The effects of teacher preparation on classroom performance of beginning teachers in special and general education

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The effects of teacher preparation on classroom performance of beginning teachers in special and general education
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Eisele, Mary Robertson, 1963-
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Thesis (Ph. D.)--University of Florida, 1996.
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Includes bibliographical references (leaves 135-142).
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by Mary Robertson Eisele.
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Vita.
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Typescript.

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THE EFFECTS OF TEACHER PREPARATION
ON CLASSROOM PERFORMANCE
OF BEGINNING TEACHERS
IN SPECIAL AND GENERAL EDUCATION













By

MARY ROBERTSON EISELE














A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL
OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT
OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF
DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY

UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA

1996









^o^""---Y














ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

They say it takes a whole village to raise a child.

Similarly, I found that it often takes family, friends, and

colleagues to reach the completion of a Ph.D. program. This

study was conducted with the assistance and support of

numerous individuals. My sincerest gratitude is extended to

all those who contributed.

First, the teachers and students who participated in

this study deserve an enormous amount of credit. Without

their willingness to allow me into their classrooms and their

flexibility in scheduling observations and interviews, this

study could never have been conducted. Their willingness to

participate in a study that may assist in better prepared

teachers for tomorrow's students is admirable. The hours I

spent in these classrooms has had a profound effect on my

views of the teaching and learning process.

This study was supported, in part, through Project

SEART-C at the University of Florida. I wish to thank Dr.

Paul Sindelar and Dr. Mary Sue Rennells for their guidance

and continued support throughout this project.

I wish to thank past and present doctoral students who

have endured, alongside me, all the trials and tribulations

of the doctoral program. Thanks, especially, to Dr. Maria

Blanes, Dr. LuAnn Jordon, Penny Travis, and Dr. David Allsopp








for your support and continued encouragement that it can be

done! I owe a very, special thanks to Dr. Holly Lane. If it

were not for your persistence over the past year, I may still

be writing. Your support, encouragement, and friendship has

helped me over the last few obstacles and for that I will

always be grateful. I am sure that our grandparents are

looking upon us with smiling faces!

I wish to give a special thanks to Dr. Ann Daunic. She

gave so much of her time and talents to make this study

possible. Her critical assistance during this study is

immeasurable. Thanks for helping me to keep things in

perspective, for the endless support and laughs, and for the

many restaurant discussions. I hope that in the future we

can work together again.

The support and assistance that my committee provided

from my courses through the final submission of the

dissertation is endless. Drs. Karen Kilgore and Mary

Brownell, both early in their careers as teacher educators

and researchers themselves, have served as role models for me

throughout my program. Dr. Kilgore listened to me, gave me

direction, and encouraged me to remain close to teachers in

the field. With her unique position on Project PART, Dr.

Kilgore influenced many of my thoughts about collaboration

among teachers, schools, and universities. Dr. Brownell has

consistently challenged me to examine issues from many

different perspectives. Dr. Cary Reichard has guided me

through the doctoral program by remaining a steady influence








with lots of enthusiasm. Dr. Linda Lombardino encouraged me

to expand my interest in beginning reading and provided me

with ideas and resources that I have shared with many

preservice and inservice teachers. I am deeply indebted to

Dr. Patricia Ashton for her assistance and input throughout

this study. With her expertise and vision, Dr. Ashton

inspired me to conduct teacher education research.

My deepest appreciation goes to Dr. Cecil Mercer, who

has been a teacher, a mentor, a colleague, and a friend. As

an undergraduate and master's student, Dr. Mercer served as a

role model for the power of teaching. His philosophy of

always doing what is best for students has remained with me

for many years. As my committee chairman, Dr. Mercer has

used his kindness, intellect, and humor to guide me through a

challenging program. You have and will continue to be a

powerful influence in my career as a teacher educator.

Finally, and most important, the love, support, and

encouragement that I have received from my family and close

friends have made this endeavor possible. My thanks to the

Mullins' family, my home away from home, your support has

been limitless. I express my deepest thanks to my parents

who instilled in me the importance of education and the

belief that I could accomplish anything. Most of all, I

thank Andrew. You have given me more love, patience, and

support than imaginable.















