from accreditation coordinators and other leaders in these professions on the descriptions they compiled.

The authors argue that the review of the ten professions revealed that all are struggling with better means for assessing program outcomes. All the professions are struggling with a great deal of similarity in the processes currently in place used across fields. The authors found that the field of teacher education include more of the different ways for assessing outcomes than any other professions. However, the policymakers scurry to implement approaches that are laden with problems.

The authors wonder why there is such support for approaches that have numerous psychometric and other questions surrounding their use is probably understandable in a policy context.

The authors claim that policymakers try finding ways to improve teacher preparation, hence they use assessment tests. This article shows an evidence that teacher preparation is in the forefront in its use of outcome measures to gauge the effectiveness of its work. The authors suggest that nuanced use of these assessment measures, in ways that don’t overassume their validity, should be the approach taken as this innovation evolves.

Updated: May. 30, 2018