Specific Outcomes of Teacher Preparation Examined by the CSU Center for Teacher Quality
Outcome One: Teacher Preparation Exit Evaluation
As CSU students complete teacher preparation programs, they are invited to participate in a comprehensive online exit evaluation. This survey prompts candidates for teaching credentials to respond to questions about the quality of their preparation to teach including their instructors, their subject-matter coursework, their coursework on teaching practices, and their fieldwork experiences in K-12 schools. Exiting teachers from all CSU campuses respond to a common set of questions. Individual campuses also pose additional questions to their own graduates about particular aspects of their programs. Campus administrators can access tabulated survey data in real-time at a secure website.
Outcome Two: Program Evaluation by First-Year Teaching Graduates
This component of CTQ's work captures the reflections and judgments of CSU graduates on the quality, value and effectiveness of their preparation. Participants are CSU-prepared teachers near the end of their first year in classrooms. Teachers respond to program evaluation questions that are aligned with accreditation standards and K-12 student learning standards. To compile reliable evidence about the effectiveness of each CSU program for basic teaching credentials, CTQ invites all graduates in elementary schools, secondary schools and special education to provide professional feedback to the University. Using electronic databases to locate very large numbers of recent CSU graduates, and due to high response rates, the findings of the evaluation accurately describe the preparation of each year's "class" or "cohort" of newly-prepared teachers.
More than 28,500 graduates of CSU programs have participated in the graduate survey since it began in 2001. The evaluation includes distinct questions for first-year elementary teachers, secondary teachers, and special education teachers. It also has content-specific questions for teachers of several distinct subjects, enabling them to provide subject-specific feedback to CSU campuses. A set of core evaluation questions are addressed by all teachers so campuses can compare the effectiveness of distinct preparation programs.
All CSU graduates are asked to assess their preparation to teach in relation to the responsibilities that are assigned to them, the challenges of teaching, and the standards that govern their performance. The evaluation yields extensive evidence about subject-matter preparation, preparation to teach the subjects of the curriculum, preparation to effectively teach special needs students, English learners and other culturally-diverse students, preparation to manage classroom instruction, preparation to assess student learning, and many other critical dimensions of effective practice.
All CSU campuses use the teachers’ feedback every year when faculty and academic administrators make improvements in education courses, school-based fieldwork activities, and program requirements. Once improvements are implemented, campuses check the effects of their changes in feedback from subsequent teachers. Year-to-year evaluation results clearly demonstrate that programs for future teachers become more effective as a result of teacher feedback. CSU intends to continue relying on professional classroom teachers to strengthen the preparation of all future candidates for teaching credentials.
Outcome Three: Evaluation by Employers and Supervisors of New CSU Teachers
CTQ invites the school-site supervisors of teaching graduates to answer the CSU evaluation questions online. Unlike most follow-up studies of this type, the CTQ provides each supervisor with the name of the teacher who is guided and assisted by that supervisor, and whose preparation is to be assessed by the supervisor. Supervisors can report the first-year teacher to be "well prepared", "adequately prepared", "somewhat prepared" or "not at all prepared" in each of several important domains of teaching. A core set of questions has been in the annual supervisor evaluation since 2001, enabling CSU to see trends over time. To date, more than 21,200 busy school leaders have participated in the annual evaluations. CSU is deeply grateful to these professional leaders in education for taking the time to provide feedback information that is extremely valuable in CSU's ongoing efforts to improve the outcomes of teacher preparation and contribute to K-12 school effectiveness.
The supervisors' evaluation evidence is based on their observations of teachers' classrooms, and on extended conferences in which supervisors and teachers discuss classroom teaching practices on multiple occasions. CTQ compiles the evidence and forwards it to CSU campuses and the Chancellor, who requires campuses to take the findings into account as they strive to strengthen programs for prospective teachers. Annual evidence provided by veteran supervisors of new teachers demonstrates that campuses utilize their feedback extensively, and that the effectiveness of teacher education programs has increased substantially as a result of many specific findings by the University’s K-12 partners.
Outcome Four: Assessment of Teaching Performance
California's requirements for earning a teaching credential are changing. Since 2008-09, each candidate for a teaching credential must pass a teaching performance assessment (TPA) that addresses critical elements of effective teaching practice. The laws that established this new requirement for teacher certification allow institutions to either (a) use a TPA assessment developed by the State or (b) develop their own assessment systems.
The State of California has adopted Assessment Design Standards and Teaching Performance Expectations to govern the scope, content, methods and technical qualities of all assessments. The State’s adopted TPA has been determined to meet the applicable standards and expectations. Institutions that design their own assessments must adhere to the same critical standards and expectations.
CSU campuses continue to assess the teaching performance of every candidate for a teaching credential although the State did not provide funding that was promised for this purpose. Each candidate must teach effectively before the campus recommends the award of a state teaching credential. In the CSU system, implementation of TPAs has sharpened the focus of many programs, strengthened partnerships with K-12 educators, and produced many teachers who are ready to realize the opportunities and surmount the challenges of classroom teaching.
Outcome Five: Participation and Persistence in the Profession of Teaching
The CSU completed a large-scale analysis of retention and attrition patterns among California's K-12 public school teachers. The findings and recommendations from this study appear in a 2007 report titled, A Possible Dream: Retaining California Teachers So All Students Learn.
The author of the report, CSU professor Dr. Ken Futernick, collected survey data from 2000 current and former teachers and was able to identify specific factors that affected their employment decisions. This study achieved two important objectives for the CSU. First, the findings provide insights into the role of teacher preparation in teachers' decisions to remain in or to leave the profession. Second, the findings and recommendations in the report are enabling educators and education policymakers to better understand the cost of teacher attrition, the numerous factors that affect retention patterns, and how the state can improve teacher retention rates.
Outcome Six: Outcomes of CSU Teacher Preparation for K-12 Students
This component of the CSU's Systemwide Evaluation of Teacher Preparation examines relationships between teacher preparation programs and student learning gains in K-12 schools. The CTQ formed partnerships with four large school districts in California, which provided rich, valuable evidence that CTQ uses assess to these relationships thoroughly and thoughtfully. The evidence being assessed includes the results of statewide learning exams as well as local assessments sponsored by the participating districts. Using a value-added approach, this evaluation of CSU teacher preparation assesses the impact on students of (a) different levels of preparation among teachers, (b) substantively different approaches to preparation, and (c) different policies that govern the preparation of new teachers. While examining the effects of these variations in preparation, CTQ is statistically neutralizing the effects of the demographic characteristics and socio-economic conditions of different schools. This sixth component of CTQ work reached fruition in 2012. Recent reports of CTQ's findings are among the following links. Additional reports will be added to this site in the coming months.