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It is complicated

Posted By: Ed Wall on October 8, 2011
This was an interesting article (and I read the original article on which this was based). From my perspective - someone who teaches elementary school (and early childhood) pre-service and in-service teaches mathematics content and pedagogy - the situation is complicated. As a previous commentator noted there are pressures to move such through undergraduate and graduate school and out into schools. This has, and there is no doubt about this, caused grade inflation and it is possible that this is related to similar sort of situation in K-12.
However, here is where it gets complicated. Our undergraduates take a majority of their credits outside a School of Education. Basically they take, with us, some pedagogy and some methods courses (about a 1/4 of their total credits). I guess one could argue that somehow we completely convince them quality doesn't matter, but, knowing, my students I suspect that is unlikely. Graduate students are a bit different. They take all their credits with us and my impression is that (and I find this is not entirely uncommon outside a School of Education) grade inflation is a bit higher. Perhaps here the causal link between Schools of Education and K-6 is a little stronger. In any case, showing that the link is significant is a nontrivial task. It has only been in the last ten years or so that we have shown in a reasonably convincing matter that content preparation matters in effective elementary school teaching.
The inclusion of secondary education (where, I think unfortunately, many people's attention focuses) is another matter entirely. Here someone preparing to be a teacher has a liberal arts or math/science degree and takes a few education courses as their minor - principally those dealing with relevant methods, adolescent psychology, and 'reading.' There is probably a degree of grade inflation here, but showing some sort of link to 7-12 seems even more difficult.

Let me end with a bit of musing. I suspect if we significantly valued teaching and showed that valuing with our society (and that includes colleges and universities), then it would show up in the ways Schools of Education gave grades and the way K-12 teachers gave grades. This does not mean that people like myself cannot buck the inflation trend. Even Schools of Education house dreamers.

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 It is complicated by Ed Wall on October 8, 2011
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