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

Education and Literacy;Employment and Labor

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

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.

October 2018

Geographic Focus: North America / United States (Western) / California

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

Education and Literacy;Employment and Labor

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

August 2017

Geographic Focus: North America / United States (Western) / California

Approaches to Improving Clinical Practice: Describing how NGEI sites are reforming clinical placement experiences and candidate feedback systems

Education and Literacy;Employment and Labor

Approaches to Improving Clinical Practice: Describing how NGEI sites are reforming clinical placement experiences and candidate feedback systems

WestEd and SRI International are conducting a formative evaluation to track New Generation of Educators Initiative (NGEI) implementation and outcomes at the campuses that received comprehensive grants in Phase 1. Periodically, we produce Evaluation Cycle Reports to synthesize current work across campuses and, at the system level, highlight best practices, and provide information on how the initiative as a whole is progressing toward the Key Transformation Elements (KTEs). The first Evaluation Cycle Report, released in December 2015, summarized initial reforms of grantees (i.e., campuses and their district partners) relative to the teacher pipeline and the KTEs. The current report describes selected continuing grantees' approaches to improving clinical practice during NGEI Phase 1 (July 2015–June 2016).

November 2016

Geographic Focus: North America / United States (Western) / California

A System of Measures to Support Improvement in Teacher Preparation

Education and Literacy;Employment and Labor

A System of Measures to Support Improvement in Teacher Preparation

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.

January 2019

Geographic Focus: North America / United States (Western) / California

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

Education and Literacy;Employment and Labor

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

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).

January 2019

Geographic Focus: North America / United States (Western) / California / Butte County / Chico;North America / United States (Western) / California / Fresno County / Fresno;North America / United States (Western) / California / Kern County / Bakersfield;North America / United States (Western) / California / Sacramento County / Sacramento;North America / United States (Western) / California / San Luis Obispo County / San Luis Obispo;North America / United States (Western) / California/ Orange County / Fullerton

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

Education and Literacy;Employment and Labor;Nonprofits and Philanthropy

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

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.

January 2020

Geographic Focus: North America / United States (Western) / California

New Generation of Educators Initiative: Transforming teacher preparation.

Education and Literacy;Employment and Labor

New Generation of Educators Initiative: Transforming teacher preparation.

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.

April 2020

Geographic Focus: North America / United States (Western) / California (Central Valley) / Stanislaus;North America / United States (Western) / California / Butte County / Chico;North America / United States (Western) / California / Channel Islands;North America / United States (Western) / California / Fresno County / Fresno;North America / United States (Western) / California / Kern County / Bakersfield;North America / United States (Western) / California / Los Angeles County / Long Beach;North America / United States (Western) / California / Monterey County/ Monterey Bay;North America / United States (Western) / California / Sacramento County / Sacramento;North America / United States (Western) / California / San Luis Obispo County;North America / United States (Western) / California/ Orange County / Fullerton

Implementing Classroom Observation Rubrics: How are NGEI sites identifying and using classroom observation rubrics to prepare effective teachers?

Education and Literacy;Employment and Labor

Implementing Classroom Observation Rubrics: How are NGEI sites identifying and using classroom observation rubrics to prepare effective teachers?

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 11 NGEI grantees (i.e., TPPs and their district partners) that received comprehensive grants in Phase 2. One of the core NGEI requirements is that each partnership (campus and district) identify prioritized skills and a classroom observation rubric to measure candidate progress towards those skills. This is because high-quality rubrics can play a central role in preparing effective teachers and supporting ongoing improvement of preparation programs

As the theory of action shows, classroom observation rubrics (hereafter "rubrics") can operate at the center of individual and organizational learning.

In addition to generating valuable data, rubrics can play a more foundational role in NGEI partnerships. When campus-district partners collaboratively select or develop rubrics, the rubrics articulate a consensus view of effective teaching. Rubrics are then a powerful tool for communicating that vision of effective teaching to a range of stakeholders—professors, district administrators, university supervisors, cooperating teachers, and candidates. When used consistently they can break down gaps candidates might otherwise perceive between the theory taught in courses and the practice learned in clinical settings; they can also smooth the transition from preservice preparation into induction. The range of powerful uses for rubrics, however, adds to the complexity of selecting and using them. This Innovation Highlight is devoted to surfacing some of those complexities and then sharing some of the ways NGEI partnerships started working with rubrics during the 2016–17 school year.

January 2017

Geographic Focus: North America / United States (Western) / California

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