TABLE OF CONTENTS



ACKNOWLEDGMENTS ............................ ............... ii

ABSTRACT ............... .............................. viii

CHAPTERS

I INTRODUCTION TO THE PROBLEM ......................... 1

Statement of the Problem ............... ............... 1
Rationale for the Study .............................. 2
Scope of the Study ................................... 3
Delimitations ................................ .. 3
Limitations ..................................... 3
Definition of Terms .................................. 4
Overview ............................................. 6

II REVIEW OF RELATED LITERATURE ........................ 7

Teacher Preparation .................................. 7
Differences in Preparation ...................... 7
Differences Between Teachers .................... 9
Beginning Teacher Literature ......................... 10
Relevant Literature ............................. 11
Preactive .................................. 11
Interactive ................................ 13
Postactive ................................. 16
Limitations of Existing Research ................ 17
Assessment of Beginning Teachers ................ 18
Conclusions ..................................... 19
Teacher Development Theory ........................... 20
Teachers' Developmental Stages .................. 20
Summary of Developmental Stages ................. 25
Teacher Evaluation ................................... 26
Purposes of Teacher Evaluation .................. 26
Methods of Teacher Assessment ................... 28
Teacher ratings ............................ 28
Self-assessments ........................... 29
Student achievement ........................ 29
Portfolio assessment ....................... 30
Simulations/performance exercises.......... 30
Paper-and-pencil tests ..................... 31
Classroom observation ...................... 32
Summary ......................................... 35



v








Praxis III: Classroom Performance Assessments ....... 36
Purpose ......................................... 36
Stage 1 .................................... 38
Stage 2 .................................... 38
Stage 3 .................................... 38
Guiding Conceptions and Assessment Principles... 39
Instrument Development .......................... 40
Praxis III Framework ............................ 42
Domain A: Organizing content knowledge
for student learning....................... 42
Domain B: Creating an environment for
student learning .................. .... .... 43
Domain C: Teaching for student learning... 43
Domain D: Teacher professionalism......... 44
Reflection and Performance ...................... 44
Assessment and Professional Development ......... 45
Implications for Research .................. .......... 46

III METHODS AND PROCEDURES ............................... 48

Introduction ......................................... 48
Description of the Null Hypothesis ................... 48
Methods .............................................. 49
Description of the Subjects ..................... 49
Sampling Procedures ............................. 49
Description of the Research Instrumentation .......... 51
Data Collection Procedures ...................... 51
Validity and Reliability ........................ 52
Knowledge base ............................. 53
Criterion development ..................... 54
Description of the Procedures ........................ 55
Assessment Cycle ................................ 55
Preobservation interview................... 56
Classroom observation...................... 56
Postobservation interview.................. 57
Recording/scoring of evidence.............. 57
Assessor Training ............................... 57
Treatment of the Data ................................ 59

IV RESULTS ....................... ..................... 60

Introduction ......................................... 60
Comparison of Demographic Characteristics ............ 61
Criterion and Domain Scores .......................... 63
Test of Hypothesis .................................... 65
Sources of Significant Differences ................... 67
Criterion A3 .................................... 67
Criterion B1 .................................... 68
Criterion B4 .................................... 68
Criterion C3 .................................... 69
Criterion D3 .................................... 70
Summary .............................................. 71









V DISCUSSION ............... ......... ........... ...... 72

Overview of Research Findings ........................ 72
Implications of the Research Findings ................ 74
Theoretical Implications ........................ 74
Implications for Beginning Teacher Knowledge
Base ............................................ 75
Preactive .................................. 76
Interactive................................. 77
Postactive.................................. 79
Implications for Teacher Education .............. 80
Limitations .................................... ........ 84
Suggestions for Future Research ...................... 86
Summary ..................... ........................ 87

APPENDICES

A PRAXIS III DOMAINS AND CRITERIA ...................... 89

B QUESTIONS FOR ASSESSOR REFLECTION .................... 91

C CANDIDATE PROFILE ................. ................. 99

D LETTER TO BEGINNING TEACHERS ............ ......... 102

E PARTICIPANT INFORMED CONSENT ......................... 104

F RECORD OF EVIDENCE .................................. 106

G PRAXIS III SCORING RULES AND MATRICES ............... 107

H CLASS PROFILE .......................................... 126

I INSTRUCTIONAL PROFILE ................................. 129

J PREOBSERVATION INTERVIEW ............................ 131

K POSTOBSERVATION INTERVIEW ........................... 133

REFERENCES ................................................ 135

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH ........................................ 143














Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate School
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy



THE EFFECTS OF TEACHER PREPARATION
ON CLASSROOM PERFORMANCE
OF BEGINNING TEACHERS
IN SPECIAL AND GENERAL EDUCATION



By

Mary Robertson Eisele

August 1996

Chairman: Cecil D. Mercer
Major Department: Special Education

Examining the performance of first-year classroom

teachers may be a useful way to determine the effects of

teacher preparation on those teachers' abilities to meet the

demands of their profession. This study is an examination of

effects of teacher preparation on the classroom performance

of beginning teachers in general and special education.

