The National Research Council (NRC) was asked by the U.S. Department of Education Institute of Education Sciences to conduct this consensus report in response to a mandate from Congress to assemble all available information on key questions related to teacher preparation to guide future policy decisions. NRC established the Committee on the Study of Teacher Preparation Programs in the United States to answer the following questions: 1. Who enters teacher preparation programs (preservice, graduate, and alternative)? What is their academic preparation? What is their educational background? 2. What type of instruction and experiences do participants receive in the preparation program? Who delivers it? To what extent is there commonality in content and experiences? 3. To what extent is the required coursework and experiences in reading, mathematics, and science across teacher preparation programs consistent with converging scientific evidence? 4. What model for data collection would provide valid and reliable information about the content knowledge, pedagogical competence, and effectiveness of graduates from the various kinds of teacher preparation programs?
The study had two objectives: (1) to pull together a disparate and uneven research base, so that policy makers can see clearly what is and is not known and (2) to propose a research agenda to fill the gaps in that knowledge base. The focus of this study was to examine the initial preparation for reading, mathematics, and science teachers. The Committee found that since the research on teacher preparation programs and pathways to teaching is scant, there are many questions that remain unanswered. Additionally, since states set policy regarding standards for teachers and teacher certification, there remains broad variety and inconsistencies that complicate conducting comparative analyses. One finding was that many of the remaining unanswered questions were due to a lack of a comprehensive data collection system. Finally, the Committee concluded that in order for policy makers and teacher educators to have a stronger empirical basis for decisions about teacher preparation, a much clearer and more detailed picture is needed of teacher candidates and how teacher preparation is delivered, as well as a means of tracking changes over time.
National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine
National Research Council. 2010. Preparing Teachers: Building Evidence for Sound Policy. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. https://doi.org/10.17226/12882.