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NBCT "Hoax"

Posted By: Bruce G. Rogers on February 24, 2004
Let us assume, for the sake of this discussion, that Mr. Thirunarayanan has make a postive contribution to the literature on effective education, and then pursue the ramifications. In his Conclusion section, he wrote five recomendations. First, "hold an earned doctorate". Since I meet that qualification, of course I like it for me. And he meets it also. However, I know some Kindergarten teachers whom I concede are better teachers than I, but, unfortunately, none of them hold an earned doctorate. So I would like for him to tell us how many he knows. How many elementary teachers does his school produce with earned doctorates? My university has produced some, but I have not heard any of them claim that the degree should be expected of all highly skilled teachers. Each reader must decide what this recomendation says about the expertise of fhe author.
Second, "students have learned significantly more than students in the classrooms of their peers." Us educational statisticians have long discussed the use of the term "significantly", but Mr. Thirunarayanan does not give any indication as to what he means by it or how he proposes to assess it. I have taught educational research methods for many years, but I am unaware of any text in that field that shows how to make a defensible comparison to that would substantiate such a conclusion. He would do us a great service by telling us how he learned how to do it, because I an unaware of anyone who "holds an earned doctorate" in the field of educational research who knows how to do it. Reader, judge for yourself what this says about the author.
Third, "have developed and empirically tested innovative ways of teaching, learning and assessment, and have published their work in scholarly peer revieed journals." This, I submit, is a major contribution by the author, so I looked in the Bibliography of the article for some journal articles by the author that would meet these criteria. Alas, I did not seee any, but perhaps I overlooked them. If any of the readers see them, please let me know, since I am anxious to read them. Reader, if you cannot find them either, then you must judge if the author is a hypocrite.
Fourth, "have published scholarly papers ... ". As far as I know, the editors of TCR do not claim it to be a "refereed scholarly publication" in the sense used by universities for promotion and tenure. Reader, look at the Bibliography and see if you think that the entries by the author meet those criteria. I did not see any. Does the author meet these criteria?
Five, "perform well on rigorous exams and other assessments in content areas." Note that these exams must be taken beyond what was required of all students, since the author states that these teachers must show that they have acheived higher than the minimum standards required of all teachers. How do we determine how to apply the term "rigorous" to an exam? There are now three editions of the classic work "Educational Measurement".. edited, chronologically, by Lindquist, Thorndike and Linn, and I did not see the word "rigorous" in the index of any of the three volumes. We would be enlightened if the author gave us the names of "rigorous exams" that he has taken and passed. He gave none in the article.
In summary, Dr. Thirunarayanan has presented us with five criteria which he wishes to apply to all those who aspire to be good teachers, and he requests that there be compelling evidence to support them.
Unfortunately, there is no evidence that I could find that the author meets any of the criteria, other than the "earned doctorate", and even for that, the author biographical paragraph in the article does not tell us where it was earned to allow us to ascertain its credibility. Readers must decide if the author is a hypocrite or not.
Bruce Rogers, U of N IA
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 NBCT "Hoax" by Bruce G. Rogers on February 24, 2004
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