Caught in a Vise: The Challenges Facing Teacher Preparation in an Era of Accountability
by Rick Ginsberg & Neal Kingston - 2014
Background: Despite polling data that suggests that teachers are well respected by the general public, criticism of teacher preparation by various organizations and interest groups is common, often highlighting the perceived need for increasing their rigor and performance. A number of studies and reports have critiqued teacher preparation, and high-profile leaders like Secretary of Education Arne Duncan have called for substantive changes. At the same time, the field of teacher preparation has been embracing change with the idea of accountability based on student performance. Indeed, recently released evidence suggests that in the area of clinical preparation, education programs require many hours of field placement experiences, countering one of the key criticisms of the preparation programs.
Purpose: The purpose of this study is to examine the field of teacher preparation in the current era of accountability and testing. After a brief overview of the current context facing teacher preparation, the issue of outcome measures for varying professions is explored by comparing accreditation outcome measures utilized in selected professions. Then, the strengths and weaknesses of currently emerging assessment models are explored. Finally, a discussion of potential ways to assess teacher preparation program performance with an array of sources and measures is presented.
Research Design: The study is a combination of a secondary analysis and analytic essay. The use of outcomes associated with 10 professions was examined by reviewing accreditation standards and documentation from published reports available on websites for the specific measures used to assess student success and program outcomes. As a means of validating findings, feedback was obtained from accreditation coordinators and/or other leaders in each profession. The analysis of currently emerging assessment models for teacher preparation was based upon a review of literature on value added and other similar assessments.
Conclusions/Recommendations: The review of professions found that all are struggling with better means for assessing program outcomes, with a great deal of similarity in the processes currently in place used across fields. Teacher education was found to include more of the different ways for assessing outcomes than any other profession. Significant concerns with currently promoted value-added models for assessing outcomes of teacher preparation were identified, with the use of multiple measures of evidence suggested as the best means for moving forward. We argue that teacher preparation programs are caught in a viseŚwith an appreciation and desire among those in the field for greater accountability while being squeezed by a sense that the approaches being suggested are prone to error and misuse.
To view the full-text for this article you must be signed-in with the appropriate membership. Please review your options below: