Teachers show gains in preparation

More than half of new teachers trained in state-approved preparation programs showed significant gains in at least one subject on their job evaluations, officials said Monday.

The results exceeded expectations, said Jeanne Burns, associate commissioner for teacher and leadership initiatives.

In a prepared statement, Burns said the outcome is noteworthy because, under the reviews, first- and second-year teachers are compared with veterans and others statewide.

The evaluations are part of the sweeping changes in teacher preparation programs from 2001 to 2010.

In 2004, Louisiana became one of the first states in the nation to rate teacher training based on how students fared in the classroom.

The aim was to pinpoint successful programs in the state’s 19 public and private universities with education colleges.

In 2011, higher education officials announced that they would rely on the same evaluations that the state has begun for public school teachers.

Under those rules, teachers are given one of four ratings: ineffective, effective/emerging, effective/proficient and highly effective.

Burns said earlier predictions assumed most new teachers would be rated in the next to lowest category: effective/emerging.

The results showed that half or more of the novice teachers made gains that put them in the top two categories in at least one subject.

“Many believe that students will learn less if taught by new teachers and this is simply untrue,” Commissioner of Higher Education Jim Purcell said in a statement.

“This report indicates that our universities are producing better-prepared teachers who will impact gains in student achievement,” he added.

The findings are included in the 2011-12 Annual Report for Teacher Preparation, which focuses on programs delivered by public universities, private schools and private providers.