Preparing Teachers: Building Evidence for Sound Policy
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Preparing Teachers: Building Evidence for Sound Policy

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Andrew Porter's presentation from the February 24 Education Policy Breakfast at NYU's Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development

Andrew Porter's presentation from the February 24 Education Policy Breakfast at NYU's Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development

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Preparing Teachers: Building Evidence for Sound Policy Preparing Teachers: Building Evidence for Sound Policy Presentation Transcript

  • Preparing Teachers: Building Evidence for Sound Policy
  • Study Structure
        • National Research Council consensus study
          • 6 meetings
          • Commissioned work: NYC, Florida, data systems
          • External review
        • Mandated by U.S. Congress in 2004
        • Support by U.S. Department of Education in 2005
        • Additional support for math and science in 2006
          • Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation
          • Spencer Foundation
          • Carnegie Corporation of New York
          • National Academies Presidents Committee
  • Committee Charge
        • Who enters teacher preparation programs? What is their academic preparation and educational background?
        • What type of instruction and experiences do participants receive? Who delivers it? To what extent is there commonality in content and experiences?
        • To what extent is the preparation in reading, mathematics and science consistent with converging scientific evidence?
        • What model for data collection would provide valid and reliable information about the content knowledge, pedagogical competence, and effectiveness of graduates?
    View slide
  • Committee
        • Chair : Ellen Condliffe Lagemann, Bard College
        • Herbert Brunkhorst, California State University at San Bernardino
        • Margarita Calderon, Johns Hopkins University
        • Marilyn Cochran-Smith, Boston College
        • Janice Dole, University of Utah
        • Donald N. Langenberg, University of Maryland
        • Ronald Latanision, Exponent Consulting
        • James Lewis, University of Nebraska at Lincoln
        • David H. Monk, Pennsylvania State University
        • Annemarie Sullivan Palincsar, University of Michigan
        • *Michael Podgursky, University of Missouri – dissented from report
        • Andrew Porter, University of Pennsylvania
        • Edward Silver, University of Michigan
        • Dorothy Strickland, Rutgers University
        • Suzanne Wilson, Michigan State University
        • Hung-His Wu, University of California, Berkeley
        • James Wyckoff, University of Virginia
        • Lyn Countryman, NRC Teacher Advisory Council Liaison, University of Northern Iowa
    View slide
  • Key Issue: Evidence
        • Data on programs and candidates are limited and not systematic
        • Empirical studies of impact – with experimental or quasi-experimental approaches – are limited, with very limited research on effects of particular teacher preparation approaches
        • Other empirical research provides guidance, such as research on learning and cognition and qualitative studies of teaching
        • Recommendations/standards of professional groups, incorporating qualitative research, intellectual traditions of the disciplines, experience of educators
        • Dissent: should have used narrower range of evidence
  • Current Preparation
        • Little empirical support for broad conclusions because data are limited, coarse-grained
        • Research that compares traditional and alternative approaches is of limited value because of overlap within and across categories
        • Pathways and programs vary dramatically in key features – such as requirements, structure, and timing – which makes it difficult to distinguish outcomes
        • Research has not yet illuminated the features that account for evident differences in effectiveness
  • Current Preparation: Conclusion
        • There is currently little definitive evidence that particular approaches to teacher preparation yield teachers whose students are more successful than others. Such research is badly needed. We believe that the highest priority research would be studies that examine three critical topics in relation to their ultimate effect on student learning ...
  • Current Preparation: Conclusion
        • … three critical research topics:
        • Comparisons of programs and pathways in terms of
          • Selectivity
          • Timing (complete training before/after start teaching)
          • Specific components and characteristics, such as
            • Instruction in subject matter
            • Field experiences
        • Effectiveness of various approaches to preparation for
          • Classroom management
          • Teaching diverse learners
        • Influence of aspects of program structure, such as
          • Design and timing of field experiences
          • Integration with coursework in other university departments
  • Preparation in the 3 content areas
        • Two general elements:
        • Subject-matter expertise
          • Deep foundation of factual knowledge
          • How that factual knowledge fits in the field’s conceptual framework
          • Internal organization of that factual knowledge that facilitates its retrieval and application
        • Pedagogical content knowledge
          • How student learning develops
          • Kinds of student misconceptions
          • Strategies to address evolving student needs
  • Preparation in the 3 content areas
