Teaching teachers, continued

In my last post I took issue with the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education’s opposition to cooperating with education school rankings. This reluctance to cooperate notwithstanding, there ARE some efforts out there to evaluate the effectiveness of education schools and other teacher preparation programs.

The Louisiana Board of Regents has been collecting data on teacher education and its impact on student performance. As they describe it, “Louisiana was the first state in the nation to implement a statewide Value-Added Teacher Preparation Assessment that follows new teachers into their first and second years in the classroom and examines the effectiveness of their preparation program based on the growth in student achievement. Results have been released to the institutions and the public since 2006-07.” They have recently refined their model (with help from state ed schools, by the way!)

The most striking, but hardly surprising, finding is that overall, students learn more from experienced teachers than from new teachers. I know I still cringe at the thought of all the mistakes I made in my first years of teaching.
But another striking finding was that teachers prepared in nine alternative certification programs frequently outperformed, and certainly didn’t underperform, teachers prepared at ten state undergraduate institutions. The top scores came from The New Teacher Project, which I think is one of the most promising alternative teacher programs out there.

You can take a look at the data here: regents.louisiana.gov/.

According to the New Teacher Project’s website, “New teachers enrolled in TNTP’s Louisiana Practitioner Teacher Program (LPTP) earn their certification during their first year teaching–a rigorous, field-based approach that immediately exposes teachers to the realities of the classroom and accelerates their post-certification impact on student learning. It is specifically designed to help career changers with deep content knowledge to be immediately effective in high-need schools.” More specifically, LPTP participants spend an intensive summer studying teaching techniques, and then attend a series of seminars WHILE they are teaching the following year. For more information on this program, you can go to www.lptp.org/.

In my next posting I’m going to talk about why this approach makes sense to me. But I’d also love to hear from any fellow teachers about what teacher preparation programs or courses really helped them in the classroom . . . and which did not.

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