10 SES 08 C, Quality, Assessment and Teacher Training
The dominant global meta-narrative in contemporary times proclaims that ‘teachers matter’ (OECD, 2005) and McKinsey has popularized the idea that ‘the quality of an education system cannot exceed the quality of its teachers’ (Barber and Mourshed, 2007). In response, governments are seeking to invest strategically in initial teacher education (ITE) and raise its effectiveness in preparing high quality teachers. Still, while there seems to be an international interest in improving ITE, there is less certainty about what constitutes ‘quality’ teacher preparation and how best to measure it. Despite the need to increase the supply and quality of teacher, there is a lack of rigorous research into the impact of ITE programmes on teacher quality (Wiseman, 2012; Fuller, 2014; BERA-RSA, 2014). There are also challenges to ensuring that measurements of quality are appropriate to the aims of teacher education in the first place; that such frameworks measure what is deemed important in particular contexts, thus gaining traction as dependable means of identifying quality, rather than being rejected by local stakeholders as inappropriate or irrelevant.
Against this background, the Measuring Quality in Initial Teacher Education (MQuITE) project, funded by Scottish Government and supported by the General Teaching Council for Scotland, is developing and implement a context-appropriate approach to measuring quality in initial teacher education (ITE) in Scotland. The first stage of the MQuiTE project was to conduct a literature review to provide the research team with a starting point in developing their own context-appropriate framework of measuring ITE quality. This literature review explored (1) which components of ITE quality are measured, (2) what these measurements can (and cannot) capture, and (3) what the implications of this knowledge are for the development of a context-appropriate framework. Of particular note in the literature review was an analysis by Feuer et al. (2013) which outlines six areas related to ITE quality, and the evidence most commonly used to measure them. These six areas are described as:
- admissions and recruitment criteria;
- quality and substance of instruction;
- quality of student teaching experience;
- faculty qualifications;
- effectiveness in preparing new teachers who are employable and stay in the field; and
- success in preparing high-quality teachers.
These areas, and the evidence used to measure them, represent both inputs and outcomes of ITE programmes, as well as attempts to capture the design, content, and process of learning how to teach through ITE. The MQuITE team took these categorisations as the basis for the development of their own framework which is presented in this paper (the process of which is described in the section below). This paper outlines the development of the MQuITE framework against Feuer et al’s original categorisation: it provides an overview of the literature which influenced the design, the process of re-contextualisation, and the development of associated data collection tools. Importantly, the paper raises questions about the applicability of this process across different national contexts and explores the situatedness of the concept of ‘quality’ in both temporal and geographical space.
The majority of contemporary literature on measuring the quality of teacher education programmes either correlates individual teacher data to student attainment data, mapping this back to the teacher’s teacher education programme (Kirabo Jackson et al., 2014), or reviews programme documentation, teachers’ educational background and absence figures (Jacob & Welsh, 2011). While such methods may be possible in the Scottish context, they do not align with the cultural and political context of teacher education in contemporary Scotland, nor do they provide the richness and depth necessary to understand nuances of context. The MQuITE project therefore adopts an interpretivist stance in order to yield findings that the Scottish academic, professional and policy communities will find useful and persuasive, and that will provide a model for other countries facing similar challenges. We have adopted a collaborative and inclusive approach to allow us to explore and understand contextual factors influencing each of the programmes involved; capacity is being built through shared conceptualisation. The development of the MQuITE framework has been based on the associated literature review (Rauschenberger et al., 2017) which considered studies that focused on either (1) ITE programmes, their component dimensions and effectiveness in preparing teachers as measured in various contexts, and/or (2) teacher effectiveness as related to ITE and related routes into teaching. Since the meaning of terms relating to quality in the education sector shift noticeably in different contexts, close attention was paid, in the review of literature, to the cultural and political environment and historical trajectories in which studies of teacher education programmes were situated, and how quality indicators developed in relation to their local contexts. Only sources published on or after 2005 were considered. The geographical scope of the literature is global; however, the review only examined studies and documents published in English. The MQuITE framework used Feuer et al’s (2013) six categories as a starting point. These categories were then considered in relation to gaps identified in the wider MQuITE literature review, together with a review of particular features of the Scottish ITE context. Terminology was then re-contextualised to fit with the language of the Scottish context. This resulted in the identification of eight key components deemed to represent the essential anatomy of ITE as currently understood in the Scottish context. From these eight components, a series of nine data collection tools were identified, and data collection points agreed over the life of the project.
