Evaluating Teacher Quality: TEA Principal Survey

Our two previous blog posts related to educator preparation reviewed data pertaining to the number of certified teachers in public schools in Texas, as well as the productivity of Educator Preparation Programs (EPP). This blog post turns our analytical lens to reviewing one measure of teacher quality in the form of the Texas Education Agency’s (TEA) Principal Survey of First-Year Teachers

TEA's Principal Survey of First-Year Teachers

Data from the 2021 survey administration provided by TEA reports first-year teacher ratings by a number of variables: gender, race/ethnicity, EPP type, and certification level. In the visualizations below, we explore average ratings of items within survey sections while disaggregating the results by race/ethnicity and EPP type. As a reminder, Traditional EPPs include all pathways to certification (traditional, alternative, and post-baccalaureate) that are offered by a college or university in Texas, while Alternative EPPs are “nontraditional routes to certification” that are not affiliated with a college or university that allow individuals with a bachelor’s degree to serve as teachers-of-record while completing teacher certification requirements in Texas.

Survey Results (Overall)

  • Regardless of survey section, first-year teachers trained by Traditional EPPs at universities out-perform their colleagues who were trained by Alternative EPPs
  • Overall, teachers from Traditional EPPs had an average rating of 2.45 (0-3 point scale) versus teachers from Alternative EPPs who had an average of 2.27.

Survey Results by Ethnicity, Section, and EPP Type

  • When we disaggregate the data by race/ethnicity, we see that gaps between Traditional EPPs and Alternative EPPs are even greater for teachers who are Persons of Color.
  • Using the drop-down menu at the right, we can change the data visualization to isolate specific race/ethnicity groups.
  • For first-year teachers who are Black or African American, the largest gap between Traditional and Alternative EPPs is in the Overall Evaluation, as teachers from university-based EPPs are rated 0.19 points higher (2.33 vs 2.14) than those from Alternative EPPs on the 4-point scale.
  • Hispanic or Latino first-year teachers have the largest gap between EPP groups in Overall Evaluation as well, as Traditional EPP-trained teachers had an average rating of 2.46 versus 2.32 for Alternative EPPs.

Teacher Effectiveness and Student Achievement

  • For the final survey item that uses the 10-point scale, first-year teachers from Traditional EPPs are also rated higher than those from Alternative EPPs across all race/ethnicity categories.
  • First-year teachers who are Hispanic or Latino from Traditional EPPs are the highest-rated group with an average of 7.59 out of 10 points. This is 0.12 points higher than White teachers from Traditional EPPs, and 0.33 points higher than Hispanic or Latino first-year teachers from Alternative EPPs.
  • First-year teachers who are Black or African American from Traditional EPPs are rated almost a half-point higher (7.30 vs 6.84) than Black or African American teachers from Alternative EPPs.
  • The second-highest rated race/ethnicity category is “Other” at an average rating of 7.56 for Traditional EPP-trained teachers, as Other is catch-all category used by TEA for anyone not in one of the three primary race/ethnicity groups.
Technical Notes:
The TEA’s Principal Survey is a legislatively-mandated instrument intended to evaluate the quality of EPPs that is completed each spring for those first-year certified teachers who have taught at the specific school for a minimum of 5 months during that academic year. The campus leader rates each first-year teacher across 53 items that are grouped into six sections: Planning, Instruction, Learning Environment, Professional Practices & Responsibilities, Students with Disabilities, and Emergent Bilingual Students. Principals rate teachers in these sections and an “Overall Evaluation” question using a 4-point scale that includes “Not At All Prepared (0)”, “Not Sufficiently Prepared (1)”, “Sufficiently Prepared (2)”, or “Well Prepared (3)”. Principals also assign a rating of “teacher’s influence on student achievement” using a 10-point scale that spans from “1 – The teacher is unacceptable” to “10 – The teacher is exceptional, in the top 2% of teachers I’ve supervised.”

So What?

Based on the analysis of Principal Survey data, first-year teachers who earned their teaching certification through Traditional EPPs not only out-performed first-year teachers from Alternative EPPs on each survey item in general, but also when comparing results within race/ethnicity groups. This means that the average rating for Traditional EPP-trained teachers is higher than the average rating of Alternative EPPs across each of the 200 possible item-level comparisons in the survey data. These data that serve as the primary mechanism used by TEA to evaluate the efficacy of EPPs in training classroom teachers seems to indicate that traditional, university-based EPPs are producing better-prepared, higher-quality first-year teachers than Alternative EPPs based on the Principal Survey ratings.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *