Friday, January 20, 2012

Teachers & SAT scores

I obtained the following information from the interesting EducationRealist blog.

Facts like the following are sometimes used to claim K-12 teachers aren't too bright, on average:

Students who indicated that education was their intended major earned a combined math and verbal score of 967, about 0.31 standard deviations below the average of 1,017, meaning the 38th percentile in a standard normal distribution.

Of course, not all education majors become teachers (and shouldn't become teachers!).  Less than half make it through to certification and landing a teaching job.

Here's something a little more telling - SAT verbal and math scores, compared to average scores, for different groups of actual teachers.

Teachers, on average, have pretty good verbal skills.  Not so great in math unless you're a math or science teacher (not surprising).  What is surprising is how poorly some groups score.  Physical education majors don't do so well reinforcing the stereotype of the dumb gym teacher.  Special education teachers don't do so well either.  I know very little about special education so I can't comment one way or another.

What is sad is the low scores shown by elementary education teachers.  These are the teachers that come into contact with every single kid in the school system when the children are at a very impressionable age and learning the fastest.  It's not just babysitting.  Too bad elementary education teachers aren't of a higher caliber.

Here's another tidbit from the Gene Expression blog expanding upon this data.

As a generalization, the SAT scores of whites who end up in K-12 teaching aren't much different from the larger population SAT scores of college-bound seniors.  With Asians, the best seniors definitely don't go into K-12 teaching.  With blacks, K-12 teachers are drawn from the highest-scoring seniors.  Definite cultural differences at play here.  No comments, just found it interesting.

Data's great.  Too bad educational "reformers" typically ignore it (peruse the EducationRealist blog for many examples).

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