Report comparing teacher preparation programs in the state of Washington
The Gateway to the Profession: Assessing Teacher Preparation Programs in Washington State Based on Student Achievement was released on the September 22, 2011. The study examines the relationship between teacher's preparation program and it's impact on student achievement, as measured by growth on the state's standardized tests. The research employed a value-added methodology to confirm that the program a teacher attends matters when it comes to improving student performance. The study was limited to elementary school teachers and the programs from which they graduated. Importantly, it was noted that the teacher's training program accounted for a small percentage of the overall effect (approximately 1%) but that accounts for more of the difference in student performance that the teacher's experience or degree held. It is suggested that perhaps it is better to directly assess teacher's actual classroom performance than on pre-service credentials.
This information may be helpful in recruiting and hiring teachers as well lead to answering questions as to what practices differentiate exemplary programs from their peers. This knowledge will ultimately assist all teacher training programs improve through adopting practices that have a proven track record of making a difference.