The MQuITE framework was used to inform the development of a set of nine different data collection tools, which together we hope will produce rigorous data for each of the eight components identified, over the five remaining years of the project. The project team, comprising representatives of all nine universities in Scotland offering initial teacher education, have committed to developing, testing and refining this national framework, the process of which we hope will build capacity across the system, whilst simultaneously providing national-level data about the quality of ITE in Scotland. This process of developing a contextually-appropriate framework for the identification of quality is one which we know is of relevance to other countries within and beyond Europe, where similar concerns are experienced over measurement and accountability. The paper will conclude by presenting an initial assessment of the MQuITE framework in terms of its applicability in other national contexts and its appeal to other stakeholders beyond universities providing ITE.
Barber, M. & Mourshed, M. (2007). How the world’s best-performing school systems come out on top. London: McKinsey & Company. BERA-RSA (2014). Research and the teaching profession: Building the capacity of a self-improving education system. BERA: London. Feuer, M. J. et al. (2013) Evaluation of Teacher Preparation Programs: Purposes, Methods, and Policy Options. Washington, D.C.: National Academy of Education. Available at: https://eric.ed.gov/?id=ED565694. Fuller, E.J. (2014). Shaky method, shaky motives: A critique of the National Council on Teacher Quality’s review of teacher preparation. Journal of Teacher Education, 65(1), 63-77. Jacob, B.A. & Welsh, E. (2011). What’s in a rating? Economics of Education Review, 30, 434-448. Kirabo Jackson, C., Rockoff, J.E. & Staiger, D.O. (2014). Teacher effects and teacher-related policies. Annual Review of Economics, 6, 801-825. Rauschenberger, E., Adams, P. & Kennedy, A. (2017). Measuring Quality in ITE: A literature review for Scotland’s MQuITE study. Edinburgh: Scottish Council of Deans of Education. http://www.scde.ac.uk/projects/measuring-quality-in-initial-teacher-education-mquite/ Wiseman, D. (2012). The intersection of policy, reform and teacher education. Journal of Teacher Education. 63(2), 87-91.
00. Central Events (Keynotes, EERA-Panel, EERJ Round Table, Invited Sessions)
Network 1. Continuing Professional Development: Learning for Individuals, Leaders, and Organisations
Network 2. Vocational Education and Training (VETNET)
Network 3. Curriculum Innovation
Network 4. Inclusive Education
Network 5. Children and Youth at Risk and Urban Education
Network 6. Open Learning: Media, Environments and Cultures
Network 7. Social Justice and Intercultural Education
Network 8. Research on Health Education
Network 9. Assessment, Evaluation, Testing and Measurement
Network 10. Teacher Education Research
Network 11. Educational Effectiveness and Quality Assurance
Network 12. LISnet - Library and Information Science Network
Network 13. Philosophy of Education
Network 14. Communities, Families and Schooling in Educational Research
Network 15. Research Partnerships in Education
Network 16. ICT in Education and Training
Network 17. Histories of Education
Network 18. Research in Sport Pedagogy
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Network 20. Research in Innovative Intercultural Learning Environments
Network 22. Research in Higher Education
Network 23. Policy Studies and Politics of Education
Network 24. Mathematics Education Research
Network 25. Research on Children's Rights in Education
Network 26. Educational Leadership
Network 27. Didactics – Learning and Teaching
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