Public Affairs

CSU's Value Demonstrated in California K-12 Classrooms

University system evaluates its teaching programs by looking at the impact of hundreds of educators on student learning

May 12, 2011

California State University prepared teachers outperform colleagues from other universities in measurable areas, according to a report presented to the Board of Trustees on May 10.

Now in its ninth year of annual reporting, the evaluation – for the first time – tracks the testing performance of students entering the classes of CSU teachers and their learning during the year. The students – fourth graders in 304 low performing schools – taught by CSU prepared teachers showed 10 percent more learning in math than the non-CSU comparison group.

"More than half of California teachers come from the CSU and we have an obligation to make sure they get the best preparation possible," said Beverly Young, CSU assistant vice chancellor for Academic Affairs. "By measuring and reporting, we ensure that our programs continue to excel."

CSU campuses and the Center for Teacher Quality conducted the value-added assessment as one part of how the university system measures the preparation of its graduates. The CSU also asked experienced K-12 principals to assess the preparation of first-year teachers on a wide-range of subjects and with at-risk, special need and English-learner students. Across the board, principal assessment of first-year teacher preparation has improved every year since the study began collecting data in 2001.

The CSU also looked into preparation specifically related to teaching skills tested in the Early Assessment Program and required for a student to be college ready. The assessment by principals for first-year teachers was that more than 90 percent of the educators were well or adequately prepared.

Finally, the report looked into the CSU use and success of fieldwork. The type of hands-on experience that teachers gain prior to starting a career is meant to build good practices under the guidance of education veterans. When surveyed, an overwhelming majority of CSU prepared teachers reported this experience as being important to their development as educators.