        • Evidence about 4 different aspects of preparation:
        • What do successful students know about the subject?
        • What instructional opportunities are necessary to support successful students?
        • What do successful teachers know about the subject and how to teach it?
        • What instructional opportunities are necessary to prepare successful teachers?
  • Preparation in Reading
        • Successful beginning readers possess a set of foundational skills that enable them not only to continue growing as readers but also to progress in all academic subjects. A variety of instructional approaches that address these foundational skills can be effective when used by teachers who have a grounding in the foundational elements and the theory on which they are based.
  • Preparation in Reading
        • It is plausible that preparation in the foundational reading skills would improve teachers’ practice, but there is currently no clear evidence
        • There are few systematic data about the nature of preparation in reading that prospective teachers receive. The limited information available suggests it varies widely.
        • Little is known about the best ways to prepare prospective teachers to teach reading.
  • Preparation in Mathematics
        • It is plausible that teachers of mathematics need preparation that covers knowledge of mathematics, of how students learn mathematics, and of mathematical pedagogy, and that is aligned with the recommendations of professional societies.
        • Many mathematics teachers lack an adequate preparation in mathematics, and there are unacceptably high numbers of middle and high school mathematics courses taught by teachers out of field.
        • Data are required about current teacher preparation in mathematics and research is required about effective preparation approaches.
  • Preparation in Science
        • The following attributes are likely to be important:
          • college-level study of the science discipline they will teach
          • understanding of the objectives of science learning and the ways students develop science proficiency
          • command of an array of instructional approaches
        • Data are needed on current teacher preparation in science. Research is needed about the propositions regarding the teaching and learning of science contained in professional recommendations.
  • Accountability
        • The current accountability system is as diverse as the 1300-1500 programs that prepare teachers
        • There is a lack of data to guide accountability
        • A growing body of literature has identified some teacher behaviors and skills that boost student learning in core subjects, which could potentially be better tapped for accountability
  • Accountability: Recommendation
        • The U.S. Department of Education should sponsor an independent evaluation of teacher education approval and accreditation in the United States. The evaluation should describe the nature, influence, and interrelatedness of approval and accreditation processes on teacher education program processes and performance. It should also assess the extent to which existing processes and organizations align with best practices in accountability and offer recommendations for how they could do so more effectively in the future.
  • Research and Data: Key Questions
        • What are the characteristics of candidates who enter teacher preparation programs?
        • How do those characteristics vary by program or pathway?
        • Where do entrants and graduates of preparation programs ultimately teach?
        • How long do teachers with different types of preparation continue to teach? Are differences in preparation associated with differences in teachers’ career trajectories?
        • Where do teachers with different types of preparation teach?
        • How do the knowledge and teaching practices of teachers with different types of preparation differ?
        • What have been the effects of states’ policies regarding program approval and teacher certification?
  • Research and Data: Recommendations
        • The U.S. Department of Education should take the lead in coordinating existing data collection efforts and encouraging new ones, with the goal of developing a national education data network that incorporates comprehensive data related to teacher education.
          • Some key components of this network:
          • Integrated data and common definitions across states
          • National indicator system to monitor status of teacher education system
          • Longitudinal, nationally representative study of teacher career pathways
  • Research and Data: Recommendations
        • Researchers and those who fund research related to teacher preparation should focus on topics that have the highest potential effects on outcomes for students, specifically, research about:
          • Benefits of particular kinds of teacher knowledge and clinical experiences
          • Factors that affect the quality of entering teacher candidates
    • Admit
    • High quality
    • Diversity
    • Area of teaching
    • Places want to teach
    • TE Program
    • Internship
    • Courses
    • Graduate
    • Yes
    • No
    • Become a Teacher
    • Yes
    • No
    • Stay in Teaching
    • # of Years
    • Quality of Teaching
    • Danielson
    • Value Added
  • In Conclusion
        • The critical questions about teacher preparation cannot be answered without the kind of nationwide coordination we call for.
        • Clearer understanding of the content and character of effective teacher preparation is critical to improving it and to ensuring that the same critiques and questions are not being repeated 10 years from now.