National Center for Education Evaluation study: Teach for America teachers more successful at math teaching

14 Sep

Moi wrote in Urban teacher residencies:
One of the huge issues in educating ALL children is how to attract high quality teachers to high needs areas and to retain those teachers. One program designed to address that issue is the “Urban Teacher Residency Model.” Barnett Barry and Diana Montgomery of the Center for Teaching Quality along with Jon Snyder of Bank Street College wrote an interesting 2008 paper, Urban Teacher Residency Models and Institutions of Higher Education: Implications for Teacher Preparation:

In brief, UTRs recruit teaching talent aggressively, with the supply and demand needs of local districts in mind. They also insist on extensive preparation, whereby recruits are paid a stipend while learning to teach in a full-year residency, under the watchful eye of expert K-12 teachers. Because the Residents are not fully responsible for teaching children, they have more quality time to take relevant pedagogical coursework ―wrapped around‖ their intense student teaching experience. While both AUSL and BTR are relatively new programs, early studies on their graduates’ effectiveness and their high retention rates of 90 to 95 percent suggest these models hold great promise for preparing and supporting teachers in high-needs urban schools.
We believe the time is now for the teacher education community to embrace UTRs —supporting the development of them while also using them to improve their current programs. The struggles of both traditional and alternative pathways to certification are well known. For example, many traditional university-based programs are challenged by:
 Difficulty in attracting high academic achievers and teacher candidates of color;
 Too few opportunities for prospective teachers to be taught by exemplary classroom teachers;
 Failure to meet shortage area needs in subjects such as math, science, and special education, as well as the need for English Language Learners teachers;
 Limited resources and structures to provide induction support for their graduates in a systematic way once they begin teaching; and
 Lack of accountability for the effectiveness of their graduates.
On the other hand, alternate pathways, which often are touted for their ability to recruit high academic achieving candidates and to prepare teachers for specific districts, face challenges as well…. http://eric.ed.gov/?id=ED503644

https://drwilda.com/2012/03/04/urban-teacher-residencies/

Schools must be allowed to match available resources to students.

Julia Ryan reported in The Atlantic article, Study: Students Learn More Math With Teach for America Teachers:

The results of a two-year, 4,573-student study by the U.S. Department of Education
How effective are Teach for America teachers? It’s a question that the organization’s critics and fans alike have been trying to answer for years. The Teach for America website points to studies of school districts in Louisiana, North Carolina, and Tennessee, which all found that “corps members often help their students achieve academic gains at rates equal to or larger than those for students of more veteran teachers.” (Emphasis mine.) TFA skeptics cite a range of other studies that show students with traditionally certified teachers achieving higher gains.
A new study by the National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance (a part of the United States Department of Education) will encourage TFA supporters. The first large-scale random assignment study of TFA secondary math teachers, it found that the TFA teachers were more effective than other instructors at their schools.
“By providing rigorous evidence on the effectiveness of secondary math teachers from TFA and the Teaching Fellows programs, the study can shed light on potential approaches for improving teacher effectiveness in hard-to-staff schools and subjects,” the authors wrote.
The study included 4,573 students at middle and high schools across the country. In the 2009-2010 and 2010-2011 school years, researchers randomly assigned the students in each school to similar math courses–some were taught by TFA teachers, and others or by teachers who entered teaching through traditional or other, less selective alternative programs. The students with TFA teachers performed better on end-of-year exams than their peers in similar courses taught by other teachers. The bump in their test scores is equivalent to an additional 2.6 months of school for the average student nationwide.
The study also seemed to disprove the common criticism that, because TFA teachers only sign on for two years of teaching, they do not gain the experience necessary to become effective teachers. The study found that TFA teachers were more effective than both novice and experienced teachers from other certification programs. Students of TFA teachers in their first three years of teaching scored 0.08 standard deviations higher than students of other teachers in their first three years of teaching and 0.07 standard deviations higher than students of other teachers with more than three years of experience teaching.
However, the study pointed out that the results do not necessarily reflect the effectiveness of the TFA training itself, as the organization attracts a different applicant pool than traditional or other, less selective certification programs. The authors point out that both TFA and Teaching Fellows, another competitive teaching program, have “unique procedures for recruiting and selecting individuals” and look for characteristics they believe are “associated with effectiveness in the classroom.”
Only 23 percent of teachers from traditional or less-selective certification programs graduated from a selective college or university, while 81 percent of TFA teachers did. And although the TFA teachers were less likely to have majored or minored in math, they scored significantly higher on a test of math knowledge than their teacher counterparts. http://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2013/09/study-students-learn-more-math-with-teach-for-america-teachers/279527/

