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Washington teacher pathway research

Region:
Northwest
Abstract:

Description: Washington state faces a growing teacher shortage. REL Northwest is partnering with state and district leaders through the Washington State Vibrant Teaching Force Alliance to find solutions and develop strategies to recruit, train, and retain a skilled teaching force that reflects the diversity of Washington's students.

One possible cause of the teacher shortage is a decreasing supply of new teachers. The number of people who received an initial teaching certificate in Washington state dropped by 41 percent in six years. To better understand this issue, REL Northwest will investigate the points at which teacher candidates are likely to drop out of their preparation programs or leave the profession.

To do this, REL Northwest has identified six steps or junctures at which teacher candidates can be observed during their preparation and early career pathway. This project will also explore three issues related to changes in teacher pathway participation over time: whether enrollment in teacher preparation programs has declined, whether attrition within the programs and for early-career teachers has increased, and whether the time candidates are taking to complete programs has increased.

Research questions:

  1. How many candidates complete each of Washington's six teacher preparation and career pathway steps?
    1. Passed Washington's basic skills test (WEST-B or alternative)
    2. Passed Washington's content area exams (WEST-E/NES)
    3. Passed Washington's certification exam (edTPA)
    4. Obtained a teaching certification in Washington state
    5. Employed as a teacher in a Washington K–12 public school
    6. Retained as a teacher for at least one year in a Washington K–12 public school
  2. How has the number and percentage of candidates completing each of Washington's six teacher preparation and career pathway steps changed between 2010 and 2019?
  3. How does the likelihood of completing each of Washington's six teacher preparation and career pathway steps vary by teacher preparation pathway type (traditional or alternative routes) and candidate characteristics (race/ethnicity, whether English is the candidate's best language, and gender)?
  4. How long does it take candidates to complete each of Washington's teacher preparation and career pathway steps?
    1. How does the length of time to complete each step vary by teacher preparation pathway type (traditional or alternative routes) and candidate characteristics (race/ethnicity, whether English is the candidate's best language, and gender)?

Study design: The study will follow four cohorts of teacher candidates as they enter Washington teacher preparation programs and eventually are placed and retained as teachers. Using teacher testing, certification, and employment data, this study will calculate descriptive statistics, such as the number and percentage of candidates who complete each of Washington's six teacher preparation and career pathway steps. It will also examine the extent to which the demographic characteristics of candidates are associated with continuation at each step, using a logistic regression, and determine the time it takes for different groups to pass each of the six steps, using a survival analysis.

Projected release date: Summer 2021

Partnership or research alliance: Washington State Vibrant Teaching Force Alliance

Related products: What's Happening? report

Principal Investigators & Affiliation:
Jason Greenberg Motamedi, REL Northwest at Education Northwest