If you are interested in a rewarding career in educational administration as a teacher leader, master teacher, vice principal, principal or district superintendent, you probably want to improve your ability to reach individual students. On a grander scale, you may also want to effect positive change throughout your entire school community or district.
By pursuing a master’s degree in educational administration, such as an online Master of Arts in Educational Administration, degree candidates will learn the challenges facing modern education, the limitations of the educational system, and how to bring positive change to student learning.
Is Our Education System Falling Behind?
Although the United States is one of the wealthiest and most-educated nations in the world, international achievement scores for U.S. students are mediocre. According to the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA), students in the United States routinely rank average (and sometimes below) compared with other countries of similar means and educational standards.
Moreover, in a National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) of 4th to 8th grade students, a mere one third of those students scored at or above a basic level of proficiency in reading and math. This means that the student population may not meet basic competency levels in core subject areas.
How Can School Administrators Help?
For these reasons, educators and researchers alike have been trying to improve pedagogical models and teacher preparation. A team of educators faced the challenge of improving school success through educational administration by focusing on what aspects of education truly promote higher learning. They published their extensive research findings and pragmatic suggestions in “From Quicksand to Solid Ground: Building a Foundation to Support Quality Teaching.”
These researchers posited that the lack of devoted research, development and integrated teaching practices is the main cause of the problems with the educational system in the U.S. In many other professional fields, 10-15 percent of financial resources go to research and development, whereas .25 percent is the average in the educational world.
The Teacher Preparation Gap
This is not to say that new models of educational pedagogy are not under development — including methods like differentiated learning and the construction of technologically advanced, collaborative classrooms. Historically, however, there has been a disconnect between teacher preparation and research into new techniques.
Dr. Jal Mehta, a coauthor of “From Quicksand to Solid Ground,” suggests that, “There needs to be much more vertically aligned teacher prep where what happens in training and what happens in the first few years of induction is much more aligned.” The study suggests that the most effective teacher preparation focuses on hands-on learning — taking evidence-based methods and applying them directly to classroom situations including students from diverse backgrounds — as opposed to a simple theory-based approach.
School Administrators Take Action
Improving overall school success means merging the latest research with teacher preparation. Educational administrators understand their schools’ or districts’ strengths and weaknesses, so they can coordinate custom professional development programs that introduce new methodologies and technologies to improve overall school success. These administrators should foster a collaborative community of teachers who strive to do more than simply teach to the test.
Improving student learning relies on individual attention. Successful teachers depend on ongoing professional development. By studying the complex but important field of research and professional development, candidates for a master’s degree in educational administration can use the knowledge and skills they gain to effectively improve their schools or districts and, most importantly, student success.
Learn more about the CSUSM online MA in Education, Educational Administration program.
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