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Deans for Impact seeks to improve data access for teacher prep programs

Dean Gallagher joins other deans in releasing new report, “From Chaos to Coherence”

Dean Gallagher

Dean Gallagher

Should educator preparation programs keep track of the performances of their graduates? The answer, from members of Deans for Impact, is a resounding yes.

A new report by the group says that only six of its member programs have access to student-achievement data and less than a third have access to other forms of data on the performance of their graduates as teachers.

“We simply do not have the information we need to evaluate and improve our own programs to the degree we desire,” state the deans in the new report, “From Chaos to Coherence: A Policy Agenda for Accessing and Using Outcomes Data in Educator Preparation,” released on Feb. 23.

That same morning, USC Rossier Karen Symms Gallagher joined fellow members of Deans for Impact on a panel presentation at the annual meeting of the American Association for Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE) to describe the group’s efforts and introduce the report. Joining the dean were Ellen McIntyre, dean of the School of Education at the University of North Carolina, Charlotte; Mark Girod, Dean of the College of Education, Western Oregon University; and Benjamin Riley, founder and executive director of Deans for Impact.

They explained that “From Chaos to Coherence” calls for two ways to help educator-preparation programs obtain data on their graduates and leverage policy in this goal:

  1. Improve data access through policies that provide educator-preparation programs with information on the performance of their graduates; and
  2. Develop a new outcomes-focused certification process that recognizes programs that voluntarily agree to prepare educators who are demonstrably effective.

Writing on the Deans for Impact blog, Steve Wojcikiewicz, vice president of policy for Deans for Impact, connected the group’s goals to a provision of the recently passed Every Student Succeeds Act, which stipulates options for states to pursue such policies.

“Our members are eager to work with state policymakers to ensure that educator preparation programs can access useful, timely data, of the appropriate grain size, for use in both program improvement and accountability,” writes Wojcikiewicz. “Specifically, that means information on where graduates find jobs, how many stay in teaching, how well their students perform, what kind of professional evaluations they get from their superiors and feedback from the graduates themselves.”

Founded in 2015, Deans for Impact is a national nonprofit organization representing 22 leaders in educator preparation who are committed to transforming educator preparation and elevating the teaching profession. The organization is guided by four key principles: data informed; outcomes focused; empirically tested; and transparent and accountable.

In September, the group published The Science of Learning, a comprehensive synthesis of the scientific principles that inform how students learn. The landmark document is one of the most inclusive summaries of the fundamentals of learning compiled to date.