Several key aspects of classroom performance were examined:

(a) organizing content knowledge for student learning, (b)

creating an environment for student learning, (c) teaching

for student learning, and (d) teacher professionalism.

Assessments using Praxis III: Classroom Performance

Assessment were conducted on beginning teachers in special

education (N=25) and general education (N=22). Each

assessment cycle consisted of a preobservation interview, an


viii








observation, and a postobservation interview. Each teacher

was scored on the 19 criteria of Praxis III.

A multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) revealed a

significant difference between general and special education

teachers. One-way analyses of variance (ANOVAs) were

conducted for each criterion. Significant differences

between general education and special education teachers were

detected on a total of 5 criteria on Praxis III. General

educators scored significantly higher on measures of a

teachers' ability (a) to demonstrate an understanding of the

connection between the content that was learned previously,

the current content, and the content that remains to be

learned in the future, (b) to encourage students to extend

their thinking, and (c) to build professional relationships

with colleagues to share teaching insights and to coordinate

learning activities for students. Special educators scored

significantly higher on criterion related to the creation of

a climate that promotes fairness and to establishing and

maintaining consistent standards of classroom behavior.

Several implications for beginning teaching research and

teacher preparation emerge from these findings. This

approach to beginning teacher assessment promotes the

formation of a more complete picture of teaching and learning

in context. The emergence of research on the differences

between beginning general and special education teachers may

be especially useful to teacher educators as they could








revise programs to better prepare preservice teachers for the

demands of their classrooms.














CHAPTER I
INTRODUCTION TO THE PROBLEM

Statement of the Problem

Changes in society are reflected in schools today. The

demands of classroom teaching are different from what they

were even a few years ago. A clear understanding of the

demands of the teaching profession should drive the

development and refinement of teacher preparation programs.

Since the passage of Public Law 94-142 (Education of the

Handicapped Act) in 1975, schools have been charged with the

mission of educating all children and youth equitably.

Recent trends in the education of students with mild learning

and behavior problems have prompted an increase in

collaborative efforts between general and special education

teachers (Goodlad & Lovitt, 1993; Pugach & Johnson, 1989).

This type of collaboration, however, requires the joining of

groups of professionals who have differences in professional

knowledge structures due to the distinctive orientations of

general and special education teacher preparation (Sindelar,

et al., 1995). Traditionally, general education preparation

has focused on pedagogical and curricular concerns. In

contrast, special education preparation has emphasized

instructional strategies, individualized instruction, and

behavior management. A greater understanding of the








similarities and differences between the demands of teaching

in general and special education has implications for teacher

education programs.

Information that could lead to a clearer understanding

of the demands of teaching in general and special education

could come from a variety of sources. One source of

information would be the classroom performance of teachers in

general and special education. Examining the performance of

first-year classroom teachers may be a useful way to

determine the effects of teacher preparation on those

teachers' abilities to meet the demands of their profession.

Very little research has examined the effects of teacher

preparation on teacher performance.

Research emerging from teacher development theory has

provided a foundation for understanding teacher concerns at

the initial stages of development. At least two limitations

of this research are evident: (a) the research has been

conducted primarily with general education teachers and (b)

the effects of teacher preparation on teacher development

have received little attention. Teacher concerns at the

initial stages of teacher development may be different for

the two groups of teachers due to the differences in teacher

preparation.

Rationale for the Study

This study examines how differences in general and

special education teacher preparation programs affect the

ability of teachers to meet the demands of their classrooms.








The central purpose of the study was to compare the effects

of teacher preparation on the classroom performance of

beginning teachers in general and special education. Several

aspects of beginning teachers' classroom performance were

examined: (a) organizing content knowledge for student

learning, (b) creating an environment for student learning,

(c) teaching for student learning, and (d) teacher

professionalism.

Scope of the Study

This study was conducted within a limited scope. The

delimitations and limitations of this research are described

in the following sections.

Delimitations

This study was delimited by geographical location to

districts within the state of Florida. The research

participants were 47 first-year teachers who had graduated

from a teacher preparation program at one of four state

universities in Florida. Participant selection did not

include consideration of graduates of the other five state

universities. Additionally, several districts were

eliminated from the sample pool due to the time and expense

required to travel to them.

