rePost: Top Teachers Ineffective

This hit home because my sister was telling me of the recent moves to abolish the BS Education as a recognized course in the Philippines, meaning that people who want to become teachers of Preschool/Elementary/Highschool must have an Education degree and pass a National Certification Exam known as (LET – Licensure Exam for Teachers).

It seems that recent research has shown that people with degrees in the subjects they will teach are more effective teachers than Education Majors studying those subjects as minor subject in college.

In the Philippines , almost all colleges/universities (Excepting UP) have different classes for Education (insert subject here ) majors and (Subject majors). I was told that Classes for Education Math Majors were for easier than Math majors (except in UP where people take the same classes ).

Getting back to the excerpted blog post below, Are the researches cited by those wanting to abolish the Education degree in the Philippines even valid?? If Top Teachers are ineffective are teachers even effective??

I think the post was a little misleading because :

  • What if the reason some teachers do not get a license is not that they are not good, rather they perform well enough to not need a license to signify capability?
  • What if the lack of a license acts as a motivator or a threat against employment status that people work or try to educate students as well if not better than licensed colleagues.

I don’t know haven’t made up my mind yet.!

from the Overcoming Bias blog here , a personal must read blog for me.

Top Teachers Ineffective

Yesterday I reported that top med school docs are no healthier for patients.  Today I report that even at private schools, teachers who are fully certified do not help students perform any better on math and science tests:

Data from the National Education Longitudinal Survey of 1988 (NELS:88) were used to investigate the effect of teacher licensure status on private school students’ 12th grade math and science test scores. This data includes schooling and family background information on students that can be linked to employment information on teachers. We find that, contrary to conventional wisdom, private school students of fully certified 12th grade math and science teachers do not appear to outperform students of private school teachers who are not fully certified.

My urban econ text says:

Studies have consistently shown that graduate coursework (e.g., a Master’s degree) does not affect teacher productivity.

I expect patients are willing to pay more for top med school docs, and parents are willing to pay more for educated and certified teachers.  And I expect that this would continue even if patients and parents knew the above results.  I suspect most of the demand for teachers, doctors, and many other professionals comes from folks wanting to affiliate with certified-as-impressive people.  And merely making patients healthier or making students perform better doesn’t count much toward impressiveness, relative to academia-certified impressiveness.

But folks don’t like to admit this directly; they’d rather pretend they care more than they do about other outputs.  Which is why folks don’t want to hear about the above results.  The media will oblige them, and so they will continue in their preferred delusions.  Bet on it.

Added: James Hubbard points us to a related critique of MBA training.