The Gateway to the Profession: Assessing Teacher Preparation Programs Based on Student Achievement
Would-be elementary teachers deciding whether to enroll in the education school at Antioch University or the University of Puget Sound: Go with the latter. According to this new report by Dan Goldhaber and Stephanie Liddle, Puget Sound graduates are much more effective at boosting their students’ achievement levels than Antioch. For this analysis, Goldhaber and Liddle tapped a database of roughly 8,700 elementary teachers in Washington State and linked them to about 293,000 students for whom value-added data could be garnered. They found significant differences between individual in-state Washington teacher-training programs: In reading, the average difference in student performance between teachers from the most- and least-effective programs is equivalent to that seen in students without learning disabilities and those with. Hiring an alum from a program in the 84th percentile versus the mean is as effective at upping student test scores as reducing class size by five to ten students. (Surely, some of these differences can be attributed to selectivity of school. But Goldhaber and Liddle found this not to be the overwhelming factor.) However, the authors also found little or no difference between teachers that were trained inside or outside the state of Washington. The authors jump through a long-course of statistical hoops when formulating these analyses—and these mixed results leave more questions than they answer. The biggest might just be: The Data Quality Campaign reports that thirty-five states have enough available data to conduct this same type of research—why haven’t more studies of this ilk been conducted?
|Click to listen to commentary on Goldhaber's and Liddle's report from the Education Gadfly Show podcast
Dan Goldhaber and Stephanie Liddle, “The Gateway to the Profession: Assessing Teacher Preparation Programs Based on Student Achievement,” (Bothell, WA: University of Washington Center for Education Data & Research, 2011).
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