Limitations

This study was conducted with beginning general and

special education teachers during the second semester of

their first year of teaching. The teachers' beliefs, skills,

and knowledge prior to entering a teacher preparation program








were unknown and may have influenced the results of this

study. The nature of voluntary participation by the teachers

may further limit this study. In addition, differences in

teacher preparation programs were not assessed.

Consequently, differences between special and general

education teachers may or may not have been attributable to

differences in specific university programs. Finally, the

results of this study may not be generalized to teachers of

middle and high school students or teachers who graduated

from unified teacher preparation programs.

Definition of Terms

An understanding of the literature and procedures

discussed in this study requires a clarification of

terminology. The terms defined in this section are needed

for interpretation of this study.

Teacher assessment and teacher evaluation refer to a

multifaceted process that considers the way a teacher

performs a variety of tasks within a context, the meaning of

their performance in terms of that context, and often a

likely explanation for those performances. These terms will

be used interchangeably for the purposes of this study.

Beginning teacher and first-year teacher describe an

individual who is currently in the first year of teaching.

Experienced teacher is an individual who has typically

taught more than one year but does not necessarily imply that

the teacher is competent.








Teacher competence is the repertoire of competencies a

teacher possesses. As a teacher comes to possess more

competencies, it is said the teacher has become more

competent (Madaus & Mehrens, 1990).

Teacher competency is any single knowledge, skills, or

value position. The possession of these competencies is

believed to be related to teacher effectiveness.

Competencies refer to specific knowledge, behaviors, and

beliefs but not to the effects of these attributes on

students (Madaus & Mehrens, 1990).

Teacher effectiveness is the effect that the teacher's

performance has on pupils. Teacher effectiveness depends not

only on competence and performance, but also on the responses

pupils make. Effectiveness is defined in terms of the scores

the teachers' students achieve on tests or similar measures.

Just as competence cannot predict performance cannot predict

outcomes under different situations (Madaus & Mehrens, 1990).

Teacher performance refers to the actual behavior of the

teacher while teaching. Teacher performance is specific to

the job situation; it depends on the competence of the

teacher, the context in which the teacher works, and the

teacher's ability to apply his or her competencies at any

given point in time (Madaus & Mehrens, 1990).

Teacher preparation oroaram and teacher education

program are university programs designed with legal

authorization to prepare teachers. These terms will be used

interchangeably for the purposes of this study.








Overview

An investigation of the effects of teacher preparation

(special and general education) on beginning teachers'

classroom performance is the focus of this study. Chapter II

provides a review and analysis of relevant professional

literature in the areas of teacher preparation, beginning

teaching, teacher development theory, teacher evaluation, and

Praxis III. Chapter III presents a description of the

methods and procedures used in this study. The results

obtained from the Praxis III assessments are discussed in

Chapter IV. Chapter V includes (a) a discussion of the

results as they relate to previous research, (b) implications

for teacher development theory, beginning teaching knowledge

base, and teacher education, (c) limitations of the research,

and (d) recommendations for future research.














CHAPTER II
REVIEW OF RELATED LITERATURE

Chapter II includes a summary and analysis of the

literature on teacher preparation, beginning teaching,

teacher development theory, teacher evaluation, and Praxis

III. The chapter concludes with a summary of the research

findings.

Teacher Preparation

Differences in Preparation

Pugach (1992) proposed that special educators and

elementary educators historically have held different

assumptions about teaching, learning, and teacher and student

roles. She added that basic organizing structures and

beliefs governing the two programs remain distinctly

different.

The origins of special education were closely tied to

psychology, in particular behavioral psychology. Through

this association, special education has established a firm

foundation in positivistic, behavioral approaches (Sindelar

et al., 1995). These approaches emphasize skill-based

instruction, rather than holistic instruction. Tasks are

broken into small units that are taught in isolation and

reformed to create a whole. Teacher educators of special

education have traditionally prepared teachers to focus on

student competencies within categories of disability. The








content of special education courses has emphasized almost

exclusively the individual and individual pathology.

Although general and special education teacher preparation

programs tend to address the same content and readings, which

adds coherence to the curricula, special education programs

seldom address curriculum beyond the teaching of reading and

basic mathematics (Goodlad & Lovitt, 1993). In addition,

through a comprehensive study of teacher education, Goodlad

(1993) found that students in special education teacher

education programs expressed more confidence in their

abilities in individualized instruction and behavior

management.

