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JTE Insider Podcast Highlights Evidence-Based Teacher Preparation

In a recent podcast interview for JTE Insider blog, author Dan Goldhaber from the University of Washington offers an overview of his article, Evidence-Based Teacher Preparation: Policy Context and What We Know, during a talk with Graduate Assistant Mary Neville. The article was published in the March/April 2019 issue of the Journal of Teacher Education.

Goldhaber shares that the article is intended to do two thing: Describe what is known about teacher education and what happens once a teacher candidate becomes an in-service teacher, and secondly, to make observations about some of the structures that might be needed for state teacher preparation programs to learn more about what constitutes effective teaching.

“There is a lot of policy focus on teacher education these days, and rightfully so,” said Goldhaber. “We are starting to get data systems that can speak to each other in ways that they couldn’t in the past, so there is the potential to learn quite a bit more.”

He discusses how most of the data systems focus on the connection between teachers and where they got their credential. “For the most part, there aren’t good connections about the features of teacher education, what teacher education look like in particular,” said Goldhaber. He adds that some of the research has begun to focus on student teaching because there is more information available from administrative databases.

“It’s important when you think about the field as a whole,” he says. “It’s probably a whole lot less politically contentious to try and get people better prepared to be a quality teacher on day one than it is too try to change people who are already in the teaching profession. I’m optimistic that focusing on preservice teachers is more likely to impact the world, impact the field too.”

Goldhaber makes the case that to learn more about teacher education would require a data structure that allows the states and the teacher preparation programs to works together to get feedback about how teacher candidates are doing when they enter the field.

The article is summarized in the following abstract:

Teacher preparation programs (TPPs) have received a great deal of policy and research attention of late. And despite the commonsense notion that preparation for formal classroom responsibilities should improve the readiness of teacher candidates, the value of formalized preservice teacher education is unclear. In this review of the quantitative evidence about TPPs, I find that most studies show only minor differences in the value added of teachers who graduate from different programs, and that there are only a few studies that focus on the association between the features of teacher preparation and teacher workforce outcomes. The lack of evidence on the importance of the features of teacher preparation is primarily due to data deficiencies: data often do not permit connections between TPP features and teacher workforce outcomes. As a consequence, feedback loops that could theoretically provide TPPs with actionable information about program design typically do not exist.

Listen to the podcast interview, and read the article. (Remember, AACTE members can access the article free if they log in on AACTE’s website first.)

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Katrina Norfleet

Content Strategist, AACTE