At the conclusion of the student teacher experience, each Teacher Candidate must demonstrate understanding of and proficiency in eight specific areas. The eight specific areas are considered sound and fundamental to the preparation of Teacher Candidates. Using the rubric, which defines the eight specific areas of assessment, a survey was designed to determine how relative the final assessment components were in the hiring process (Table 2).
Each participant in the research, was asked offer a maximum of five responses to the following question. When two, or more, Teacher Candidates demonstrate proficiency and understanding of the components of the final assessment rubric: What then are the deciding factors in the hiring process that separates the candidates?
This study will be offered as a review of current assessment components for student teachers to determine if proficiency or mastery of those components is considered essential in the hiring of first year Teacher Candidates. At the same time, the study will determine additional criteria that are taken into consideration by Hiring Officials when employing first year teachers.
Rationale and Limitations of this Research
The close association between the University of Nebraska at Kearney and the Network of Partner Schools was the deciding factor in selecting the participants in this study.
The UNK Teacher Candidate preparation model is based in large part on the field experiences within the UNK Network of Partner Schools. The data confirms that during the years 2007-2011, (0.563%) of all UNK Teacher Candidates did complete their student teaching assignment within the Network of Partner Schools. The data also confirms that during this same time frame, (0.357%) of the University of Nebraska at Kearney Teacher Candidates received their initial teaching placement within the Network of Partner Schools. This close association influenced the limitations and scope of this study. (Research source: Knowledge and Assistance of the Students in Education Center ,University of Nebraska at Kearney (KASE); COE Building, Room C128-1615 W 24th ST Kearney, NE 68849 Mary Losey, Director.)
A Brief History of the Network of Partner Schools
The College of Education at the University of Nebraska at Kearney, revised its field experience model for pre-certified teachers in 1999. A tripartite task force was created to identify areas in need of revision of the existing teacher education model. This tripartite consisted of equal numbers of faculty members and administrators from UNK's College of Education, the College of Fine Arts and Humanities, the College of Natural and Social Science and members of area Pre K-12 schools. The tripartite determined that the existing model, although sound in many respects, needed renewal if it was to remain effective and serve as the exemplary program.
The findings of that task force resulted in the creation of the Network of Partner Schools. This Network serves as the sites for the field based experience of all Teacher Candidates in the teacher education program at the University of Nebraska at Kearney. The Network of Partner Schools consists of forty-five area schools and is divided into twelve cohorts. This new model revision provided for a forty- five percent increase in field based experiences for all Teacher Candidates within the Department of Teacher Education. The success of the new model was reported in a 2009 study by Dr. Jane Ziebarth-Bovill and Ronald Bovill: "A Partnership in Progress" Education. (Spring 2008) Vol. 128, No 3. (441-459).
Review of Literature
(Rockoff, 2011). This research indicates that there is no foolproof method or "silver bullet" to identify who will make a great teacher. However, recent reports from school human resource officers contend that being deliberative and strategic about hiring Teacher Candidates reinforces the value placed on high quality teachers (Education World, 2011). …