Conversely, teacher educators in general education

traditionally have emphasized group process, rather than

individual student needs. Students in general education

teacher education programs perceived themselves as ill

equipped to deal with children with disabilities,

particularly in areas of individualized instruction and

behavior management (Goodlad, 1993). Preparation in general

education focuses on the scope and sequence of curriculum,

and more recently, holistic approaches to teaching and

learning. Traditionally, general education teacher

preparation programs have emphasized instructional methods

that can be described as implicit. These methods include

child-determined exploration, discovery learning, and

procedural knowledge instruction (Swanson & Cooney, 1991).

In contrast, special education teacher preparation programs








have emphasized explicit methods of instruction. These

methods of instruction include direction instruction

(Carnine, Silbert, & Kameenui, 1990; Engelmann, Carnine, &

Steely, 1991; Gersten, Carnine, & Woodward, 1987), learning

strategies (Schumaker & Deshler, 1992; Swanson, 1989),

classwide peer tutoring (Greenwood, Delquadri, & Hall, 1989;

Maheady, 1991), and declarative knowledge instruction

(Swanson & Cooney, 1991).

Differences Between Teachers

Researchers have long recognized the differences between

general education and special education teacher preparation;

however, they have neglected the role of differences in

teacher education programs in the development of teacher

differences. Little is known about the knowledge possessed

by general and special education teachers about instruction,

especially for diverse learners. Blanton, Blanton, and Cross

(1994) conducted one of the first studies to investigate

similarities and differences between general and special

education teachers in how they think and make instructional

decisions. They reported that general and special education

teachers responded similarly when they identified student

strengths and the strategies they would use to provide

instruction. Yet the two groups of teachers differed in

their explanation of why they would use the strategy and

their roles in working with the student. Blanton et al.

suggested that special education teachers may possess a more

complex organization of knowledge from which they interpret








learning problems. This expanded knowledge base may allow

special education teachers to better identify and interpret

problems.

The differences in the instructional practices of

general and special education teachers appears to be based on

the differences in teacher preparation. Very little research

has examined the effects of teacher preparation on teacher

performance. This study examines how different program

philosophies and orientations (i.e., general education and

special education) affect the performance profiles of program

graduates.

Becinnina Teacher Literature

Sound assessments for beginning teachers must be

grounded in the research on teaching (Reynolds, 1992). By

documenting what is known about effective teachers and

particularly beginning teachers, assessment developers can

begin to specify what aspects of teaching should be

addressed. A review of the literature should be helpful in

addressing the following questions. What is competent

beginning teaching? What should we expect beginning teachers

to be able to do? Is the knowledge base of beginning

teachers different from experienced teachers? Should

assessments for beginning teachers and experienced teachers

differ?

Educational research uses a number of different methods

of inquiry. These different ways of studying teaching can

contribute to the definition of competent beginning teaching








(Fenstermacher, 1986). Therefore, the literature for this

section represents major research programs that provide the

bulk of research on teaching (Shulman, 1986). These research

programs include process-product research, time and learning,

pupil cognition and the mediation of teaching, classroom

ecology, teacher cognition and decision making, and types of

knowledge (Wittrock, 1986).

Relevant Literature

Regardless of subject-matter, grade level, or

instructional method, teaching tasks can be divided into

three broad domains: proactive, interactive, and postactive

(Reynolds, 1992). Jackson (1968) identified proactive tasks

as that phase of teaching in which the teacher develops an

appropriate lesson plan or strategy and also sets objectives

for the lesson. Jackson called the implementation of this

lesson and objectives the interactive phase of teaching.

Postactive tasks include reflections after a teaching episode

as well as steps to improve teaching (Clark & Peterson,

1986). Although these domains are distinct, the tasks

included may occur simultaneously or sequentially. The rest

of this section draws from a comprehensive analysis of

reviews of effective teaching and studies of learning to

teach, regardless of the teaching context (i.e., grade level,

subject matter).

Preactive. Research involving proactive teaching tasks

are typically descriptive in nature and focus on lesson or

strategy planning. Methods of inquiry in the thought








processes of a teacher may include thinking aloud, stimulated

recall, and journal keeping (Clark & Peterson, 1986). There

are key differences in the proactive tasks of beginning and

more experienced teachers. When planning a lesson, more

experienced teachers relate new information to students in a

way that connects to what their students already know (Porter

& Brophy, 1988). Experienced teachers' instruction of new

information is frequently integrated across content areas

(Porter & Brophy, 1988). Experienced teachers also choose

activities that take into consideration their students'

developmental levels, achievement levels, interests, and

background experience (Brophy & Good, 1986; Christenson,

Ysseldyke, & Thurlow, 1989; Corno & Snow, 1986). Becoming

familiar with students allows experienced teachers to set

appropriate expectations and clear learning goals (Brophy &

Good, 1986; Peterson, Marx, & Clark, 1978). Similarly, these

teachers set appropriate expectations for themselves and

believe that they can affect the learning of students;

whereas beginning teachers question their impact on student

achievement (Brookhart & Freeman, 1992).

