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Meeting of the Board of Regents | May 2007

Tuesday, May 1, 2007 - 11:00pm

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Johanna Duncan-Poitier




Update on  the Ongoing  Evaluation of the Regents Teaching Policy: The Impact of Teacher Preparation on Student Outcomes


May 1, 2007


Goals 1, 2, and 3






Issue for Discussion


What are the characteristics of teachers and the attributes of their preparation that impact student outcomes?


Reason(s) for Consideration


When the Regents enacted their 1998 Teaching Policy “Teaching to Higher Standards: New York’s Commitment,” they set into place an ongoing evaluation of this policy and based upon the evaluation, have made adjustments in this policy as warranted. A critical component of the Regents teaching policy was the commitment of Regents leadership to work with colleges and universities across the four sectors of higher education to strengthen teacher education programs so that they are aligned to the State’s learning standards. In addition, all teacher education programs in New York State are now required to achieve accreditation through NCATE, TEAC, or the Board of Regents (RATE).


In January 2006, Professor James Wyckoff of the University of Albany’s Rockefeller Institute and other researchers from the Teacher Policy Research (TPR) group presented to the Committee their initial findings from an ongoing study about how teachers prepared through various pathways affect student achievement. At the May meeting, Professor Wyckoff and Professor Hamp Lankford will present the Board with their findings in the next phase of their research.



Proposed Handling


This item will come before the Higher Education and Professional Practice Committee for discussion at its May 2007 meeting.


Background Information


The Teacher Policy Research group's

Teacher Pathways Project

is a multi-year study of teachers and teacher preparation programs to examine characteristics of teacher education and pathways into teaching and to identify attributes that impact student outcomes in New York City schools.


The analysis presented to the Committee in January 2006 focused on nontraditional teacher preparation pathways.  TPR's research found:


  • By reducing barriers to enter teaching, such as the ability to work full-time during the preparation program, more teachers with strong academic qualifications were attracted to the profession;


  • Teachers entering through nontraditional pathways appeared to be more effective in math than in ELA and more effective in middle school grades than in the upper elementary levels; and


  • Teachers prepared through nontraditional programs were not, on the whole, doing better than college recommended teachers.  Few of the differences found across the pathways, however, were statistically significant, and differences appeared to be small.


At the May meeting of the Committee, Professors Wyckoff and Lankford return to provide you with information on how the allocation of teachers has changed following the elimination of temporary licenses and what this has meant for student achievement.  They will also address how differences in teachers' preparation affect that achievement.




Results from the continuing study will inform Regents teaching policy.


Timetable for Implementation


Not applicable.




Information in Support of the Item


              Researchers Don Boyd, Pam Grossman, Hamp Lankford, Susanna Loeb, and Jim Wyckoff continue their study of the effects of various pathways into teaching in New York City.  This effort has been supported by the State Education Department, The City University of New York, and others.  Data for the study has been provided by the New York City Department of Education and the New York State Education Department.


2006 Presentation


              In January 2006, Jim Wyckoff presented information about the study, including the study design, initial research questions, and the pathways included. 


              The research team identified their initial research question: How do the achievement gains of students differ by the teaching pathway of their teachers?  In addition, they are studying the related question, “How do achievement gains differ by teacher pathway, after accounting for differences across pathways in attrition rates?”


              The pathways being studied include the following:


  • College recommended
  • Individual evaluation
  • Teaching Fellows
  • Teach for America
  • Temporary license
  • Other (reciprocity, non-Teaching Fellow alternative programs, provisional)


2007 Presentation


              At the May meeting, Jim Wyckoff and Hamp Lankford will provide an update on their study.  The researchers have found that the characteristics of teachers and the nature of their preparation have important effects on student achievement.  Data from New York City for individual students and their achievement scores in math and English language arts have been linked to the teachers they have had.  From this data, the researchers have examined two aspects of the role of teachers in affecting student performance.


              First, they examined how the allocation of teachers has changed following the elimination of temporary licenses and the influence this has had on student achievement.  Findings indicate that the gap in teacher qualifications between rich and poor schools in New York City has narrowed substantially.  This, in turn, has improved student achievement in New York City’s poorest schools.


              Second, they explored how differences in teacher preparation affect student achievement.  Findings indicate that teachers who receive greater emphasis on the practice of teaching have students who have higher achievement.  For example, teachers who spend more time working on assignments based on practice have students whose math achievement is higher.