A learners’ view (ALV) provides a missing standard for identifying “highly qualified” teachers as required by the Federal legislation known as No Child Left Behind (NCLB). NCLB defines “highly qualified” teachers as those with a college degree, a teaching certificate, and competence in their subjects. Competence is demonstrated by having a major or an advanced certificate or passing a test in a subject. Missing from existing ways to identify qualifications is any record that teachers can intentionally and systematically increase a student’s learning a subject through instruction. A record of results from a teacher applying ALV during lesson planning and instruction can demonstrate intentional, systematic increases in prompt and sometimes dramatic amounts of learning.
Instead of demonstrating this record before hiring, teachers are presumed qualified to increase learning, if they meet the existing standards. This presumption appears appriopriate for a relatively few teachers whose students consistently score highest on standardized tests. By chance, training, intuition, or some other undefined reason, these teachers use enough elements of ALV that their lessons result in increased learning.
Teachers for whom the presumption does not appear appropriate identify themselves through their students earning less than superior standardized test scores. A review of test scores demonstrates that most teachers do not meet the proposed standard. Educators have adopted a range of explanations, mostly blaming someone or something other than themselves, for these failures.
ALV represents the body of results from experimental empirical behavioral research that describes behavior patterns learners use to learn in and out of schools. Scientists and educators have contributed to this body during more than 12 decades.
Failure of educators to expect highly qualified teachers to demonstrate that they can apply these descriptions and can obtain prompt, increased learning seems inconsistent with documented possible increased learning through schools today.