Colleges say evaluation is unfair

DETROIT - Marygrove College and the University of Detroit Mercy say their teacher preparation programs are being unfairly judged by a state evaluation process that could eventually put them out of the teacher training business, according to the Detroit Free Press.

The Michigan Department of Education has downgraded each college on annual evaluations because too few students pass the Michigan Test for Teacher Certification, a mandatory exam required before an individual can receive a teaching license in Michigan, the Free Press reported.

College officials told the Free Press that their pass rates are artificially low because some students take the exam too early in their college careers. In effect, the students are taking the exam as a way of determining their own strengths and weaknesses and where to focus their studies, not as a final evaluation of teaching readiness, the officials said. Students are allowed to take the exam more than one time.

State officials told the Free Press that the colleges are given the names of test takers in advance, and could prevent those they consider unprepared from taking the test.

The Michigan State Board of Education is expected to discuss the evaluation policy at its monthly meeting Tuesday.

Detroit Free Press, "2 teacher prep programs at risk of flunking," Oct. 11, 2009

Mackinac Center for Public Policy, "A Teacher Quality Primer," June 30, 2008