The University with the Best Teacher Training Program is...
…one of the targets of a study being conducted by the California State University system. Knowing who does it best and how they do it will certainly provide the instructional base for every program in California. Learning the best way to prepare teachers is not a new goal for the CSU. Since 2001 the university's Center for Teacher Quality has been evaluating the effects of all the programs at the system's 22 campuses. Recently, however the Center has begun to investigate the impact of the CSU teacher preparation programs on the learning gains of K-12 students. They are zeroing in on the correlation between well trained teachers and the success of their students. This is how they are doing it:
- Newly graduated teachers are asked for their perspectives about their preparation. This is done before they actually become contracted teachers
- Once a new teacher has one or more years of actual teaching experience they are, again, asked about the value and effectiveness of their preparation and how well it has served them in their own classroom.
- Principals and other supervisors are brought into the equation about the same time as the new teacher is finishing their first year in the profession. The two points of view provide the needed insight and accuracy of evaluation.
- Beginning in 2008 all of the CSU campuses will be implementing a "uniform assessment of teaching performance" as a new requirement for recommending each candidate for certification.
- The university recently completed a major evaluation related to teacher retention. The focus was on reasons for staying or leaving the profession provided by teachers. In the 2007-08 year plans call for the assembly of evidence of how many teachers from each campus and program become teachers, and how many of their careers have lengths of one year, two years, etc., up to a maximum of eight years. The CSU, at this point, will seek to determine the equity of the distribution of teaching talent among schools in diverse communities. All information necessary to complete the picture.
- The greatest challenge to the success of this program is obtaining suitable evidence on how all of these factors impact the quality of student learning. This is the current focus of the study.
There is a ways to go, but the CSU has attracted a number of private universities who are joining in this quest to strengthen the quality of every teacher training program in the state.