Academic journal article Journal of Teacher Education

Do Professional Development Schools (PDSs) Make a Difference? A Comparative Study of PDS and Non-PDS Teacher Candidates

Academic journal article Journal of Teacher Education

Do Professional Development Schools (PDSs) Make a Difference? A Comparative Study of PDS and Non-PDS Teacher Candidates

Article excerpt

The purpose of this study is to assess the impact of professional development schools (PDSs) on preservice teachers by comparing PDS and nonPDS teacher candidates at the time of licensure on planning, instruction, management, assessment, professionalism, and reflection.

School-university partnerships have been forwarded as an avenue for improving teaching, learning, and teacher preparation for almost 20 years (Holmes Group, 1986; Levine, 1992). PDSs are clinical field sites in which the school and university partners focus together on improving teacher education and the professional development of practicing teachers as well as increasing student achievement and conducting research. PDS programs are intensive for teacher candidates in terms of time and energy and are expensive for universities in terms of faculty load. Those involved in PDSs attest to their value; yet because of their complexity, connections between PDS activities and their impact on teaching have been hard to make (Abdal-Haqq, 1998; Book, 1996; Teitel, 1998). A report by the Education Commission of the States (2003) found no conclusive evidence supporting PDS programs but did suggest the importance of strong, well-supervised field experiences that are integrated with course work and lead to a solid grasp of subject matter and pedagogy. Given the current policy environment in which the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 has defined teacher quality as subject area knowledge and in which teacher shortages have led to fast-track teacher licensure programs, and given the resource-intensive nature of PDS work, PDS programs must show value-added evidence of their impact on the teachers they prepare.

A solid grasp of content and pedagogy is defined in many teacher education programs by the Interstate New Teacher Assessment and Support Consortium (INTASC) standards: research-based descriptions of the knowledge, skills, and dispositions that need to be developed in preservice teachers. They define the criteria for teacher licensure. Thus, to be licensed, a teacher candidate must demonstrate knowledge of content and ability to use the methods established by the discipline; knowledge of how children differ and the ability to address the needs of each child; knowledge of development and the ability to provide developmentally appropriate experiences; the ability to use a variety of instructional strategies appropriately and effectively; the ability to create a positive learning environment and manage behavior; the ability to communicate effectively in a variety of ways, including technology; the ability to plan appropriate and effective lessons; the ability to assess student learning and use the results to design instruction; the ability to reflect on one's teaching to improve teaching practice; and the ability to communicate effectively with parents, school officials, and community personnel to meet students' needs. The current study does not seek to provide a literature review on each of these areas of teaching but instead, to use the standards as a framework for investigating preservice teachers' ability to teach.

PDS and non-PDS programs both produce licensable teachers according to these standards. However, when one of our partner school districts began to pay 1st-year PDS graduates as 2nd-year teachers because they had more experience (essentially a year's worth of mentored experience) and taught more like experienced teachers, we began to wonder if "more experience" really did differentiate PDS and non-PDS graduates and if so, how. Rivlin, Hanushek, and Kain (2002) found that experienced teachers produce greater student learning gains than inexperienced teachers. Therefore, it is possible that PDS graduates might affect student learning sooner (that is, perhaps in their 1st year of teaching) or to a greater extent than non-PDS graduates. If that were indeed the case, this would provide evidence of the value-added impact of PDS teacher preparation. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.