State Collaborative on Reforming Education
The SCORE Institute is a chance to think big about the future direction of public education in Tennessee and America. The Institute is a thoughtful series of discussions about where we’ve been and where we’re going.
by Lisa Fingeroot
Beginning public school teachers who earn their credentials from alternative types of programs in Tennessee are as effective as veteran teachers in some subject areas and even more effective in a few areas, according to a state report released this morning.
The alternative programs, such as Teach for America, allow college graduates from other fields to teach while participating in a fast track to certification.
“In looking at both traditionally and alternatively licensed graduates, there are four programs that stand out,” said Jamie Woodson, president and CEO of the State Collaborative on Reforming Education, or SCORE.
“The University of Tennessee-Knoxville, the Memphis Teacher Residency, Teach for America Memphis and Teach for America Nashville produced teachers who had higher student achievement gains in two or more subject areas, when compared with veteran teachers,” Woodson said
Lipscomb University grads also had higher student achievement gains than other beginning teachers when composite scores for grades 4-8 and high school were examined.
“This is good news,” Woodson added.
The 2012 Report Card on the Effectiveness of Teacher Training Programs, released this morning by the Tennessee Higher Education Commission, identified beginning teachers as those with one to three years of experience and veteran teachers as those with four or more years of experience.
The commission does not have diagnostic information that might explain the differences in effectiveness, said Katrina Miller, director of the First to the Top program for THEC.
“I don’t think there is a blanket statement” that can be made about how well alternative programs prepare teachers all over the state, Miller said. However, she said the Teach for America programs in Nashville and Memphis are turning out effective teachers.
Another alternative program for teaching credentials in Nashville, the New Teacher Project, also fared well in the state report. Nashville had 64 people complete the program in 2010-11, and the report found they are as effective as veteran teachers.
The teaching certification program is a partnership between Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools and the New Teacher Project, a national nonprofit organization.
Future teachers participate in six weeks of training before teaching.
They then do coursework through the New Teacher Project Academy during their first year in the classroom.
In the future, the teacher effectiveness report will be used to review the teacher licensing process in Tennessee and determine whether a program can continue to license teachers, Miller said.
Tennessee Commissioner of Education Kevin Huffman, who released his own department’s school report card this morning, said the teacher training report is an essential part of an overall effort to improve education.
Teaching programs “are not the same,” said Huffman, a graduate of Teach for America. The effectiveness report can help districts make hiring decisions and also help future teachers decide where to get their training, he said.
The commission also is studying to see if there is any link between a teacher’s ACT score and the subsequent testing scores of students, Miller said. That report is due in December.
Today’s report uses standardized test scores to determine a teacher’s effectiveness. The scores are judged on the value-added component of the Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program, which measures students’ improvement over time.
Only graduates of Tennessee programs who teach in Tennessee public schools are included in the report, which was created by THEC.
“The importance of today’s report is clear: Tennesseans need to know whether our state’s teacher training programs are preparing graduates for the classroom,” Woodson said. “Because effective teaching is the No. 1 school-based factor in improving student achievement, this report is one of the most important sets of data regarding public education in our state.”
View the report at www.tn.gov/thec/Divisions/fttt/report_card.shtml.
Lisa Fingeroot can be reached at 259-8892 or LFingeroot@Tennessean.com.
Follow her on Twitter @LisaFingeroot.
The global search for high-quality education, embedded in high-performing education systems, has taken on mythical proportions, almost resembling the alchemists’ quest to turn common metals into gold.
It is my hope that the present day search for global education, equitable and providing equality of opportunity for all, shall not cease until the “gold” we seek, has been found.
I therefore dedicate this book to all the educators, researchers, parents and students the world over, who strive to achieve this elusive goal,high-quality education for all the citizens of the world.
In this endeavour, it is my belief that the International Baccalaureate merits a closer look, based on their more than 40 year history of delivering consistently excellent results.
I add that all of the reflections and views in this book are mine alone, unless otherwise noted, and can not be attributed to my employer or any other organization I am affiliated with, past or present. For any errors or oversights, I bear the complete responsibility.
Thomas Baker is the Past-President of TESOL Chile (2010-2011). He is the Head of the English Department at Colegio Internacional SEK in Santiago, Chile.
He is the Co-Founder and Co-Organiser of EdCamp Santiago, free, participant-driven, democratic, conversation based professional development for teachers, by teachers. EdCamp Santiago 2012 was held at Universidad Mayor in Santiago.
Thomas is also a member of the Advisory Board for the International Higher Education Teaching and Learning Association (HETL), where he also serves as a reviewer and as the HETL Ambassador for Chile.
Thomas enjoys writing about a wide variety of topics. Thus far, he has written the following genres: romance, historical fiction, autobiographical, sports history/biography, and English Language Teaching. He has published a total of forty six (46) books overall.
The source and inspiration for his writing comes from his family, his wife Gabriela, and his son, Thomas Jerome Baker, Jr.