Thanks to a new state-wide collection of course-level data it is now possible to measure teacher assignment from the perspective of the student. PESB is changing the way we think about teacher assignment, where we now look at the number of students enrolled in courses with a teacher who does not have a credential with the proper content endorsement. This is a significant change in both state and federal teacher policy. This work has yielded many important policy questions we are tackling this year.
For years we have been working to better understand teacher shortages at the state and local level. The new course data allows us to view shortages by assignment. Also, thanks to recent research from the University of Washington in conjunction with educator preparation programs, we are beginning to view shortages using the teacher labor market.
Learn more about production.
In Washington, as well as nationally, diversity in the teaching workforce does not reflect the student population. PESB and preparation programs continue pursuing the shared goal of diversifying education preparation. Unfortunately we see little upward trend, and educator preparation in general continues to be less diverse than the universities where they reside. Currently we are implementing policy and data collections that focus on the recruitment and admission of under-represented groups.
Learn more about diversity.
PESB would like to see more teaching candidates have the opportunity to student teach in diverse settings. PESB and programs implemented new data collections that allow us to better understand this issue. We see notable differences between programs and geographical regions. We will be working on policy changes to address this issue.
Learn more about diversity in student teaching.
PESB is concerned subject content knowledge from teachers developed in Washington remain flat. We note that although there are not promising tends over time, there are differences between programs. We are looking at new policies to focus program attention to this issue.
Learn more about knowledge and skills.
This is the first year we have individuals not able to renew a teaching credential because of Washington's professional certificate policy. These teachers ether did not complete, or did not pass the ProTeach or National Board by the policy deadline, which means they can no longer teach in Washington public schools. Policies for credential renewal have been around for a long time, and individuals who did not complete certain requirements were in danger of losing their certificate. However, this is the first time an individual has lost his or her teaching credential because they did not pass an assessment.
PESB has been busy tracking this policy and part of our work was commissioning a study to better understand the external validity of the ProTeach assessment. Here is what we know from a recent study.
- Teachers that pass the ProTeach Portfolio on the first attempt are more likely effective in the classroom.
- The ProTeach does not signal teacher effectiveness as strongly as the National Board.
- Similar to National Board, teachers working with high-risk students are less likely to pass the ProTeach.
- Also similar to other assessments, the ProTeach is likely to have a number of false positives and false negatives. The study suggests these are important considerations for policy-makers.
PESB has been charged by the Legislature to link teacher preparation program and teacher effectiveness. Currently the only way to access aggregate information on teacher effectiveness is by hiring external researchers to perform value-added modeling (VAM).
Problems with VAM include;
- The cost of hiring an outside researcher
- The range of subjects and grades available for study is limited
- Washington does not have a strong teacher/student link. This makes it vey difficult to relate student performance to specific teachers.
Problems with evaluation information include:
- Access to individual evaluation data is sensitive, and issues related to privacy still need to be addressed.
- Currently evaluation data is held in such a way that it is not possible to aggregate to the teachers’ preparation programs.
- More research needs to be done around Washington's evaluation system to better understand whether it measures teacher effectiveness.