Evaluations of Pre-Service Teacher Preparation

The issue: Although measuring teacher retention is complex, research suggests that about half of all new teachers leave the profession within five years. High teacher turnover — which tends to occur more frequently in economically disadvantaged schools than those richer in resources — can be disruptive to students and costly to the individuals who invested in a teaching career. In order to improve teacher retention rates, the federal and state departments of education have supported the design, implementation, and evaluation of promising teacher preparation programs. These programs typically operate in higher education in partnership with school districts, with the goal of preparing effective teachers who remain in the field for years to come.

Our contribution to the solution: Research for Better Schools (RBS) at PHMC has evaluated several teacher preparation programs, including the Philadelphia Teacher Residency operated by Drexel University, the Preservice Differently initiative at Bloomsburg University, and LaSalle University’s Greater Philadelphia Instructional Coaching project. We measure program impact through the use of mixed methods (e.g., surveys, interviews, and reviews of secondary data) and provide feedback to program developers about participants’ experiences so that they may adjust their programs, if necessary, in order to deliver the best possible intervention to the people they reach.