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How People Learn: Brain, Mind, Experience, and School
view the requirements for teacher certification in a sample of states (selected for their diversity). Specific focus should be given to the types of assessments currently in use across the continuum of teacher development, from initial licensure to advanced status. This would include standardized tests, performance-based assessments under development (Interstate New Teacher Assessment and Support Consortium), and the National Board assessments. Efforts should be made to determine:
The features of certification that are aligned with the principles of this volume and those that are in conflict.
To the extent that data are available, the relationship between certification and increases in student learning.
This project should also lead, when appropriate, to recommendations for strategies to reform certification processes so that they provide better signals of a teacher’s preparedness for the task of teaching for understanding.
Study District-Level Policy
20. Conduct case study research of successful “scaling-up” of new curricula. School districts set a variety of policies that influence the environment in which teachers operate. Even when a new curriculum is pilot-tested with positive results, it can be very difficult to extend that curriculum into other schools in the district, sometimes even to other classrooms in the same school. Case study research of successful scaling-up efforts is recommended determine which district-level and school-level policies facilitated reform. The case studies should include information on features that teachers often identify as obstacles to reform:
How much scheduled time do teachers have in their work day that is not in the classroom and that can be used for reflection, study, or discussion with other teachers?
How much training was offered to teachers who adopted the new curriculum? Is there ongoing support for the teacher who has questions during implementation? Is there evaluation of the teacher’s success at implementation?
Is there a community within the school, or extending beyond the school, that provides support, feedback, and an opportunity for discussion among teachers? Existing research suggests that the development of a professional community as part of the school culture is one of the most important determinants of successful school restructuring to implement a more demanding curriculum (Elmore, 1995; Elmore and Burney, 1996). These