Most teacher planning involves the use of curricular

materials. Competent teachers select curricular materials

that are appropriate for the students' level and needs as

well as their interests. Typically, experienced teachers

take advantage of available materials and spend more time on

enriching the content (Porter & Brophy, 1988). Beginning

teachers have difficulty with the connection between








curricular material and instruction (Clark & Peterson, 1986).

Effective teachers are more consistent with evaluation of

student progress than beginning teachers (Porter & Brophy,

1988; Zigmond, Sansone, Miller, Donahoe, & Kohnke, 1986).

One major influence on teachers' preactive tasks is the

knowledge of their students. Experienced teachers give more

consideration to a student's prior knowledge of subject and

academic performance than do beginning teachers (Corno &

Snow, 1986; Fogarty, Wang, & Creek, 1983; Shulman, 1989).

Beginning teachers are more impractical about student

differences and view these differences as problematic

(Carter, Cushing, Sabers, Stein, & Berliner, 1988; Fogarty,

Wang, & Creek, 1983; Shulman, 1989).

In summary, the knowledge of subject-matter and students

underlies good planning. Experienced and beginning teachers

appear to differ in the depth of these types of knowledge.

Beginning teachers are less apt to consider subject-matter

and student differences in their planning.

Interactive. Most of the research on teaching entails

interactive teaching tasks, rather than proactive or

postactive ones. This is largely due to the popularity of

classroom observations as a source of assessment. The

interactive domain of teaching is the actual implementation

of a lesson or strategy. During this time, the teacher is

actively engaged with the students and content. Interactive

teaching tasks consists of (a) creating/managing the learning








environment, (b) presenting subject matter, and (c)

evaluating student learning (Reynolds, 1992).

When creating an environment for student learning,

competent teachers view themselves as classroom managers

(Brophy & Good, 1986). They possess positive qualities such

as withitness, empathy, and rapport (Brophy & Good, 1986).

As a classroom manager, the competent teacher establishes and

maintains consistent rules and routines (Doyle, 1986; Brophy

& Good, 1986; Zigmond et al., 1986). In matters of

discipline, competent teachers ignore minor misbehavior and

deal with severe disruptions through a variety of means.

Conversely, beginning teachers generally have difficulty with

discipline and maintaining consistent standards of behavior

(Doyle, 1986). Researchers reason that beginning teachers

spend time primarily on solving problems, whereas competent

teachers define the problem and evaluate possible solutions

(Reynolds, 1992). When determining the best instructional

arrangement (e.g., small group, peer tutoring, individualized

instruction), competent teachers base their decision on how

best to accomplish the goals of the lesson (Doyle, 1986;

Reynolds, 1992). Beginning teachers have difficulty in their

selection of instructional grouping for given goals and

students. Moreover, beginning teachers seem unable to

ascertain what makes a lesson efficient.

The successful presentation of subject matter relies on

the quality of a teacher's subject-matter knowledge and

pedagogical-content knowledge (Shulman, 1987). Beginning








teachers often have low levels of pedagogical-content

knowledge (Grossman, 1990; Shulman, 1987). Competent

teachers use their pedagogical-content knowledge to assess

the readiness of their students before beginning new subject

matter. They focus on their students' preconceptions and

misconceptions. In turn, competent teachers use this

information to adapt the level and pace of instruction

(Christenson, Ysseldyke, & Thurlow, 1987). Further,

experienced teachers vary their teaching strategies in

response to the ability levels of students more than

beginning teachers (Corno & Snow, 1986).

The lessons of competent teachers typically have common

characteristics, including clear expectations, appropriate

pacing, new learning related to prior learning, maintained

flow of activity, frequent monitoring of performance, and

feedback (Brophy & Good, 1986; Gersten, Carnine, & Woodward,

1987; Zigmond et al., 1986). Beginning teachers may not

demonstrate this consistency in their instructional routines

because routines are not yet developed (Reynolds, 1992).

Competent teachers use certain aspects to actively engage

students in lessons, which include orientation to the lesson,

guided practice, development of metacognitive strategies, and

effective questioning techniques (Gersten, Carnine, &

Woodward, 1987; Porter & Brophy, 1988; Swanson, 1989; Zigmond

et al., 1986). When beginning teachers respond to students

experiencing difficulty in a lesson they generally do not

link the concept to related concepts (Borko & Livingston,








1989). They are also less effective in questioning

strategies and tend not to use this information to improve

their teaching (Reynolds, 1992).

