System aims to improve teachers and teacher training programs

Apr 04, 2011

A system that aims to compare, assess and improve teacher candidates and teacher training programs will be the subject of three papers presented by the University of California, Riverside's director of teacher education at a national education conference during the next week.

Anne Jones, director of teacher education at UC Riverside, and Peter Jones, the assessment and evaluation coordinator at UC Irvine's department of education, will discuss the Teacher Education Integrated Information System (TEISS) at the American Educational Research Association meeting April 8 to 12 in New Orleans.

"There is a big push for teacher accountability right now," said Anne Jones, who is also associate dean for academic programs and student affairs. "Our system creates the backbone to help ensure are prepared to enter the classroom and have the support once they get there."

Using data-driven data to improve student performance has dominated national headlines the past year.

The Obama administration has made it a centerpiece of its education reform agenda. The Los Angeles Times started a national debate when it published a database of third- through fifth-grade teachers that shows how their students' test scores changed. The former chancellor of Washington, DC schools generated buzz when she fired several hundred teachers who performed poorly according to a new system that holds teachers accountable for students' standardized test scores.

The TEIIS system, which was developed by UC Irvine in partnership with UC Riverside, is a platform for campuses to integrate and systematize common record keeping needs of teacher education programs with data collection mandated by the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing.

The potential power lies in the partnerships across campuses because the common framework can improve program quality, Peter Jones said.

"Teaching and are under unprecedented scrutiny in the court of public opinion," he said. "We need to leverage our resources to tell the collective story of our work."

UC Riverside, UC Irvine and UC Santa Cruz are using the system, Anne Jones said. Other UC campuses are interested in adopting it, she said. The system was also the subject of a January meeting before the accreditation committee of the Commission of Teacher Credentialing in California.

The system includes modules for admissions information, which help to document that the program is meeting established standards. There are modules for student and intern teaching placement records that include detailed information on public schools, mentor teachers, and university based supervisors, providing evidence that candidates are placed in appropriate settings with qualified supervision.

Finally, there are assessment and evaluation modules that provide evidence that the program standards and the Teaching Performance Expectations, which are the California professional standards that describe what pre-service teachers must know and be able to do – are met.

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