Book Review

Assessing Teacher Competency

by Judy R. Wilkerson and William Steve Lang, Corwin Press, Thousand Oaks, Calif., 2007, 375 pp. with index, $79.95 hardcover and $39.95 softcover

What are the stand-ards for teacher quality? Each institution differs in its preparation, but shouldn’t all institutions have the same standards for teaching quality? Shouldn’t licensing exams be driven by a rigorous definition of teaching quality; multiple measures of licensure composed of rigorous tests of content knowledge; and performance-based assessments of teaching skills to provide evidence of pupil learning that has occurred as a result of their instruction?

In Assessing Teacher Competency: Five Standards-Based Steps to Valid Measurement Using the CAATS Model, authors Judy Wilkerson and William Lang provide the reader with five standards-based steps for assessing teacher competency. They see the ultimate goal as protecting the public from the unqualified practitioner. The CAATS Model is a format to meet that need.

Wilkerson is a professor of research and assessment at Florida Gulf Coast University, while William Lang is an associate professor of educational measurement and research at the University of South Florida. They give specific guidance for making valid decisions about teachers. They show how to track teacher performance in a way that ensures credibility through the use of collected data and scoring methodologies for differentiating effective and ineffective instructors.

While the text is well developed, it’s better suited for state departments of education or a large school district with multiple staff members available to carry out the detailed program. The common use of abbreviations for professional organizations throughout the text leaves it suited for a select audience as it is a difficult read, no matter how well written.

Reviewed by Jerry Horgen, adjunct professor of educational leadership, St. Cloud State University, St. Cloud, Minn., and Capella University, Minneapolis, Minn.