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Strengthening the Data Use and Continuous Improvement Capacity of Teacher Preparation Programs

August 1, 2020

Educators and policymakers across the United States recognize a growing urgency to improve the nation's systems of teacher preparation. Ensuring that teachers stay and thrive in the profession depends largely on having system-wide policies and practices in place that address teacher shortages, promote equity and excellence, and cultivate expertise, diversity, and more.The California State University (CSU) system partnered with the S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation to launch the New Generation of Educators Initiative (NGEI), in an effort to transform the nature and quality of teacher preparation at both individual CSU campuses and across the CSU system as a whole. To answer the question, "What does it take to transform teacher education?" WestEd and SRI International conducted an evaluation to examine and share learnings about the CSU-led effort to implement large-scale clinically oriented teacher preparation reform.As part of a series of new evaluation reports that explore key transformational elements of effective teacher preparation programs, this paper addresses how programs can expand their capacity to use data for continuous improvement through the following levers:Lever 1: Develop data sources that can inform improvement effortsLever 2: Delineate clear roles to support continuous improvementLever 3: Build an infrastructure for efficient data entry and analysisLever 4: Establish a culture of improvement through routines for data review and use

The NGEI Approach to Improving Teacher Preparation in the CSU Through a System of Supports

August 1, 2020

Educators and policymakers across the United States recognize a growing urgency to improve the nation's systems of teacher preparation. Ensuring that teachers stay and thrive in the profession depends largely on having system-wide policies and practices in place that address teacher shortages, promote equity and excellence, and cultivate expertise, diversity, and more.The California State University (CSU) system partnered with the S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation to launch the New Generation of Educators Initiative (NGEI), in an effort to transform the nature and quality of teacher preparation at both individual CSU campuses and across the CSU system as a whole. To answer the question, "What does it take to transform teacher education?" WestEd and SRI International conducted an evaluation to examine and share learnings about the CSU-led effort to implement large-scale clinically oriented teacher preparation reform.As part of a series of new evaluation reports that explore key transformational elements of effective teacher preparation programs, this paper reviews the evolution of a system of support for NGEI campuses that included targeted grant requirements, coaching and technical assistance, and a learning community to help partnerships share problems of practice. The following levers supported NGEI campuses to undergo rapid transformation, while implementing reforms in systematic, sustainable, and context-specific ways:Lever 1: Balance grant requirements with flexibility and responsive supportLever 2: Customize technical assistance support to meet partnership needsLever 3: Embed opportunities for cross-networked learning and collaboration

Strengthening the Clinical Orientation of Teacher Preparation Programs

August 1, 2020

Educators and policymakers across the United States recognize a growing urgency to improve the nation's systems of teacher preparation. Ensuring that teachers stay and thrive in the profession depends largely on having system-wide policies and practices in place that address teacher shortages, promote equity and excellence, and cultivate expertise, diversity, and more.The California State University (CSU) system partnered with the S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation to launch the New Generation of Educators Initiative (NGEI), in an effort to transform the nature and quality of teacher preparation at both individual CSU campuses and across the CSU system as a whole. To answer the question, "What does it take to transform teacher education?" WestEd and SRI International conducted an evaluation to examine and share learnings about the CSU-led effort to implement large-scale clinically oriented teacher preparation reform.As part of a series of new evaluation reports that explore key transformational elements of effective teacher preparation programs, this paper identifies key levers to put high-quality clinical experience - that is, the opportunity to practice the work of teaching in classrooms - at the center of teacher preparation. Findings in this report explore the following high-leverage strategies to strengthen the clinical orientation of teacher preparation programs:Lever 1: Identify prioritized skillsLever 2: Select or create a rubric to assess candidate proficiency with prioritized skillsLever 3: Integrate and expand opportunities to practice prioritized skillsLever 4: Re-conceptualize clinical roles, selection, and supportLever 5: Define and implement processes to provide formative feedback to candidates on prioritized skills

