Monday, April 22, 2013

The New Teacher Project Study

The New Teacher Project (TNTP) is out with another important study:

Leap Year explores a simple idea: The first year is the most important year of a teacher’s career, and we need to treat it that way. While many schools and teacher training programs treat teachers’ first year like a warm-up, we should instead see it as a critical window of opportunity to help teachers develop essential skills and determine whether they can make a successful career teaching.

This concept inspired TNTP’s Assessment of Classroom Effectiveness (ACE), a multiple-measures evaluation system designed specifically to ensure that first-year teachers in its Teaching Fellows and TNTP Academy programs meet a high standard of effectiveness. Leap Year describes the major lessons TNTP learned in using ACE to support and evaluate the growth of 1,003 teachers in 15 programs across the country, including:
  • New teachers perform at different levels and improve at different rates.
  • Teachers’ initial performance predicts their future performance.
  • Multiple measures tend to point to the same conclusion about a teacher’s       effectiveness.
  • A few specific core skills appear to be important to a first-year teacher’s success.

The report also offers three recommendations for supporting more effective early-career teaching:

  • Certification should be linked to a teacher’s actual performance in the classroom.
  • Use multiple measures, including classroom observations and student surveys, when value-added data are unavailable.
  • Schools need to help first-year teachers focus on the skills that matter most.

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