In response to national calls for educational reform, Maine's legislature established a career ladder certification system with three steps: provisional, professional, and master teacher. The goal was to tie teacher advancement to evidence of improved teaching and classroom management. The 1984 plan required that teacher committees develop certification criteria at the local school system level and that the new certification strategy be pilot tested in selected districts for a three-year period. Maine's law gave local administrators responsibility for setting standards and for measuring their colleagues' performance. This paper analyzes the master teacher criteria created by local committees in 16 pilot districts. The length of typical Maine criteria lists and the variety of topics covered made it difficult to summarize their content. However, the items were grouped into the following categories or domains. The teacher: (1) prepares for instruction effectively; (2) uses teaching strategies and procedures appropriate to the content, objectives, and learners; (3) uses evaluation to improve instruction; (4) manages classroom activities effectively; (5) establishes and maintains a professional leadership role; (6) communicates effectively; and (7) manages routine business and recordkeeping efficiently. Each item on a local district list was assigned to one of these categories. Results showed that pilot sites did not create criteria stressing improved teaching and classroom management. One-third of all criteria were professional leadership items, while instuctional and classroom management items comprised only 17 percent and 16 percent of the total, respectively. Committees relied on nonpedagogical aspects of teacher performance and produced remarkably similar lists. Also, the 16 pilot site lists contained many hard-to-measure process-type criteria and used high-influence language creating interpretation problems. Maine's effort to engage teachers in certification calls into question several propositions concerning the benefits of professional self-regulation. Still, teachers' trust in the criteria and process may compensate for these difficulties. Included are seven references and five tables. (MLH)
Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (Washington, DC, April 20-24, 1987).