Preparing teachers : building evidence for sound policy

| March 2, 2011

Title: Preparing teachers : building evidence for sound policy

Author :  Committee on the Study of Teacher Preparation Programs in the United States, Center for Education, Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education

Publisher: Washington, D.C. : National Academies Press

Call number:  LB1715 .P727 2010

From the Publisher:

Preparing Teachers addresses the issue of teacher preparation with specific attention to reading, mathematics, and science. The book evaluates the characteristics of the candidates who enter teacher preparation programs, the sorts of instruction and experiences teacher candidates receive in preparation programs, and the extent that the required instruction and experiences are consistent with converging scientific evidence. Preparing Teachers also identifies a need for a data collection model to provide valid and reliable information about the content knowledge, pedagogical competence, and effectiveness of graduates from the various kinds of teacher preparation programs.

Federal and state policy makers need reliable, outcomes-based information to make sound decisions, and teacher educators need to know how best to contribute to the development of effective teachers. 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.

 
About the Author:

Study of Teacher Preparation Programs in the United Stated

Study Background

Teacher quality is widely recognized by policymakers, practitioners, and researchers alike to be the most powerful school-related influence on a child’s academic performance. As a consequence, accountability measures in federal education law are increasingly focused on ensuring that there is a highly qualified teacher in every classroom, and that in turn, the teacher preparation programs housed within institutions of higher education are themselves of high quality.

 
Congressional Mandate
In this context, H.R. 2673, the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2004, directed the U.S. Institute of Education Sciences to contract with the National Research Council (NRC) to conduct a $1.5 million study of teacher preparation programs in the United States. Consistent with its mission to provide independent, evidence based advice to government on key public policy issues, the Center for Education of the NRC will bring together a committee of leading experts to provide an assessment and synthesis of the evidence associated with teacher preparation programs, in both traditional and alternative settings.

Approach: The Four Questions

The committee will address the following central questions:

1. Who enters teacher preparation programs (pre-service, graduate, and alternative)? What is their academic preparation? What is their educational background?
 
2. What type of instruction and experiences do participants receive in the preparation program? Who delivers it? To what extent is there commonality in content and experiences?
 
3. To what extent is the required course work and experiences in reading and mathematics across teacher preparation programs consistent with converging scientific evidence?
 
4. What model for data collection would provide valid and reliable information about the content knowledge, pedagogical competence, and effectiveness of graduates from the various kinds of teacher preparation programs?
 
To conduct its work, the committee will review and analyze existing research and literature; synthesize and analyze data—both existing data and any new data that may have to be collected; and prepare a final consensus report that articulates its conclusions and recommendations.
 

Timeline and Project Activities

Report Release is anticipated in the fall 2009. This study began in August 2005.

 
STAFF CONTACTS
Stuart Elliott, Study Co Director

Alexandra Beatty, Sr. Program Officer

Patricia Harvey, Sr. Program Assistant

 
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