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Teacher Ed. Programs Show Signs of Improvement, AACTE Finds

By guest blogger Nora Fleming

Teacher education programs are using data, technology, and monitoring/tracking systems to improve, but still have a ways to go, says a report from the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education, released today.

According to the AACTE, progress has been made, but obstacles to improvement persist. Not a surprise given that teacher ed. has long been under attack by critics who claim its tradition-bound ways aren't producing the kinds of teachers needed for 21st-century classrooms.

The organization based its report on data from 95 percent of the organization's more than 800 members.

The report says that teacher education programs are:

  • Admitting highly qualified candidates into their programs (GPAs averaging 3.24);
  • Requiring significant clinical experience of students (around 13-16 weeks);
  • Integrating coursework on technology use in the classroom, and in a growing number of programs, requiring such coursework of aspiring teachers; and
  • Improving the tracking and monitoring of candidates after they graduate and enter teaching.

Data, however, are limited on how teacher-prep graduates are performing and affecting students in K-12 classrooms, particularly through value-added measures. The report recommends that teacher education programs improve their data collection in this area.

"We can easily see there is much to be done to ensure that our work is aligned with school districts' workforce needs," said Sharon P. Robinson, president and CEO of AACTE. "We look forward to deepening our collaborative work with our p-12, state, and higher education colleagues to strengthen practice and policy in teacher preparation."

To get better, the AACTE report recommends teacher education programs:

  • Expand one-year residency programs;
  • Aim to diversify the teacher workforce pool;
  • Strengthen teacher production and teacher quality;
  • Adopt performance-based exit measures for all teacher-candidates; and
  • Improve access to P-12 performance data.

My colleague Stephen Sawchuk will likely have more to say about this report when he returns from assignment. Meanwhile, check out the series of stories he's been doing on teacher preparation here and here.

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