Ed schools matter to what the students of the students of the ed schools learn.
That’s the lesson of a paper by Donald J. Boyd, Pamela L. Grossman, Hamilton Lankford, Susanna Loeb and James Wyckoff that sorted New York City value-added student scores according to the teacher preparation program–31 different programs–that their teachers had attended. Two findings are worth highlighting.
- Some schools produce much better teachers than do other schools. In both math and English language arts, the difference between students trained at the program producing the best teachers and students trained at an average program was as large as the average achievement difference between students on free and reduced lunch and students from wealthier families. Quite large!
- There are large measureable differences in what kind of teacher training led to better outcomes for the students of novice teachers.
- The more hours spent practice teaching, the better for math teachers.
- Language arts teachers also benefitted from practice teaching, but only when the ed schools played a role in selecting their supervisors.
- Subject area coursework was not consistently found to improve outcomes. The results here varied quite a bit among areas.
- Preparation linked to NYC curriculum clearly helped first year math teachers.