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Assessing And Evaluating Teacher Education Programs: APA Task Force Report

Abstract

"Effective teaching has long been an issue of national concern, but in recent years focus on the effectiveness of programs to produce high-quality teachers has sharpened. Long-standing achievement gaps persist despite large-scale legislative changes at the federal and state levels, and American students continue to show poorer performance on international tests compared to peers in other developed nations. These and other factors have resulted in the creation of new accreditation standards for teacher education programs. These standards, developed by the Council for the Accreditation of Education Programs (CAEP), require teacher education programs to demonstrate their graduates are capable of having strong positive effects on student learning.

The data and methods required to evaluate the effectiveness of teacher education programs ought to be informed by well-established scientific methods that have evolved in the science of psychology, which at its core addresses the measurement of behavior. Recent work highlights the potential utility of three methods for assessing teacher education program effectiveness: (1) value-added assess- ments of student achievement, (2) standardized observation protocols, and (3) surveys of teacher performance. These methodologies can be used by institutions to demonstrate that the teacher candidates who complete their programs are well prepared to support student learning. In this light, we discuss the evaluation of teacher education programs using these three methodologies, highlight the utility and limitations of each of these methodologies for evaluating teacher education programs, and provide a set of recommendations for their optimal use by teacher education programs and other stakeholders in teacher preparation, including states and professional associations."

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