Are They Learning? Measuring Preservice of Teachers' Skills at Detecting Effective Teaching Interactions

Wiens, Peter D., Curry School of Education, University of Virginia
Mintz, Susan, Curry School of Education, University of Virginia

Teachers are important for the success of students in schools. Research indicates that teachers are the most important in-school factor in determining student achievement. Traditional teacher education programs prepare the majority of new teachers for service in the K-12 school system. While there is empirical support that teacher education can make a difference in individuals’ teaching effectiveness it is not clear what the best way to train teachers might be. There are many similarities among teacher education programs, yet each program can adopt varied approaches and program designs. The implementation of standardized measures that can parse out the effects of teacher education programs on preservice teacher learning could be used to compare the effectiveness of different teacher education models and begin to build knowledge of the effects of those models.

This study examined the efforts of one teacher education program to assess preservice teachers’ ability to detect effective teaching interactions in short video clips of preschool language arts classes. The Video Assessment of Interactions and Learning (VAIL) was implemented at three different points in a five-year bachelors plus master’s degree program and twice in a two-year postgraduate master’s degree teacher education program. The VAIL is a standardized measure based on the Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS), a standardized observation measure which assesses the quality of teacher-student interactions.

Analysis of three years of data collected at a teacher education program included descriptive analysis, regression analyses, and analysis of variance. Findings indicate that it is possible to measure preservice teachers’ ability to detect effective interactions in video recordings and that scores on the VAIL change over time. However, this ability is not predicted by limited individual and programmatic characteristics. Analyses also indicate that the ability to detect effective teaching interactions is associated with observed teaching performance. Taken together these findings provide preliminary support for the VAIL as a standardized measure of teacher education.

PHD (Doctor of Philosophy)
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