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During 2003-04, the Board of Regents supported a study that tested the use of a new Value-Added Teacher Preparation Program Assessment Model that has the capacity to examine the growth of achievement of children and link growth in student learning to teacher preparation programs. Dr. George Noell, a researcher in the Department of Psychology at Louisiana State University and A&M College, worked with the Board of Regents and Louisiana Department of Education to test three value-added models using achievement data for students in grades 4 through 9 from ten school districts.

 

On August 25, 2004, Dr. Noell reported to the Board of Regents that preliminary analyses indicated the possibility of using Louisiana’s student achievement databases to assess the effectiveness of teacher preparation programs in Louisiana. Dr. Noell’s preliminary findings determined that children being taught by new teachers from teacher preparation programs did not demonstrate as much growth in English/language arts as children being taught by experienced teachers. However, greater growth was demonstrated by children taught by teachers from different institutions. The preliminary analyses also identified one teacher preparation program whose new teachers taught children whose growth in learning in mathematics surpassed the growth of learning in mathematics of children taught by experienced teachers.

 

During 2004-05, the Board of Regents contracted Dr. George Noell to replicate the 2003-2004 study, determine the extent to which the results would be comparable using two years of data, examine the extent to which estimates of teacher efficacy would be reliable from one year to the next, and examine technical and practical feasibility of conducting cross-classified analyses using recently produced, commercially-available software. On August 24, 2005, Dr. Noell reported to the Board of Regents that preliminary findings had indicated that, although there were some differences, the models were strikingly similar across years and school districts in Louisiana. It was determined that students of new teachers from one institution in the state again demonstrated greater growth in mathematical achievement than students of experienced teachers. In addition, in the area of reading/language arts, students of new teachers from one particular institution demonstrated similar growth as students of experienced teachers. Based upon results of this study, the State made a decision to explore further the use of a Value-Added Teacher Preparation Program Assessment Model in Louisiana.

 

During 2005-06, the Board of Regents contracted Dr. George Noell and Louisiana State University and A&M College to conduct a more extensive study to examine the technical qualities and adequacy of the Value-Added Teacher Preparation Program Assessment Model when using data from the 66 school districts in the state and all 21 public and private universities with teacher preparation programs. The intent of the study was to seek to establish the reliability of the value-added assessment, determine the amount of data needed to obtain stable estimates, determine the validity of the value-added assessment estimates, and examine a broader array of variables.

 

On August 24, 2006, Dr. Noell reported to the Board of Regents that results indicated some of Louisiana’s teacher preparation programs were preparing new teachers whose contribution to their students’ achievement is comparable to the effectiveness of experienced teachers in mathematics, English/language arts, and/or science. At all university teacher preparation programs, there were varying results across different types of programs (undergraduate versus alternative certification) and across different content areas (e.g., mathematics versus social studies). If these findings are validated in the follow-up year, they demonstrate that universities can have both strengths and weaknesses among their own programs as well as in comparison to experienced teachers. Louisiana’s new teachers exhibited the greatest increases in teaching effectiveness during their first two years of teaching. Although growth was evident between teachers ranging out to 20 years of experience, it was more gradual and uneven. A period of little if any increase in effectiveness was evident in mathematics and English Language Arts between third to eighth year teachers. Other important findings are discussed in a technical report. The Louisiana Board of Regents also funded a research team during 2005-07 composed of researchers from five Louisiana universities to conduct quantitative and qualitative research to identify factors that impact the preparation of new teachers, the induction of new teachers, and the support of new teachers by principals. The research team assisted the Board of Regents in developing a grant for 2007-2009 that was funded by the Carnegie Corporation of New York during June 2007.

 

During 2006-07, the Board of Regents contracted Dr. George Noell and Louisiana State University and A&M College to further develop the model and to establish the reliability of the value-added assessment, determine the amount of data needed to obtain stable estimates, determine the validity of the value-added assessment estimates, and examine a broader array of variables.

 

On October 25, 2007, Dr. Noell reported to the Board of Regents that he had acquired stable results when implementing a method to assess the effectiveness of teacher preparation programs based upon the achievement of students taught by new teachers during 2004-05 and 2005-06. He reported that teacher preparation effect estimates had been calculated for three post-redesign programs that had a sufficient number of new teachers that met the criteria to be included in the study. All three post-redesign programs performed at levels comparable to new teachers, comparable to experienced teachers, or to a greater extent than experienced teachers. Effect estimates were also calculated for pre-redesign programs that stopped admitting new candidates on July 1, 2003. These programs are being phased out, and new effect estimates will be calculated for their post-redesign programs once they have a sufficient number of new teachers in the schools during 2006-07 and 2007-08. The effect estimates for the pre-design programs will be used as benchmarks to compare the pre- and post-redesign programs. Additional findings are reported in a technical report.

 

On December 3, 2008, Dr. George Noell reported to the Board of Regents that he had again attained stable results when using the model to assess the effectiveness of teacher preparation programs based upon the achievement of students taught by new teachers during 2004-05, 2005-06, and 2006-07. Seven post-redesign alternate certification teacher preparation programs met the criteria to be included in the 2007-08 study and their results were reported to the public. Results of the study indicated that varying levels of effectiveness existed within teacher preparation programs and across teacher preparation programs. Some teacher preparation programs prepared new teachers whose teaching effectiveness in specific content areas was equivalent to experienced teachers. Other programs prepared new teachers whose effectiveness was comparable to new teachers or below the effectiveness of other new teachers in specific content areas. Dr. Jeanne Burns also reported on the work that is being done by a State Qualitative Research Team composed of one researcher from each of the 22 teacher preparation programs in the state. The team has been collecting data to determine “why” some programs are more effective when preparing new teachers in specific content areas than other teacher preparation programs. Additional data will be collected during spring 2009 and results will be disseminated to the public during summer 2009. The 2007-08 work has been funded by the grant from the Carnegie Corporation of New York and matching funds from the Board of Regents.

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