Competent teachers maintain consistent procedures for

monitoring student progress and have interventions to improve

student learning. They hold students accountable for

assignments and give clear expectations (Christenson,

Ysseldyke, & Thurlow, 1987; Porter & Brophy, 1988). When

evaluating student work, competent teachers look for

completeness and accuracy, give feedback promptly, and

encourage self monitoring (Zigmond et al., 1986). In

addition, multiple forms of assessment are used to evaluate

their students.

Postactive. Competent teachers reflect on their own

teaching as well as student responses (Porter & Brophy, 1988;

Sch6n, 1987). They use multiple forms of assessment to help

improve their teaching. The major distinction between

beginning and expert teachers is that novice teachers'

reflections are less focused than expert teachers'

reflections (Borko & Livingston, 1989). Beginning teachers

highlight events during the lesson such as their clarity of

examples used in the presentation or student participation;

whereas expert teachers target student understanding and

rarely mention their own effectiveness (Reynolds, 1992).

Little evidence is available on the connection between

competent teaching and other postactive teaching tasks, which

include interaction with colleagues, affiliation with








organizations, enrollment in courses, and participation in

school activities (Reynolds, 1992).

Limitations of Existing Research

Regardless of the method used to study effective

teaching, problems and criticisms abound. First, the

effective teaching literature, while the most vigorous and

productive of research programs, relies heavily on

correlational findings (see Brophy & Good, 1986). In the

effective teaching research, the absence of an explanatory

theory of the relationships between teacher behavior and

student performance has been criticized. Critics of this

research typically sought to develop programs of research in

which a mediating variable (i.e., student as mediator of

instruction) was examined. Further limiting the effective

teaching research is the lack of varied settings. Most of

the studies were conducted in elementary grades with the

focus on reading and mathematics achievement.

A second limitation is research on teaching has largely

been conducted by researchers interested in teaching.

Omitted from this literature are studies by teachers and

teachers' perspectives on effective teaching. Teachers often

cite affective areas such as enhancing self-esteem and

meeting emotional needs as imperative jobs of elementary

teachers (Reynolds, 1992). Research on teaching, however,

tells us very little about the importance of these tasks.

Third, assessment developers cannot assume that the

findings of correlational and descriptive research give the








entire view of teaching. The value of educational research

is to help us understand and learn about a limited range of

educational phenomena, particularly when research is done

well. Continued research on effective teaching and learning

to teach will only improve our understanding of competent

beginning teaching.

Assessment of Beginnina Teachers

Few would argue that beginning teachers need assessment

to a greater extent than experienced teachers. Fortunately,

beginning teachers are more likely to support teacher

assessments because of their initial positive attitudes

(Peterson, 1990). Peterson (1990) described four problems of

evaluation faced by beginning teachers. First, many

assessments are inaccurate and provide limited feedback to

the teachers. Second, principals have been given the

contradictory roles of judge and supporter. Third, formative

and summative evaluations are generally administered at the

same time and often by the same assessor. Fourth, the

feedback given to beginning teachers is generally not used to

shape their professional development plans. Recent

innovations of assessment systems enhance the effectiveness

of teacher assessment for beginning teachers (Peterson,

1984). One of these innovations is the increasing popular

use of multiple data sources. No single line of evidence can

provide a comprehensive picture of what a competent beginning

teacher does (Medley et al., 1984). Current data sources for

assessment may include systematic observation, documentation








of professional activities, teacher tests, parent surveys,

pupil achievement data, peer review, and other individualized

data (Peterson, 1990).

Researchers have offered a few suggestions for beginning

teacher assessment. First, the time of formal evaluation is

important. Reynolds (1992) stated that beginning teachers

need time at the beginning of the school year to develop an

understanding of their students and the culture of their

school. Evaluation of competence should begin after a

semester of full-time teaching. A second suggestion is

beginning teacher assessments should be tailored to the

specific population (i.e., beginning teachers) under

consideration (Berliner, 1989). Those assessing beginning

teachers need an instrument that is capable of capturing the

best teaching as well as allowing for the struggles that

beginning teachers are inevitably going to face. The current

pass/no pass systems are not flexible enough to distinguish

among different levels of teaching. A system is needed that

is flexible enough to weigh different competencies, depending

upon whether the competencies would be apt to develop or

should have been attained through preservice training.

