AACTE to Survey Members on Data Use in Programs

In the next few days, Chief Representatives at 400 randomly selected AACTE member institutions will receive an invitation from the Association to complete a survey on data use in their teacher preparation programs.

As readers of this blog know, teacher preparation institutions are under increasing pressure to provide data on the effectiveness of their programs and to use these data to make decisions about ongoing program improvement. However, a growing body of research shows that using data to make decisions about policy and practice involves much more than collecting, aggregating, and analyzing information. In order to understand what it takes to go from collecting to effectively using data, AACTE and the University of Washington have been collaborating over the last 2 years on a Spencer Foundation-sponsored project focused on describing how teacher education programs are learning to use new sources of outcome data for the purposes of program improvement.

The initial phase of the study included focus group interviews with administrators, faculty, teacher candidates, and PK-12 partner schools at 10 institutions identified from various sources as high data users. From these interviews, we identified a number of organizational practices and policies that may be useful in building and sustaining cultures of continuous inquiry and program improvement in teacher education. Our findings suggest that achieving these goals will be more likely when academic leaders strategically consider the relationships among the affordances of new tools for data collection and analysis, the goals and motivations of faculty, and the organizational resources and supports needed to sustain faculty and staff engagement with data and decision making.

We also conducted three in-depth case studies of institutions (selected to represent varying contexts, sizes, and missions) to help confirm these findings and to document concrete examples of ways in which promising organizational practices and policies were developed and implemented in diverse contexts.

The next step in the project is the national survey, which is based on the practices identified in the interviews and case studies. The survey has three purposes: (a) to validate the findings from the previous steps, (b) to identify areas of need for the development of technical assistance materials that will be made available to all AACTE member institutions, and (c) to offer a self-assessment tool that can be used by institutions to reflect on their practices and further develop their work around data use.

The survey is designed to be completed by the director of the largest teacher preparation program at each participating institution—only one response is needed from each institution. Each survey respondent will receive an Amazon gift card as a small token of appreciation.

A series of webinars discussing the final results as well as a section on the AACTE web site with technical assistance resources will be available this fall.

For more information, contact Gail Bozeman, AACTE vice president for events and strategic initiatives.

The project’s principal investigators at the University of Washington are Charles (Cap) Peck and Morva McDonald. Alicia Ardila-Rey served as principal investigator at AACTE.

Cap Peck is professor in the University of Washington’s College of Education.

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Alicia Ardila-Rey

Director of Research and Dissemination, AACTE

Cap Peck

Professor of Teacher Education and Special Education, University of Washington