WUOMFM

Once considered too easy, is teacher certification now too hard?

Jun 27, 2016

 

It was not long ago that serious questions were raised about how well Michigan's education schools were preparing their students to be teachers.

 

Critics pointed to the teacher certification test, which had a pass rate of 82 percent statewide. Prospective teachers were passing their exams at the same level as those seeking a cosmetology license.

 

So the state toughened up the teacher prep and certification process.

 

Now, there's a new issue: Many would-be teachers in Michigan aren't passing the tougher new certification test.

Have we gone too far?

 

Deborah Ball of the University of Michigan believes that the state needs a strict test to determine whether someone should be a teacher or not. However, Ball said that states across the country are testing prospective teachers on content that is not relevant to educating children.  

 

“You want a test that inspects whether a teacher candidate can explain ideas,” Ball said.

 

That is not the case with Michigan's test, she said.

 

Maddie Stinebaugh finished last semester with a 3.6 GPA at Michigan State University College of Education. To prepare for the Basic Skills part of the Michigan Test for Teacher Certification, she worked with tutors and bought textbooks. Despite all this, Stinebaugh took the test nine times and still has not passed.

Stinebaugh and Ball joined us on Stateside to talk about the teacher certification process and the impact it could have on the future of Michigan education.

Guests

Deborah Ball is the dean of the School of Education at the University of Michigan. 

Maddie Stinebuagh is an education student at Michigan State University.