On problems with education research, state education rankings and teacher preparation
Do you really think Kentucky improved 20 places in state rankings for education recently? Well, you better think again.
On January 12, 2012 Education Week released its annual report on education across the United States, known as Quality Counts (subscription).
Kentucky’s education boosters wasted little time jumping on the new state rankings in the report, which showed that Kentucky moved up 20 places in the Quality Counts state rankings in just one year (Really???).
Such a huge jump in ranking in just one year is VERY hard to believe.
It just got even harder to believe because another education research group issued a report that seriously disagrees with the Quality Counts rankings in “The Teaching Profession” area.
According to the Quality Counts report, Kentucky’s overall performance in “The Teaching Profession” area ranks us in fifth place in the nation for teaching quality. Wow!
But, hold on a minute.
According to the Associated Press, the National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ), a research and policy group that seeks to improve the quality of teaching, just issued its latest annual report on teacher quality.
Kentucky ranks only 41st for progress since 2009. The state’s 2011 grade was a deplorable “D+,” unchanged from 2009. That score is well below the “B-” Quality Counts gave us.
Does this mean that the NCTQ is right and Education Week is wrong?
The real issue here is that there is such sharp disagreement regarding teacher quality, a disagreement apparently fueled by a deplorable lack of really good and compelling research about what makes a good teacher (See, for example, Arthur Levine’s “Educating School Teachers” for more on that problem).