CSU Prepares Top-Quality Teachers

(March 6, 2003) Eighty-three percent of the graduates of California State University teaching credential programs received high marks from their supervisors for their level of preparation to teach reading and math skills in elementary schools, according to an evaluation to be reported to the CSU Board of Trustees on March 12.

This level of CSU effectiveness improved from one year earlier, when 81 percent were evaluated favorably for their preparation in reading and 80 percent in math, according to their experienced supervisors.

"Our reforms in teacher preparation are producing dividends," said CSU Chancellor Charles B. Reed, "and the children in California's public schools are the beneficiaries. We intend to keep the focus on preparing outstanding teachers. Our goal is for every graduate of our credential programs to be a top- quality teacher."

CSU realized even greater improvements in preparing high school teachers. Ninety percent of CSU graduates teaching in grades 9-12 received high "preparation grades" from their supervisors, up from 86 percent one year earlier. In high schools, CSU graduates teach all subjects ranging from English and math to science, history and the arts.

"School principals and other site-supervisors assess our graduates very thoroughly, and are telling us that CSU teacher education is very effective," said Executive Vice Chancellor and Chief Academic Officer David S. Spence. "This is especially reassuring when you consider that 95 percent of the supervisors have worked with many first-year teachers during their careers as school administrators."

A similar evaluation by the National Center for Education Statistics, a federal agency, showed that first-year teachers throughout the country were less prepared than CSU graduates as much as 17 percent less prepared in the case of high school teachers.

In 2000-01, almost 10,500 teachers graduated from 21 CSU campuses located throughout California from Humboldt to San Diego.

Other results of the CSU evaluation:

  • 89 percent of CSU teaching graduates know and understand the subjects of the curriculum, according to their supervisors, up from 87 percent one year ago.
  • 85 percent communicate effectively with parents, up from 84 percent the year before.
  • 82 percent manage their classes effectively for instruction, up from 81 percent earlier.
  • 89 percent prepared good lesson plans and 83 percent used a good "mix" of teaching strategies two important aspects of teaching that were evaluated for the first time this year.
The evaluation also showed that 95 percent of CSU students who earned state teaching credentials in 2000-01 served as full-time teachers in California public schools one year later. More than three-quarters taught in urban, metropolitan and rural schools. At the same time, more than half worked in low-income communities. According to the experienced supervisors, CSU preparation was as effective in low- income schools as it was in schools serving higher-income families.

The new teachers rated the value of distinct courses and fieldwork activities in their CSU preparation programs, which they completed one year before answering the evaluation questions. For 84 percent, the assistance provided by classroom teachers in the student-teaching phase of their preparation was very valuable and helpful. Preparatory courses in reading instruction for grades K-8 and in advanced instruction for high school teaching were also very helpful and valuable before teaching began.

The evaluation revealed that only half of the CSU teachers received the benefits of student teaching because school districts throughout California hired the others as classroom teachers before they finished their preparation. This premature hiring of unprepared teachers is the strongest barrier to the effectiveness of CSU teacher education programs, according to the evaluation report.

Initiated by the CSU Office of the Chancellor and the Deans of Education, the evaluation gathered reports from 2,442 randomly selected teachers and 2,002 supervisors, and had a margin of error less than four percent.

"We started this evaluation to see how we stand in relation to our own high standards, and where we need to improve," said Chancellor Reed. "We will continue to set high goals and to monitor the progress of our teacher education programs to be sure we are continuing to produce outstanding teachers for California's public schools."

Contact: Clara Potes-Fellow, 562-951-4806, cpotes-fellow@calstate.edu

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Last Updated:6 March 2003

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