Are there differences in the effectiveness of teachers from different preparation programs?
It is challenging to link teacher effectiveness to the effectiveness of their preparation program because Washington collects very little information at the state level related to teacher effectiveness.
What are possible indicators related to effectiveness in the classroom?
One indicator that gets quite a bit of attention is something called value-added or student-growth scores. While these measures would be helpful, they are significantly limited by the number of grades and subjects tested in Washington State.
Another indicator is a beginning teacher’s performance evaluation. There are issues that need to be addressed with this measure, such as privacy, evaluator training, and rubric design. Also, the current state-level collection does not include an individual’s results, so it is not possible to determine if teachers from a particular program are more effective in the classroom.
Do Washington’s subject content, candidate performance, or second-tier certificate exams reflect a teacher’s ability to affect K-12 student learning?
- Washington’s subject content exam is called the Washington Educator Skills Test-Endorsement (WEST-E) and in some subject areas will now be the National Evaluation Series (NES). While there have been no direct studies of WEST-E or NES correlation with student learning gains, there is corroborating evidence related to the general usefulness of subject content exams.
- The edTPA is the teacher candidate performance exam. This exam was designed based on earlier exams, which drew a correlation between a teacher’s performance on the exam and the teacher’s ability to affect a positive impact on K-12 students. There is at least one study which aims to better understand if or how the edTPA measures a teacher’s impact on K-12 student gains. Washington’s second-tier certificate exam is called the ProTeach. A recent study (PDF) found, generally, teachers who pass the ProTeach are more likely to be effective teachers. Like all exams, the ProTeach is likely to have a number of false positives and false negatives; the study suggests these are important considerations for PESB and policy-makers.
- Washington also uses the National Board assessment as a second-tier certification exam. There is quite a bit of evidence (PDF) about how the National Board correlates with student gains. Compared to the ProTeach, the National Board has a lower passing rate and research suggests it has higher correlation with student gains.
Can Washington use surveys to measure program effectiveness?
In the past, Washington surveyed beginning teachers and their principals about their opinions related to their preparation. The survey was discontinued because:
- low response rates
- little to no differences in candidate responses between programs
- little to no differences in candidate responses over time
- annual cost
New federal guidelines may require Washington to restart surveying teacher program completers.