George Noell, Bethany Porter, R. Maria Patt, and Amanda Dahir
Louisiana State University
This first-rate value-added study helps to fill a gaping hole in teacher quality research, namely, what impact do teacher prep programs (TPP) have on student achievement? The study, commissioned by the Louisiana Board of Regents, examined seven such in Louisiana (the only ones to have met the study criteria, which included having at least 25 graduates, either in their first or second years of teaching). These included five university-based programs and two private providers. Researchers looked at state test achievement data from 2004-2007 for students from 70 districts in grades 4-9. After linking student and teacher data and drawing a comparison group of experienced teachers (who had similar class compositions) to new TPP teachers, the researchers analyzed the data through a rigorous statistical model (hierarchical linear modeling, which acknowledges that students are "nested" in classrooms and classrooms "nested" in schools). The results, which controlled for students' prior achievement and demographics, showed that one alternative provider, the New Teacher Project (TNTP), and two university-based programs, University of Louisiana at Monroe and Northwestern State University, demonstrated consistent positive results for students across four core content areas (math, reading, language arts, and science). The New Teacher Project, in fact, did especially well preparing math teachers; TNTP math teachers outperformed more experienced teachers in this subject area by higher (though not statistically significant) margins. Part of a series on teacher prep in Louisiana, this report makes a strong case for increased accountability of preparation programs. It also makes a strong case for expanding the preparation process beyond the ivied walls. You can find it here.