Building Strong Partnerships to Improve Clinically Oriented Teacher Preparation

August 1, 2020

Educators and policymakers across the United States recognize a growing urgency to improve the nation's systems of teacher preparation. Ensuring that teachers stay and thrive in the profession depends largely on having system-wide policies and practices in place that address teacher shortages, promote equity and excellence, and cultivate expertise, diversity, and more.The California State University (CSU) system partnered with the S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation to launch the New Generation of Educators Initiative (NGEI), in an effort to transform the nature and quality of teacher preparation at both individual CSU campuses and across the CSU system as a whole. To answer the question, "What does it take to transform teacher education?" WestEd and SRI International conducted an evaluation to examine and share learnings about the CSU-led effort to implement large-scale clinically oriented teacher preparation reform.As part of a series of new evaluation reports that explore key transformational elements of effective teacher preparation programs, this paper describes how participating CSU campuses and their partner school districts strengthened their relationships and developed strategic partnerships to establish the necessary foundations for high-quality, clinically oriented programming.This paper identifies four levers that can be operationalized in order to sustain strong partnerships between stakeholders:Lever 1: Create and operationalize a shared visionLever 2: Identify key rolesLever 3: Ensure space and time to collaborateLever 4: Share data to identify needs and monitor progress

New Generation of Educators Initiative: Transforming teacher preparation.

April 1, 2020

The focus of the New Generation of Educators Initiative (NGEI) was to answer the question "What would it take to transform teacher education?" From 2016 to 2019, with support from the S. D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation, teacher education programs at 10 California State University (CSU) campuses partnered with local school districts to design and demonstrate innovative practices that could transform teacher preparation. This report documents the learnings from multiple participants in this transformative work, including Foundation program staff and representatives from partnerships between universities and school districts.

Funding Teacher Preparation: What we did. What we learned.

January 1, 2020

Through the New Generation of Educators Initiative, the S. D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation invested more than $20 million across six years, 2014 to 2019, to support high-quality preparation for new teachers in California. This preparation included a focus on instruction aligned to the state's new academic standards for math and science.The Foundation directed its investment to the California State University (CSU). The CSU system comprises 23 campuses that collectively prepare more than 50 percent of the state's teacher workforce for K-12 education -- and about 10 percent of the nation's teachers.The overarching goal was to demonstrate improved practices that prepare new teachers for success on their first day in the classroom, to scale and sustain these improvements across the CSU system, and to inform and influence the approaches used by other teacher preparation program providers as well as funders and policymakers supporting their efforts.

Developing Systems for High-Quality Feedback to Teacher Candidates: Lessons Learned from 11 California State University Teacher Preparation Programs

January 1, 2019

This paper shares information and lessons learned from sites that are attempting to transform their teacher preparation systems toward practice-based approaches that feature high-quality feedback for teacher candidates. The paper is based on qualitative data collected from 2016 through 2018 in 11 sites where partnerships between California State University (CSU) teacher preparation programs and local school districts are working to improve how they prepare new teachers. Each partnership received a grant from the New Generation of Educators Initiative (NGEI).

A System of Measures to Support Improvement in Teacher Preparation

January 1, 2019

As efforts have mounted to reform how teachers are prepared for their profession, so have calls for data that would provide insights into whether teacher preparation programs are producing desired outcomes, and for data that would inform continuous improvement efforts. The New Generation of Educators Initiative (NGEI) at California State University (CSU), funded by the S. D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation, seeks to strengthen the current teacher preparation system in California so that new teachers enter the workforce prepared to implement the Common Core State Standards and the Next Generation Science Standards. Building on the efforts of CSU teacher preparation programs (TPPs) that have been working toward improved outcomes, this paper offers a perspective on how TPPs can use data that indicate how key parts of their systems are performing.

Improvement Science in Teacher Preparation at California State University: How teacher preparation partnerships are building capacity to learn to improve

October 1, 2018

One of the most pressing educational problems in the United States is improving the quality of teacher preparation (Goldhaber, Liddle, & Theobald, 2013; National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, & Institute of Medicine, 2007). Over the last decade the education sector has begun to learn from other sectors -- especially health care -- about the potential power of improvement science as an approach to improving the quality and reliability of educational systems (Bryk, Gomez, Grunow, & LeMahieu, 2015; Coburn, Penuel, & Geil, 2013; Lewis, 2015). Evidence from an effort to improve how beginning teachers are supported in three large urban districts through development and testing of feedback systems demonstrates the promise of improvement science methods for tackling persistent challenges in teaching (Hannan, Russell, Takahashi, & Park, 2015).This Innovation Highlight describes a network-based effort -- the New Generation of Educators Initiative (NGEI), funded by the S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation -- that applies the principles and methods of improvement science (Langley, Moen, Nolan, Nolan, Norman, & Provost, 2009) to the challenge of improving how new teachers are prepared in the California State University System. The initiative emphasizes data-driven, continuous improvement by funding teacher preparation programs to routinely collect and analyze the data needed to monitor teacher candidates' progress toward competency in prioritized skills and to use the results of that analysis to (a) inform clinical support and teaching during the school year and (b) identify meaningful programmatic changes.The NGEI-funded teacher preparation programs also receive support from WestEd and SRI, which have developed a multipronged technical assistance strategy that is informed by improvement science. The technical assistance includes in-person trainings, cross-site webinars, monthly coaching calls with each site, annual convenings, and occasional site visits.The first section of this Innovation Highlight explains the theory of improvement science and how approaches that are informed by improvement science differ from other improvement efforts. The second section describes how NGEI has put this theory into practice through improvement science technical assistance for the NGEI grantees. Examples from the NGEI grantees are included throughout to illustrate how improvement science principles have been applied in the teacher preparation context.

