The Gateway to the Profession: Assessing Teacher Preparation Programs Based on Student Achievement

Would-be elementary teachers deciding whether to
enroll in the education school at Antioch University or the University of Puget
Sound: Go with the latter. According to this new report by Dan Goldhaber and
Stephanie Liddle, Puget Sound graduates are much more effective at boosting
their students’ achievement levels than Antioch. For this analysis, Goldhaber
and Liddle tapped a database of roughly 8,700 elementary teachers in Washington
State and linked them to about 293,000 students for whom value-added data could
be garnered. They found significant differences between individual in-state Washington teacher-training
programs: In reading, the average difference in student performance between
teachers from the most- and least-effective programs is equivalent to that seen
in students without learning disabilities and those with. Hiring an alum from a
program in the 84th percentile versus the mean is as effective at upping
student test scores as reducing class size by five to ten students. (Surely,
some of these differences can be attributed to selectivity of school. But Goldhaber
and Liddle found this not to be the overwhelming factor.) However, the authors
also found little or no difference between teachers that were trained inside or
outside the state of Washington. The authors jump through a long-course of
statistical hoops when formulating these analyses—and these mixed results leave
more questions than they answer. The biggest might just be: The Data Quality
Campaign reports that thirty-five states have enough available data to conduct
this same type of research—why haven’t more studies of this ilk been conducted?

Click to play

Click to listen to commentary on Goldhaber's and Liddle's report from the Education Gadfly Show podcast


Dan Goldhaber and Stephanie Liddle, “The Gateway to the Profession: Assessing Teacher Preparation
Programs Based on Student Achievement
,” (Bothell, WA: University of
Washington Center for Education Data & Research, 2011).

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