The current SAT score of an average student in New York is 1466, but what about the teacher? Would they be able to perform as well? If a new longitudinal study of educators in New York State is to be believed, then the answer is yes. In fact, the study shows that the academic ability of new teachers in New York State is on the rise.
“We find increasing academic ability of individuals entering teaching,” said study co-author Luke C. Miller, a research assistant education professor at the University of Virginia. “We believe this is a signal that the status of the teaching profession is increasing.”
Miller and fellow researchers from the University of Virginia, North Carolina State University, Stanford University, and University of Albany studied 14 years’ worth of administrative data.
According to the data, newly certified and newly hired teachers’ average combined math and language SAT scores broadly improved between 1986 to 2010. By the end of the data set, the average teacher hired in 2010 had scores that were 25% higher than those of the teachers hired in 1999.
Some however might argue that the SAT should not be used as a barometer with which to measure the academic strength and capability of teachers, as they take it before going to college. However, it’s uniform. Researchers can use it to measure the academic prowess of teachers from different schools and preparation programs all across the state.
Another way to measure the efficacy of New York State teachers would be to examine their performance evaluations, which, according to new data released at the end of February by the State Education Department, are quite good. The majority of educators in New York’s five largest school districts received high ratings on the portions of their performance evaluations that were based on students’ test scores.
The 2012-13 Annual Professional Performance Review (APPR) Ratings also showed that an overwhelming 95% of teachers were effective overall, with the majority (51%) being “highly effective.”
Governor Andrew Cuomo, though, says that these evaluations don’t “reflect reality.” About two-thirds of students failed Common Core-aligned state exams last year, which has prompted Cuomo to push a proposal for an overhaul of the state-mandated evaluation system.
While the accuracy of such measurements is debatable, the signs are positive. Though study methods may be limited and/or flawed, New York State teachers’ SAT scores and performance evaluations show that the Empire State’s teachers are academically capable, and effective.