It Is Complicated: Unpacking the Flow of Teacher Education’s Impact on Student Learning

Nov. 01, 2010

Source: Journal of Teacher Education, 61(5), p. 441-450. November/December 2010.
(Reviewed by the Portal Team)

In this paper, the author argues that it is useful to look at three sets of relationships involved in gauging the impact of teacher education programs on P–12 student learning.
These relationships need to be examined and unpacked to both know that the program affected student learning and also shed light on how the program affected that learning.

The three sets of relationships are
the impact of the teacher education program on the candidate’s knowledge, skills, and dispositions that constitute the intended outcomes of that program;
the impact of the teacher’s knowledge, skills, and dispositions on her or his practice in the classroom;
and the impact of the teacher’s practice on P–12 student learning.

Cross-Cutting Themes
The author also addresses three that affect the efficacy of reform efforts.
The first issue addresses the purposes in looking at the enterprise of linking teacher education and P–12 student learning and raises questions about how purpose can shape practice.

The second issue explores the critical issue of assessment literacy, for both teacher education and P–12 education, raising questions about the quality of data gathering and use.

The third issue returns to the issue of learning, raising questions about the role of teaching in both teacher education and K–12 settings.


The author concludes that teacher educators need to recognize the complexity of the relationships among their program outcomes, the situations in which new teachers begin practice, and the measures used to assess student learning.
In addition, teacher educators need to use the power of both good assessment and good teaching to make a difference for learners— both teacher education candidates and P–12 students.
Finally, teacher educators need to improve their practice by working effectively with other stakeholders in the communities of policy and practice.

Updated: Mar. 26, 2012