Making the Case for Teacher Preparation
Steven J. Pollock and
Noah D. Finkelstein
This presentation from the 2011 PhysTEC Conference discusses data collection in relation to educational reform. One of the keys to moving educational reforms out of local experimental stages and into general use is convincing academic colleagues, administrators, and funding sources of the value and impact of research-based transformations. The goal of this workshop was to share some of the data from UC Boulder and talk about the role it has played, and pitfalls to avoid. The roles data and assessment can play in effecting change, and what kinds of data collection, and presentation, might be most effective at various institutions was also discussed.
Access to quality mathematics and science instruction is a key factor in preparing all students to compete in post-secondary education. Highly qualified pre-college math and science teachers are essential for preparing students who aspire to careers in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine. As part of the efforts of major state universities to enhance the supply of secondary math and science teachers, the National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges (NASULGC) has developed the Science and Mathematics Teacher Imperative. Objectives of the Teacher Imperative are to leverage the growing interest in science teacher preparation by universities and build collaborations with key education and government leaders in states to collectively address this critical national problem. The Imperative has begun compiling substantial information on model university teacher preparation programs that involve science faculty. The program seeks to engage faculty further through efforts with professional societies such as the American Chemical Society and the American Physical Society.
Currently, the production of certified high school physics teachers in the United States is about one third of the need. Although physics is the highest need in the sciences, need for high school chemistry teachers is also acute. States like Texas and Minnesota have recently passed legislation mandating additional science requirements for high school students, but produce only a fraction of the teachers needed to fill the legislated demand. In physics, the American Physical Society, American Association of Physics Teachers, and American Institute of Physics have been collaborating on a project called the Physics Teacher Education Coalition (PhysTEC / PTEC). PhysTEC has now tripled the production of teachers at a number of schools, and the Coalition, PTEC, has over 110 member institutions working collectively to improve teacher education in the sciences. This talk will describe the program and the possible parallel efforts that might be initiated in the chemistry community.