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Educators Want Teacher Prep Program Accountability, Transparency, New Report Finds

July 26, 2018

Teach Plus Research Zeros In on Key Indicators of Program Quality and Accountability; Provides Recommendations for States on Program Reporting

WASHINGTON, D.C. — A teacher’s performance in the classroom should be a key indicator of a teacher preparation program’s quality, a new Teach Plus study finds. The report, “Taking Stock:  A Teacher Perspective on Informing and Improving Teacher Preparation Programs,” also finds that a vast majority of teachers―81 percent― support holding programs accountable for how well-prepared their graduates are to teach students successfully.
 
Teach Plus, a national non-profit that that empowers teachers to lead improvements in policy and practice, conducted focus groups and a survey of 755 teachers from across 26 states and the District of Columbia to determine the measures and metrics educators consider most important when assessing teacher preparation programs, and to bring teachers’ perspectives to bear on the states’ program reporting.     

“At Teach Plus, we hear consistently from our teachers about the relationship between teacher effectiveness and student learning.  This research clearly demonstrates that teachers directly connect the quality of their preparation program with their later success in the classroom,” said Teach Plus President and CEO Roberto J. Rodríguez.  “As states consider indicators for program reporting and improvement, policymakers should listen to those who have firsthand experience and knowledge about what really matters in teacher preparation:  their teachers.”

"This research on teacher preparation programs is important because it will help us all improve the future for our nation's teachers, and ultimately, for our students," said Carissa Moffat Miller, executive director of CCSSO. "CCSSO has been committed to helping improve the way we prepare teachers to enter the profession, most recently through our Network for Transforming Educator Preparation. We are proud of this work, and grateful to Teach Plus for building on its success by providing clear and actionable data and research that amplifies the voice of high-quality teachers in our ongoing work to ensure that students across the country have access to diverse and learner-ready teachers."

Report findings are: 

Finding 1. Teachers believe the quality of a preparation program is best measured by the performance of its graduates as classroom teachers and believe that the diversity of its candidates and their retention in schools and districts are important factors in the attractiveness of the program.  

Finding 2. Teachers overwhelmingly support the idea that states should hold teacher preparation programs accountable for how well they train future educators.  

Finding 3. Teachers want states to regularly release reports on teacher preparation programs that are transparent and accessible.

Finding 4. Teachers believe aspiring educators should pay attention to the indicators of classroom performance of program graduates, but also to how well teacher preparation programs provide them with a strong knowledge base on which to grow as professionals.

“The educators we spoke with were clear: they want prep programs to provide novice teachers with the skills and knowledge they need to be effective practitioners in the classroom. With teachers' input, state reports can help educators and policymakers learn which programs are doing this well – and give all programs a much-needed progress monitoring tool to support their improvement efforts,” said Mark Teoh, Teach Plus research director and one of the report’s authors.  

Teach Plus suggests the following recommendations for states as they plan, develop, and revise their reports on teacher preparation:

1. Promote accountability for the performance of teacher preparation programs in relation to how well they prepare their graduates for success in the classroom.  

2. Provide technical assistance to preparation program providers as well as to schools and districts in understanding and using the data for improving training, recruitment, and induction practices—collecting and reporting data is not enough.  

3. Bring stakeholders together to make meaning of the reports — including preparation program providers, school and district leaders, policymakers, teaching candidates and current classroom teachers.  

4. Use clear, comprehensive indicators and multiple measures of classroom performance.   

5. Use simplified language but not oversimplified metrics.  

6. Make long-term investments and take the long view in preparing teachers.  

"The great benefit of looking at educator preparation program reports through the classroom teacher's lens is that we can now begin to identify how to best prepare teacher candidates for optimal success early in their careers," said Kevin Cormier, 7th and 8th grade math teacher at Nissitissit Middle School in Pepperell, and one of the report's authors.  "Implementing the recommendations in the Teach Plus report will help lead to greater job satisfaction for teachers and ensure that students get access to a high quality education." 

About Teach Plus

The mission of Teach Plus is to empower excellent, experienced teachers to take leadership over key policy and practice issues that affect their students’ success.  Since 2009, Teach Plus has trained thousands of teacher leaders across the country who are driving policy changes and improving the instructional practices of teachers to create an education system driven by equity, access, and excellence for all students.  teachplus.org