Policy

DQC Urges States to Use Data to Improve Teacher Prep

While states have all kinds of requirements laying out how teachers should be prepared for the classroom, they don’t often give back information on how those teachers do in the classroom that could lead to improvements in their educator preparation programs.

A new brief from the Data Quality Campaign encourages state education leaders and regulators to evaluate what data they can collect from training programs that will help those programs get better. Likewise, it urges them to reach out to teachers themselves to learn more about what works and doesn't work for professional development. DQC is a nonprofit that focuses on topics related to the use of data for educational purposes.

According to "Using Data to Ensure That Teachers Are Learner Ready on Day One," the data needed to develop policies and practices for improving teacher quality is unavailable to those who need it because states, educator preparation programs and school administrators tend to collect and use their data in silos. As a result, information such as teacher performance data isn't shared back to preparation programs that could use it to improve their training efforts.

The Data Quality Campaign's 2014 Data for Action survey found that just 22 states share teachers classroom performance each year with their in-state educator preparation programs. A 2016 survey by the Council of Chief State School Officers and Teacher Preparation Analytics identified only 10 states that include observations of those graduates' performance in the classroom as an indicator in reviews of those programs.

As proof of the need for more good data, earlier this year the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education and research company Westat kicked off a pilot to test out a new state survey instrument for beginning teachers and their supervisors. The intent is to gather more detailed information about how those new teachers do in the classroom to help states compare programs.

The report offers several recommendations to states for supporting "continuous improvement in educator preparation," among them:

  • Share information about teachers' performance with those education programs that train them, but make sure it's done securely;
  • Conduct a state-wide survey among teachers and then share the results with teacher training programs to "encourage improvements" that will benefit future teachers;
  • Collaborate with "key groups"--training programs, education agencies and teachers--to figure out what data would be helpful; and
  • Develop a data link that will tie teachers to students by course to be able to understand how student academic progress is tied to teacher training and practice.

The eight-page brief is openly available on the DQC website here.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal and Campus Technology. She can be reached at dian@dischaffhauser.com or on Twitter @schaffhauser.

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