Examining Classroom Observation Rubric Data: Issues emerging from classroom observation rubric data submitted August 2017

August 1, 2017

Observational rubrics should be designed to measure candidate progress toward prioritized skills in a valid and reliable way. Importantly, the observational rubric must accurately capture variation between the dimensions of teaching included on the rubric, among candidates, and over time. In August 2017, the Foundation asked NGEI campuses to submit observation rubric data from all or a subset of candidates enrolled in funded programs from the most recent semester from which data was available and to write a brief reflection on their rubric data. Campuses could choose to submit data from one or more points in time. The Foundation requested that WestEd/SRI analyze the data submitted by NGEI sites.The purpose of this memo is to provide an overview of the data campuses submitted, highlight patterns in the data, and identify issues that can inform changes in how campuses use their rubrics to support candidates.

Examining Teacher Preparation Program Feedback from CSU Systemwide Survey Data: Using the CTQ completer survey to support data-driven continuous improvement

April 1, 2017

While researchers generally agree that teachers are the most important school-based predictors of student academic outcomes, there is little consensus around the pre-service preparation that is necessary for systematically producing effective teachers. Given that nearly 90 percent of teachers are prepared in traditional teacher preparation programs, collecting and using data to identify high-quality approaches to preparing teachers and to highlight areas for teacher preparation program improvement may ultimately increase the likelihood that children have access to effective teachers.Recent literature and federal guidance have highlighted the importance of including surveys of both employers and recent graduates among the many measures used to assess the quality of teacher preparation programs (TPPs) and inform data-driven improvement efforts. In California, both the Center for Teacher Quality (CTQ) and the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC) administer surveys that gauge TPP completers' and supervisors' perceptions of teacher preparedness and program quality. Faculty and staff in the California State University (CSU) system can use data from these surveys not only to address any reporting requirements, but also to support data-driven program improvement efforts.The New Generation of Educators Initiative (NGEI), funded by the S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation (hereafter "the Foundation"), seeks to strengthen the current teacher preparation system in California so that new teachers enter the workforce prepared to implement Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). The Foundation has developed a theory of action to guide reform that focuses on five Key Transformation Elements (KTEs): partnership (KTE 1), prioritized skills (KTE 2), practice-based clinical preparation (KTE 3), formative feedback on prioritized skills (KTE 4), and data-driven continuous improvement (KTE 5).

How Clinical Coaches Support Candidate Development: Examining the role of clinical coaches at CSU Fullerton to improve teacher preparation

January 1, 2017

The New Generation of Educators Initiative (NGEI), funded by the S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation, seeks to strengthen the current teacher preparation system in California so that new teachers enter the workforce prepared to implement Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). The Foundation has developed a theory of action to guide reform that focuses on five Key Transformation Elements: partnership, prioritized skills, practice-based clinical preparation, formative feedback on prioritized skills, and data-driven continuous improvement.WestEd and SRI International are conducting a formative evaluation to track NGEI implementation and outcomes at the CSU campuses that received comprehensive grants in Phase 1. Based on site visits in spring 2016, we produced an Evaluation Cycle Memo on NGEI Phase I comprehensive grantees' clinical practice reforms. Drawing on that Evaluation Cycle Memo, this "NGEI Innovation Highlight" features one reform element at CSU Fullerton -- the introduction of clinical coaches -- that stood out for its high regard among informants during our spring 2016 data collection.While the development of the clinical coach role and related improvements to the performance feedback cycle are new and some specifics are being refined, in this NGEI Innovation Highlight we share information about the nature and reception of these reforms, as well as related resources for those interested in adopting similar reforms. Specifically, we describe the role of the clinical coach, how clinical coaches established relationships with candidates and cooperating teachers, and the new approaches to giving feedback to candidates afforded by this role.