Many studies have aimed to explore the relationship between teacher certification and teacher effectiveness by relying on student achievement data as the independent variable. The present study aims to expand this literature by exploring whether or not there is a difference in effectiveness between teachers receiving teacher certification from secular or Christian training institutions.
Principals of nearly all OACS elementary schools were surveyed to assess the possible relationship between their perception of teacher effectiveness in domains of Christian Perspective and Pedagogical Performance, and the teacher training institution that teachers graduated from. To do this, principals were asked to provide a summary of each teacher (years of experience, gender, secular or Christian undergraduate institution, secular or Christian teacher training institution) and to rate each of their teachers on a scale of 0 (Unsatisfactory) to 10 (Distinguished) according to 6 criteria: Overall Christian Perspective, Creating an Environment of Respect and Rapport, Engaging Students in Learning, Overall Teacher Effectiveness, Classroom Management, and Demonstrating Knowledge of Content and Pedagogy. The descriptors for these criteria were included in a rubric based on actual rubrics used by certain Christian schools.
Through a regression analysis of 317 teacher ratings, it was found that there was no significant relationship between institution of teacher training and teacher effectiveness as perceived by principals in any category. Instead, it was found that years of teaching experience and teacher gender may be better predictors of teacher effectiveness in certain categories. Male teachers were rated more poorly by their principals in scores of overall pedagogical performance (-.40) and classroom management (-.43) than their female counterparts. Further, teachers with more than 3 years of experience were rated more highly by their principals in scores of overall Christian perspective (+.46). These ratings, though statistically significant, were relatively small according to a 10-point scale and should be read as such.
Although this study aimed to assess the relationship of teacher training institutions and a number of areas of teacher effectiveness, the results in the Christian perspective category are of important interest to many Christian school principals. The lack of relationship between teacher training institution and measures of Christian Perspective and Pedagogical Performance, however, ought to be interpreted judiciously. This study was unable to ascertain, for example, the possible positive socializing effect that teachers from Christian training institutions may have on pre-tenured teachers graduating from secular institutions in developing distinguished levels of Christian Perspective. This study was also unable to take into account any possibly applicable background items such as whether or not a teacher graduated from a Christian elementary or highschool. The findings herein should, then, be regarded as the foundation for future study rather than as definitive conclusions.