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Using State Education Agency Data to Support a Study of Clinical Practice in Teacher Preparation

Tue, April 12, 8:15 to 9:45am, Convention Center, Floor: Level One, Room 101


Background and Objectives
Recent emphasis on teacher effectiveness has caused policymakers and others to take a closer look at the quality of teacher preparation. Recent research has identified the need to better understand the effects of teacher preparation; however, good information about program implementation is scarce. Clinical preparation (including student teaching and other field experience) has been identified as important, but it has also been singled out as an aspect that varies substantially.
This poster will describe a study of clinical practice in Missouri traditional teacher preparation programs. The study purposes will be reviewed, along with the survey, study design, and analysis plan. Next, the presentation will describe how SEA data were used to support sample identification, data collection, nonresponse bias analysis, and data disaggregation. Challenges and lessons learned related to the use of SEA data for research will also be discussed.

Theoretical Framework
REL Central developed a common framework, based on research findings and professional standards related to clinical practice, with the following eight topic areas: (1) clinical placement characteristics, (2) clinical placement curriculum, (3) clinical placement timing, (4) cooperating teacher characteristics, (5) supervisor characteristics, (6) collaboration between institutions of higher education and P–12 schools, (7) candidate evaluation and feedback, and (8) evaluation. Standards included those of the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education, the Association of Teacher Educators, the Council for Accreditation of Educator Preparation, and the National Council for Teacher Quality.

Data Sources and Methods
Survey data were solicited from 3,300 first-year teachers in Missouri via online survey, with U.S. Postal Service mail and phone follow-up. REL Central worked with the Missouri SEA to use data from its statewide longitudinal data system to identify teachers in the sampling frame. SEA data were also used to identify characteristics of teachers, such as the names of institutions where they were trained, their gender and race/ethnicity, and their certification subject areas. These data will be used to assess nonresponse bias and to disaggregate survey findings.

REL Central’s partnership with the SEA facilitated a large-scale and complicated survey research project. Close communication and clearly defined data elements and analysis plans contributed to project success. The opportunity to share information facilitated the SEA’s ongoing survey data collection and was mutually beneficial. The use of an obfuscated, unique teacher identifier facilitated communication about the data.

Scholarly Significance
Statewide longitudinal data systems have undergone substantial development in recent years, yet their capacity remains largely untapped in many states. This presentation offers an example of a partnership between an SEA and a REL to use these data. The study is the first of its type, designed to systematically collect information from the perspective of recent graduates about the extent to which their preparation experiences adhere to professional standards and research-based practice. The study also has practical significance as it can inform conversations about policy, practice, and future research.


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