TFA recruits produce higher scores

Teach for America recruits are the most effective teachers in Tennessee, except for math teachers from Vanderbilt University, concludes a report card by the Tennessee Higher Education Commission.

By contrast, reading scores were low for students taught by teachers trained at the University of Memphis, University of Tennessee-Chattanooga, UT-Martin and several smaller colleges, reports the Memphis Commercial Appeal.

Teach for America, which recruits high-performing college graduates to the classroom from all disciplines, racked up the highest student scores among new teachers in reading, science and social studies.

Even compared to students of veteran teachers, students of TFA teachers had the highest test scores in reading. Vanderbilt teachers’ students took top honors in math.

The report card analyzes student test score data for public school teachers who have been on the job up to three years.

The Tennessee Board of Regents now requires education majors to complete one year as a student teacher, instead of a partial semester, and to pass an evaluation based on tapes of their teaching.

University of Memphis, one of the eight teacher training programs that rated low in effectiveness, may raise admissions standards for prospective teachers, a spokesman said. But that will be balanced with its “public mission.”  I think that means producing black teachers.

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  1. What a joke of a “study”. According to their charts, the TFAs were compared to “less than 5 teachers” from traditional programs. In addition, none of the teachers they compared them to were on the job longer than 3 years.

  2. Mike, I think you’re misreading the study. It says there were zero Teach for America teachers who were traditionally licensed. The value-added scores of novice TFA teachers were compared to all novice teachers and to all veteran teachers in the same subject areas. The purpose of the study was to identify high-performing and low-performing teacher preparation programs.