Cochran-Smith & Zeichner Report of the AERA Panel on Research and Teacher Education Executive Summary

Cochran-Smith, M., & Zeichner, K. (2005).  Executive Summary:  The report of the AERA Panel On Research and Teacher Education.  In M. Cochran-Smith, % K. Zeichner (Eds.), Studying teacher education:  The report of the AERA Panel On Research and Teacher Education (pp. 1-36).  Mahwah, NJ:  Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.


The Charge to the Panel

  • Outline a research agenda for teacher education
  • Identify and define some common terminology to be used consistently in future research
  • Call for large-scale studies, meta analyses of smaller studies, and collaborative efforts across universities to tackle large-scale studies.


Working Assumptions About Research, Practice, and Policy

  • Identifying the impact of teacher education programs on students’ learning is difficult to achieve in research.


What is the Weight of the Evidence About Teacher Preparation?

  • The field of research in teacher education is young.
  • Small-scale studies designed to improve local practice abound. Longitudinal and large-scale studies are not as abundant. This absence is primarily due to lack of funding for research in teacher education.


Topic 1: Teacher Characteristics: Research on the Demographic Profile

  • Background

    • Goal was to compile a list of characteristics of teachers entering the field.
  • Guiding Questions
  • “Who is going into teaching, how are teachers being prepared, what entry routes did they take, and what career paths do they follow (p. 5)?”
  • Who Are They?

    • They are predominantly female, white, and speak one language (monolingual).
    • They tend two have parents who are college-educated. Most have graduated high school as well.
    • The average age is the early 40s, which shows that the teaching force is aging, graduates are older, and graduate and alternative programs have expanded.
  • Where Are They Prepared?
  • Most are prepared at BS or BA institutions. However, for teachers of color, the preparation varies greatly. Students of color have a tendency to seek graduate or alternative programs.
  • Most teach in districts in need, which are typically difficult to staff, are low-performing in nature, and are located either in rural or urban settings. Alternatively certified teachers tend to teach in urban settings. Those that teach in suburbia tend to have master’s degrees.
  • Most do not teach two years in a row in the same setting. The teacher turnover each year is around 30%.
  • Attrition happens at both ends of the age spectrum with the young and the old most likely to leave.
  • There are no conclusive results regarding the attrition rates with traditionally prepared teachers and alternatively certified teachers.
  • Where Do They Teach?
  • How Long Do They Stay?
  • Impact of Demographic Variables
  • We don’t know much about race and ethnicity and its relationship to student learning.
  • It is difficult to have a grasp on the upcoming teaching force because there is no national picture of future teachers.
  • Changing racial definitions stall research efforts.
  • Databases at the state and local level need to be connected in an effort to form a more accurate picture of the teaching workforce.
  • Little is known about the impact of teacher’s characteristics on student learning.
  • A comprehensive and longitudinal database.
  • A common language and common, accepted definitions will aid in this process of creating a comprehensive, national database.
  • Coupling qualitative research with large-scale correlational studies will help to paint a more accurate and intimate picture of the complex nature of teaching.
  • What We Have Learned About the Topic
  • What We Have Learned About the Research?
  • The Research We Need


Topic 2: Teacher Characteristics: Research on the Indicators of Quality

  • Background

    • The attempt of this research was to determine the connection between demographic profile and indicators of teacher quality.
  • Guiding Questions
  • “What are the relationships between teacher quality and the demographic profile, including teacher preparation, entry routes, and career paths (p. 8)?”
  • Academic Ability and Achievement

    • Candidates have lower standardized test scores but higher academic achievement than other college students. There is speculation that these differences are a result of the gender imbalance because the teaching workforce is predominantly female.
    • Elementary candidates have lower SAT/ACT scores than other college students, but secondary candidates have comparable scores to other college students.
    • “Those in the top SAT/ACT quartile are actually less likely to take jobs as teachers, and once teaching, are less likely to stay (p. 8).” (I wonder why…draw from personal experience here.)
  • Teacher Education Programs
  • There is an increase in graduates from alternative programs. Those individuals tend to have degrees in content areas rather than in education but they have a tendency to teach a subject that was not their undergraduate degree.
  • Teacher tests have restricted the diversity of the teaching force because it privileges white students.
  • Most are considered certified but their status is not completely certified because of an inconsistent definition of certification.
  • No direct correlation has been made at this time.
  • Raising the requirements for certification by requiring higher GPA and standardized test score results disadvantages for minority students.
  • Teacher Test Scores
  • Certification Status
  • Impact of Academic Ability and Achievement
  • It is inconclusive because it lacks a comprehensive database on which comparisons can be made both within the field of education and with other professional fields.
  • A comprehensive database is needed.
  • Quality profiles of teachers are needed.
  • We need to establish research that shows the impact on student learning that is measured through means other than achievement on standardized test scores.
  • What We Have Learned About This Topic
  • What We Have Learned About the Research
  • The Research We Need


Topic 3: Research on the Effects of Coursework in the Arts and Sciences and in the Foundations of Education

  • Background
  • Guiding Questions

    • “What are the outcomes of teachers’ subject matter preparation; general arts and sciences preparation; and preparation in the foundations of education for teachers’ learning, knowledge, and professional practice; and for pupils’ learning (p. 11).”
  • What We Have Learned About the Topic
  • The Impact of Subject-Specific Study

    • Subject-specific research is limited except in the area of mathematics.
  • The Impact of General Arts and Sciences Coursework
  • The research in this area is limited and practically non-existent.
  • Impact of Education Foundations Courses