similar to those addressed by the studies discussed above including Andrews et al. (1980) and Hanushek (1986).


Teaching is a public enterprise. The public has an important interest in the quality of its teaching force and in current initiatives to improve teaching and learning. The committee encourages the federal government and others to conduct research that has the potential to improve the quality of licensure tests and, possibly, the capabilities of the beginning teacher work force.

In Chapters 4 and 5 the committee discussed the kinds of data that might provide supportive empirical evidence for the validity of teacher licensure tests. These include data on the relationships between test results and other measures of candidate knowledge and skill and data on the extent to which licensure tests distinguish minimally competent candidates from those who are not. The committee also described several licensing and employment conditions that permit observations of job performance for candidates who fail licensing tests. The committee explained that job performance data are now available for unlicensed candidates who are teaching with emergency licenses. Data are also available for candidates who passed licensure tests under different passing standards. These are fairly recent conditions for entering the teaching profession, and they provide an important opportunity to collect job-related evidence for candidates scoring above and below passing scores on the tests. This chapter describes and illustrates the difficulty of mounting this research. However, the measurement and research design problems that mark this research are not unique to teacher licensure tests. They characterize research on many other social science questions as well.

Given the complexity of these issues, it would be valuable to undertake an interagency study to define needed research. Representatives from the U.S. Department of Education, National Science Foundation, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Institute of Child Health and Development, U.S. Department of Labor, and the Census Bureau should be appointed to define research aimed at examining and improving the quality of teacher licensure tests, teacher licensing, and, potentially, the capabilities of the new teacher work force. Representatives should include educators, child development specialists, labor economists, statisticians, demographers, anthropologists, and others.

These individuals should be charged with defining a multidisciplinary, multiple-methods research program. Representatives should specify the primary and secondary research questions, sampling designs, measurement tools, data collection methods, and data triangulation and analysis techniques to be used. They should specify a broad-based omnibus research program that begins collecting data on students and their families at a very early age; collects information on students’ physical and intellectual development, family characteristics, and school

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