Which colleges produce the best teachers? Tenn. knows

There’s a new report out in Tennessee that shows which of that state’s colleges and other teacher-preparation programs turn out the best teachers.

Using value-added measures (how students perform on tests before and after a year with that teacher), the state identified Lipscomb University and two Teach for America programs as the best. All three produced teachers better than the average veteran teacher.

Fourteen programs produced teachers who perform worse than the average veteran. And graduates at nine colleges do worse than the average beginning teacher.

It’s a big report, but you can download the pdf here.

This type of analysis is not yet possible in South Dakota, because we don’t have a statewide longitudinal data system that automatically links student scores to individual teachers.

“For us to really lead and make changes in education and not just react, it’s very important,” Tami Darnall told me in June.

Darnall is the state’s finance and management director for SDDOE and has been leading the state’s data system efforts. She said in June that the data system should be ready in a couple years.

Meanwhile, the University of South Dakota is working with the Bush Foundation on a separate data system for its teaching program. I’m sure USD Education Dean Rick Melmer is eager to see how his graduates stack up to the rest of the state’s colleges.

Courtesy of the Data Quality Campaign, here are some questions that can be answered with a longitudinal data system:

-Which teachers consistently get the most individual student growth in their classrooms?

- What percentage of students require remedial courses in college?

- Which education colleges produce the most effective teachers, as measured by student performance?

- In which classes, grades and schools does class size matter?

- How does student performance in traditional courses compare to those enrolled in online courses?