See, TFA Teachers Shown to Boost Secondary Math http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2013/09/11/04alternatives.h33.html?tkn=MWLFZkqS35ySzRJT3SsDjWlS1lm%2BJyt5VscZ&cmp=clp-edweek&intc=es

Citation:

The Effectiveness of Secondary Math Teachers from Teach For America and the Teaching Fellows Programs
Teach For America (TFA) and the Teaching Fellows programs are important and growing sources of teachers of hard-to-staff subjects in high-poverty schools, but comprehensive evidence of their effectiveness has been limited. A large-scale random assignment study examines the effectiveness of secondary math teachers from two highly selective alternative certification route programs: Teach for America (TFA) and Teaching Fellows.
The study separately compares the effectiveness of teachers from each program with the effectiveness of other teachers teaching the same subjects in the same schools. On average, students assigned to TFA teachers had higher math scores at the end of the school year than students assigned to comparison teachers. Students of Teaching Fellows and comparison teachers had similar math scores, on average. However, students with Teaching Fellows teachers did outperform students whose teachers entered the classroom through less selective alternative routes.
View, download, and print the report as a PDF file (1.9 MB)
http://ies.ed.gov/ncee/pubs/20134015/pdf/20134015.pdf
View, download, and print the executive summary as a PDF file (386 KB)
http://ies.ed.gov/ncee/pubs/20134015/pdf/20134016.pdf

Here is a portion of the Executive Summary:

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
Teach For America (TFA) and the Teaching Fellows programs are an important and growing source of teachers of hard-to-staff subjects in high-poverty schools, but comprehensive evidence of their effectiveness has been limited. This report presents findings from the first large-scale random assignment study of secondary math teachers from these programs. The study separately examined the effectiveness of TFA and Teaching Fellows teachers, comparing secondary math teachers from each program with other secondary math teachers teaching the same math courses in the same schools. The study focused on secondary math because this is a subject in which schools face particular staffing difficulties.
The study had two main findings, one for each program studied:
1. TFA teachers were more effective than the teachers with whom they were compared. On average, students assigned to TFA teachers scored 0.07 standard deviations higher on end-of-year math assessments than students assigned to comparison teachers, a statistically significant difference. This impact is equivalent to an additional 2.6 months of school for the average student nationwide.
2. Teaching Fellows were neither more nor less effective than the teachers with whom they were compared. On average, students of Teaching Fellows and students of comparison teachers had similar scores on end-of-year math assessments.

By providing rigorous evidence on the effectiveness of secondary math teachers from TFA and the Teaching Fellows programs, the study can shed light on potential approaches for improving teacher effectiveness in hard-to-staff schools and subjects. The study findings can provide guidance to school principals faced with the choice of hiring teachers who have entered the profession via different routes to certification. The findings can also aid policymakers and funders of teacher preparation programs by providing information on the effectiveness of teachers from various routes….

There will continue to be battles between those who favor a more traditional education and those who are open to the latest education fad. These battles will be fought out in school board meetings, PTSAs, and the courts. There is one way to, as Susan Powder says, “Stop the Insanity.” Genuine school choice allows parents or guardians to select the best educational setting for their child. Many policy wonks would like to believe that only one type of family seeks genuine school choice, the right wing wacko who makes regular visits on the “tea party” circuit. That is not true. Many parents favor a back-to-the basics traditional approach to education.

A one-size-fits-all approach does not work in education.

Related:

Study: Early mastery of fractions is a predictor of math success https://drwilda.com/2012/06/26/study-early-mastery-of-fractions-is-a-predictor-of-math-success/

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