Introduction to the Themed Issue Assessing Innovations in Teacher Education-Challenges in Assessing Innovation in Teacher Education

By Nevin, Ann I.; Malian, Ida M. | Teacher Education Quarterly, Summer 2005 | Go to article overview

Introduction to the Themed Issue Assessing Innovations in Teacher Education-Challenges in Assessing Innovation in Teacher Education


Nevin, Ann I., Malian, Ida M., Teacher Education Quarterly


The first purpose for this themed issue was to identify innovations in teacher education that emphasize the methods used to assess the impact of those innovations in teacher education. A second purpose was to integrate practitioner applications with research-based results. With the publication of this themed issue of Teacher Education Quarterly, we hope that readers will celebrate the rich variety of innovative teacher education practices and the methodologies to document the impact of the innovations and concomitantly be inspired to conduct more comprehensive studies. We are proud to present the summer 2005 issue of Teacher Education Quarterly. Organized in three sections (Conceptual Frameworks for Assessing Innovation, Program Level Assessments of Innovation, and Course and Professor Assessments of Innovation), the articles in this issue offer what we believe to be cutting edge examples of innovations in teacher education as well as methods to study the impact of those innovations. The authors contributing to this issue have engaged in scholarly inquiry that allows others to replicate their discoveries.

In Section I of this issue, Conceptual Frameworks for Assessing Innovation, Ida Malian and Ann Nevin describe various definitions and taxonomies of innovation and their implications for teacher education. Gene Hall and colleagues then provide a comprehensive framework for using evidence-based assessment for the purpose of improving teaching and learning in teacher education programs. The authors include a brief historical review of the changes in expectations for quality in teacher education as well as a description of the challenges in finding good measures for assessing impact on the learning of participants in teacher education programs. They advocate anchoring the assessment of innovation in the assessment of changes in the k-12 pupils who are taught by teacher education candidates.

Paul Sindelar and colleagues add the voices of special education researchers, showing how four current studies can yield insights about methods to assess innovations. They provide important insights of what has been learned to date in a study that focuses on defining the quality of beginning teachers who implement literacy instruction; a procedure to assess the range and variability of alternative routes to certification; a method to identify differences between alternatively and traditionally trained special educators; and a process to study cost effectiveness of teacher preparation options.

Section II, Program Level Assessments of Innovation, begins with Annela Teemant's description of an innovative approach to comprehensively assess a distance learning delivery process of a bilingual certification program that is contextualized within socio-cultural theory and practice. The multi-layered assessment procedures allow her to trace the impact of the teacher education program on the knowledge, skills and dispositions of the participants in partnership with local school district course facilitators. She provides enticing evidence of changes in classroom practices for teaching children learning English as a second language

Pia Wong and Ronald Glass assess a professional development school approach for preparing teachers for urban schools serving low-income, culturally and linguistically diverse communities. Their comprehensive assessment framework includes methods to track (a) changes in achievement of k-12 learners, (b) changes in the knowledge and skills of the teacher candidates as well as follow-up of graduates, and (c) changes in the university programs as well as content and procedures utilized by university faculty to prepare teacher educators.

Service-learning has been promoted in recent legislation as an important outcome for high school graduation. Similar demands have also been made for university students. Silva Karayan and Paul Gathercoal tackle the difficult challenge of developing and utilizing a college-wide system to assess the impact of service-learning not only on the teacher education candidates but also on the k-12 pupils or other clients involved in the service-learning projects.

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