Evaluating Educator Preparation Programs: Candidate Exit Survey Data

We are continuing our data series on public school teachers in Texas. To this point, we have looked at trends related to the quantity of public school teachers in Texas, the production of newly-certified teachers by type of Educator Preparation Program (EPP), and the quality of new teachers using results from TEA’s Principal Survey of First-Year Teachers. This blog will present data from the perspective of teacher candidates who are evaluating their field experience and preparedness for becoming a first-year teacher. 

Exit Survey Data Results

Data from the 2021 Exit Survey provided by TEA includes responses from teacher candidates to a series of survey questions. The data are reported by gender, race/ethnicity, and EPP type. 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.

Average Ratings by EPP

  • When averaging across all of the survey items related to field experience, teachers candidates trained by Traditional EPPs at universities rate their field experience slightly higher than their colleagues who were trained by Alternative EPPs
  • As seen in the top half of the visualization below, the average rating for Traditional EPPs was 2.80 (0-3 rating scale) versus 2.78 by Alternative EPP teacher candidates.
  • When rating their overall level of preparedness to becoming a first-year teacher, teacher candidates from Traditional EPPs gave their university program an average score of 2.73 (0-3 rating scale), while teacher candidates from Alternative EPPs gave their alternative program an average score of 2.71.
  • The box-and-whisker plots show the distribution of responses aggregated at the EPP level. While the average ratings are certainly similar, more Traditional EPPs are rated consistently higher in the Exit Survey data than the Alternative EPPs. The size of the circles is related to the number of teacher candidates completing the Exit survey from each EPP. Hovering over the circles will produce a pop-up tooltip that provides additional EPP-level information.

Survey Items by Race/Ethnicity

  • When reviewing the survey item responses by rating level, more than 95% of all teacher candidates rated Traditional EPPs and Alternative EPPs in one of the two highest categories (either “2” or “3” on the 0-3 rating scale) across all survey items, with Traditional EPPs rated slightly higher.
  • The largest gap within race/ethnicity groups is with White teacher candidates, as 97.1% of these students rated their Traditional EPP field experience as either a “2” or a “3”, while 95.3% of White teacher candidates from Alternative EPPs rated their field experience as either a “2” or a “3”. The gaps within Black/African American and Hispanic/Latino teacher candidate groups are less than a percentage point when comparing Traditional EPPs and Alternative EPPs.

Overall Rating by Race/Ethnicity

  • For the final item on the Exit Survey, teacher candidates were asked to rate their perception of how prepared they were for becoming a first-year teacher. This overall preparedness item was written on a 4-point scale that included “Not At All Prepared”, “Not Sufficiently Prepared”, “Sufficiently Prepared”, or “Well Prepared” as the response options.
  • In general, more than 98% of all teacher candidates expressed a belief that they were either “Sufficiently Prepared” or “Well Prepared” to become first-year teachers, regardless of EPP type and across all race/ethnicity groups.
  • When comparing Traditional EPPs with Alternative EPPs by race/ethnicity, the ratings for Black/African American, Hispanic/Latino, and White teacher candidates were almost identical. 
  • The highest percentage of ratings in the top-two categories were Hispanic/Latino teacher candidates from Traditional EPPs, with 99% of responses at either “Sufficiently Prepared” or “Well Prepared.”
  • The lowest percentage of ratings in the top-two categories were White teacher candidates from Alternative EPPs with 98% of responses at either “Sufficiently Prepared” or “Well Prepared.”

So What?

The bottom line with regard to the TEA Exit Survey data is that there is not much difference in the ratings of teacher candidates regardless of EPP type or race/ethnicity. The Exit Survey serves as a baseline data-point in a test-retest model, as teacher candidates complete the Exit Survey prior to earning their initial certification and becoming a classroom teacher. TEA then surveys those first-year teachers at the end of their first academic year in the classroom to further reflect on their updated sense of how well the EPP prepared them for the first year of teaching. In our next blog post, we will explore results from the TEA’s New Teacher Survey to see whether the high-level of confidence teacher candidates expressed in the Exit Survey is consistent with their perceptions after a year in the  public school classroom. 

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