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Hope Street Group Report: Teachers Reflect on Preparation

A new survey report from the Hope Street Group (HSG) presents perspectives of nearly 2,000 classroom teachers on their own preparation and that of future educators, aiming to inform both preparation program improvement and state and federal policy. The report, On Deck: Preparing the Next Generation of Teachers, asks whether teachers are being prepared effectively for the realities of today’s classrooms and what changes to curriculum, clinical experiences, and accountability measures might be needed.

The study was conducted by 18 HSG National Teacher Fellows, who are practicing classroom teachers and instructional coaches from 17 states. Last fall, they collected data through surveys and focus groups from other practicing teachers in their regions on their experiences and perceptions of how well teacher preparation providers are doing. Participating teachers ranged from 1 to 31 years of experience and came from all grade levels and subjects and from rural, urban, and suburban settings.

November/December JTE Looks at Improvement Science for Teacher Development

Are you looking to catch up on your reading over the holiday break? While you wait for the new issue of the Journal of Teacher Education (JTE) to arrive, here are some highlights of the current issue—which is also the final one edited by Stephanie Knight and her editorial team at Pennsylvania State University. (And the new editors at Michigan State University are eager to bring you their first issue in January!)


Containing general-topic articles as well as a special section addressing the theme of “Improvement Science for Teacher Professional Development,” the November/December 2015 issue is available online here. The theme section draws on the major forum organized by the JTE editors at the 2015 AACTE Annual Meeting (see video of the forum here) and is guest-edited by Paul LeMahieu, Ann Edwards, and Louis Gomez of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.

This month’s editorial offers a peek behind the editorial curtain with a 5-year retrospective on Penn State’s term serving the journal. The editors provide a frank analysis of their work and insightful observations about challenges faced by the field related to rigor and relevance in teacher education research. They also include their usual overview of the current issue, which features the following articles:

Call for JTE Manuscripts: Special Issue on Teaching to Changing Standards

The editors of the Journal of Teacher Education (JTE) invite manuscripts for a special issue on preparation for teaching to changing standards (e.g., Common Core, Next Generation Science Standards, C3 Framework for Social Studies Standards). Manuscripts are due February 15, 2016.

The Common Core State Standards for mathematics and for English/language arts have been adopted by more than 40 states. Many states have either adopted or are considering the Next Generation Science Standards. The C3 Framework for Social Studies Standards was intended to provide guidance to states wishing to revise their standards.

NCES Report: Most New Teachers Stay in the Classroom

A new study out of the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) helps debunk the oft-repeated assumption that half of new teachers leave the profession in the first 5 years. Overall, some 77% of participants in the Beginning Teacher Longitudinal Study continued teaching for 5 straight years, and the rate was even higher (80%) for those who had a mentor or participated in an induction program—just two of the many influences on teachers’ career paths studied for the report.

Career Paths of Beginning Public School Teachers first scrutinizes both broad and detailed career paths of 155,600 teachers who began their classroom career in the 2007-08 academic year. Then it looks at a subset of 1,440 teachers’ characteristics in their first and in their final year of teaching, covering personal demographics, student and school factors, and professional preparation and in-school supports.

New Research-Based Resources Support Teacher Preparation

Teacher educators and teacher candidates have new resources in two high-level summaries of the research on learning. By distilling and organizing the existing research on cognitive science and educational psychology, the reports offer teacher candidates concise summaries of high-impact practices grounded in scientific evidence and professional consensus around PK-12 learning. Teacher preparation programs might find them valuable as resources to tie together learning science concepts that are integrated across multiple courses.

Teachers Learn in the Classroom, Too

Research out of Brown University (RI) shows that teachers improve tremendously in their first year of teaching and continue to do so during their career. Researchers John Papay and Matthew Kraft discussed this work in a free AACTE webinar last month, “Toward a Broader Conceptualization of Teacher Quality: How Schools Influence Teacher Effectiveness,” which was recorded and is now available in AACTE’s Resource Library.

Papay, assistant professor of education and economics, and Kraft, assistant professor of education, shared findings from their research, recently published in Productivity Returns to Experience in the Teacher Labor Market: Methodological Challenges and New Evidence on Long-Term Career Improvement and Can Professional Environments in Schools Promote Teacher Development? Explaining Heterogeneity in Returns to Teaching Experience. These studies show that teachers’ learning develops exponentially in their early years in the classroom but also continues to grow throughout their careers at a slower rate, and teachers working in more supportive professional environments improve their effectiveness more over time than teachers working in less supportive contexts.

JTE Coeditor: NCTQ Appraisal of Journals Based on Narrow View of Teacher Prep Research

The National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ) published an article in last week’s Teacher Quality Bulletin that criticized journals with a teacher education focus for not publishing enough articles on “core techniques and skills.” Targeting AACTE’s Journal of Teacher Education (JTE) in particular, the authors report that “only” 11% of the articles published in JTE in the past 5 years address this topic. JTE Coeditor Fran Arbaugh of Pennsylvania State University sent the following response to the article’s authors:

Strategic Deployment of Teacher Experience: Getting It Right for Students

News Flash! The interest of students and their opportunity to learn is not better or even well served by a strategy of constant and high demand of inexperienced teachers. Retention matters, not just to teachers but, most critically, to students.

Recent studies showing that teacher effectiveness continues to develop over time reinforce this imperative to do right by our students. First, in a working paper completed last year for the National Center for Analysis of Longitudinal Data in Education Research, researchers at Duke University found that middle school teachers’ effect on student test scores as well as attendance rates improves over at least several years. A subsequent study out of Brown University found improvement in teacher effectiveness is indeed steepest in the early years in the classroom but continues for many more years, challenging the common perception that teacher quality is a fixed characteristic after just a couple of years of experience.

Apples to Oranges: Comparing Student Performance Across Countries With Varied Socioeconomic Conditions

In the three decades since A Nation at Risk was released, the state of America’s education system relative to other countries’ has been a matter of heated debate. Along the way, public opinion has placed the onus for our schools’ perceived failure on teachers and their preparation, and education policy has echoed this assumption through an array of accountability measures for teachers and preparation programs.

One driver of the continued misconception about U.S. teacher quality is the highly publicized results of international large-scale education assessments (ILSAs) that suggest America’s students are performing far below other nations. At January’s press briefing for the report The Iceberg Effect, lead researcher and report author James Harvey explained that ILSAs have been misused and that the science behind them is highly questionable, akin to comparing apples to oranges.

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