Study: Teachers had easiest classes in college
Classroom-level average GPAs in education departments are a whopping 0.5 to 0.8 grade points higher than in other campus departments, according to the peer-reviewed study by University of Missouri economist Cory Koedel. The average GPAs across 10 randomly selected departments at major public universities was 3.66, Koedel found.
"GPA gaps" matter, he writes, because they might be rubbing off on teacher quality. Students work harder when classes are tougher, he notes, citing other research. And they move on to other majors if their grades aren't cutting it. "In education, however, students who are not a good fit for the discipline will receive no indication that this is the case from their grade reports," he writes.
Koedel also raises another concern that he said deserves attention from policy makers: "... low grading standards in education departments may contribute to the culture of low evaluation standards in education more generally. Although the existence of such a link is merely speculative at this point, there is a striking similarity between the favorable grades awarded to prospective teachers during university training and the favorable evaluations that teachers receive in K-12 schools."
Koedel's findings have been getting aired in influential places. He had a write-up in the Teachers College Record and over at the American Enterprise Institute. AEI scholar Rick Hess highlighted Koedel's work on his blog. Washington Post education blogger Valerie Strauss recently featured a debate between Koedel and another researcher.
(Image from www.psu.edu)