Expanding the Role of Maryland Community Colleges in K-12 Teacher Preparation: Benefits and Costs of Implementing the Associate of Arts in Teaching (AAT) Degree
Frank, Jennifer Vest
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This study uses benefit-cost analysis to compare three alternative scenarios for implementing the Associate of Arts in Teaching (AAT) degree in Maryland community colleges. The first policy scenario is that community colleges retain their traditional role in K-12 teacher preparation by providing lower-division transfer courses and programs for undergraduate students who are seeking to transfer into teacher education programs at four-year institutions (historical role for Maryland community colleges). The second policy scenario is that community colleges expand their traditional role in K-12 teacher preparation by offering the AAT degree in addition to providing lower-division transfer courses and programs (current role for Maryland community colleges). The third policy scenario is that community colleges offer the AAT degree as the exclusive lower-division requirement for students seeking admission into teacher preparation programs at four-year colleges and universities (hypothetical future role for Maryland community colleges). Drawing on the seminal work of Schultz (1963) and Becker (1964; 1975; 1993), human capital theory serves as the guiding theoretical framework for this study. The three policy scenarios under consideration in this benefit-cost analysis were designed to increase a particular type of human capital investment by providing opportunities for community college students to enter the teacher preparation pipeline in higher education. This study examines the benefits and costs that are associated with each of these three alternatives to explore which policy provides the greatest net benefit to the State of Maryland.