The State Collaborative on Reforming Education (SCORE) released the following statement today from Jamie Woodson, president and CEO, on the 2013 Report Card on the Effectiveness of Teacher Training Programs from the Tennessee Higher Education Commission.
Tennesseans need to know whether teacher training programs in our state are training teachers that can meet the challenge of adequately preparing students to succeed. Research shows that effective teaching is the No. 1 school-based factor in driving student achievement.
According to the report, several programs graduate teachers who outperform others across the state or are on an upward trend. These institutions include Lipscomb University, Memphis Teacher Residency, Teach for America Memphis, Teach for America Nashville, Union University, and the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. These institutions should be commended for their work in recruiting and training teachers who are achieving higher results in student academic growth.
There is also significant work to be done. The report highlights seven Tennessee institutions that consistently graduate teachers who underperform their peers. The three largest of these underperforming institutions graduated over 1,200 teachers, or about 25% of teachers prepared in 2011-12. In addition, five programs in Tennessee admitted and graduated students with ACT SCOREs as low as 13, which is higher than only 7 percent of all high school graduates. This is a concern given that new academic expectations require teaching and learning that focuses on critical thinking and problem-solving skills.
The teaching profession is complex, challenging, and critical to the future success of our state. It is imperative that the programs that train Tennessee’s teachers produce graduates who are ready for the challenging work that lies ahead in classrooms across our state. While our state has made great strides in focusing on great teaching, we have work to do in ensuring that all teacher training programs are recruiting and training top notch graduates so that every Tennessee student has access to excellent teaching.