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StaffRobert HeinyA Learners' View Redefines Highly Qualified Teachers

A Learners’ View Redefines Highly Qualified Teachers

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.


Robert Heiny
Robert Heinyhttp://www.robertheiny.com
Robert W. Heiny, Ph.D. is a retired professor, social scientist, and business partner with previous academic appointments as a public school classroom teacher, senior faculty, or senior research member, and administrator. Appointments included at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Peabody College and the Kennedy Center now of Vanderbilt University; and Brandeis University. Dr. Heiny also served as Director of the Montana Center on Disabilities. His peer reviewed contributions to education include publication in The Encyclopedia of Education (1971), and in professional journals and conferences. He served s an expert reviewer of proposals to USOE, and on a team that wrote plans for 12 state-wide and multistate special education and preschools programs. He currently writes user guides for educators and learners as well as columns for TuxReports.com.

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