Conclusions

After her review of the research on effective teaching

and studies of learning to teach, Reynolds (1992) concluded

"beginning teachers often lack an adequate knowledge base of

understandings to perform teaching tasks in an effective

manner" (p.5). Beginning teachers differ from experienced








teachers not only in a knowledge base but on the needs of

assessment. Some considerations for assessment of beginning

teachers include (a) the use of multiple data sources, (b)

judgments of teacher performance, (c) teacher involvement,

and (d) feedback tied to professional development (Berliner,

1990).

Teacher Development Theory

Knowledge of the developmental characteristics that

teachers exhibit during their careers can provide educators

with an understanding of the abilities and inadequacies of

teachers during different stages. Information about these

stages can serve as a foundation for (a) improving preservice

teacher education programs, (b) improving staff-development

programs, and (c) improving the assessment of teacher

performance.

Teachers' Developmental Stages

Several research studies have provided detail

descriptions of the various stages of teacher development.

The most prominent of these studies was conducted by Frances

Fuller and her colleagues (Fuller, 1969; Fuller & Bown,

1975). Through her own research and reviews of similar

studies, Fuller concluded that teachers progress through four

stages in the process of becoming a teacher. The first stage

is the preteaching phase in which preservice teachers cannot

identify with teachers but rather more closely identify with

the pupils. In the second stage, or the early teaching

phase, teachers are primarily concerned with survival as








teacher along with some concern for the content of lessons

and class control. The third stage is characterized by the

teachers' concerns about their teaching performance and

situational demands that may be limiting or frustrating. In

the fourth stage teachers begin to show more concern for

their pupils. More emphasis can be seen on the social and

emotional needs of the pupils. Fuller and her colleagues

never established whether the proposed stages overlapped or

were clearly defined.

Similarly, Unruh and Turner (1970) proposed four stages

of teacher growth based on their experiences with teachers.

The preservice period was the initial stage that included

preparation at the high school and college level. Initial

teaching, the second stage, was proposed as the trial phase

that could last for 1 to 6 years. Although Unruh and Turner

do not explain why some teachers remain in this stage longer

than others, they noted that these teachers often have

difficulty with classroom management, organization,

evaluation, and curriculum development. In the third stage,

the teacher embarks on the security period which ranges

approximately from 6 to 15 years. During this phase,

teachers become secure in their commitment to teaching and

therefore often pursue ways to improve their knowledge. In

the final stage, maturity period, teachers continue to refine

their competence and effectiveness. These teachers have

reached a level at which they are confident of performing

their teaching duties.








Another 4-stage developmental process for teachers was

proposed by Katz (1972). Based on her studies with preschool

teachers, Katz described the characteristics of each phase

and offered suggestions of assistance that would be relevant

to each stage of growth. In stage one, the survival stage,

teachers are focused primarily on survival as they experience

the differences between their expectations and the realities

of a classroom. Because teachers may feel insecure and

inadequately prepared, Katz suggested on-site support for

these teachers. Teachers in the second stage, consolidation

stage, now begin to remove the focus from themselves and

refocus on the students. This stage may continue from a

teacher's second year into the third year. Again Katz

recommends on-site support with additional assistance from

other professionals such as consultants and specialists. In

the third stage, renewal, teachers begin to seek out new ways

of teaching. These innovations may be found through

conferences, journals, and critiques of their own teaching.

Maturity, the fourth stage, is distinguished by the ability

of teachers to ask deeper and more abstract questions. Katz

suggests that assistance at this stage may consist of

attending seminars, reading books and journals, and

furthering education through a degree program.

After studying the behavior of teachers, Gregorc (1973)

and his colleagues described four stages of development:

becoming, growing, maturing, and fully functioning

professional. In the becoming stage, teachers demonstrate a








limited notion of their teaching duties. Teachers often feel

that their job is to share information with students and

complete the assigned book for a subject area. Initial

concepts of teaching, the educational process, and the role

of a school are just beginning to develop during this phase.

In the growing stage, these initial concepts become more

refined as teachers increase their knowledge about students,

materials, curricula, and their own teaching. Teachers

moving into the maturing stage have made a commitment to

teaching. They have reexamined their original concepts and

gained new insights to education, subject matter, and

themselves. Gregorc found that those teachers who reach the

fully functioning professional stage had made a definite

commitment to their profession. These teachers were able to

see their full potential as teachers as they consistently

tested and altered their concepts and beliefs.

In 1980, Yarger and Mertens posited a continuum of

career stages that teachers experience, based on their work

with teachers and teacher education. Similar to the work by

Katz, Yarger and Mertens also described types of programming

assistance that would be appropriate to each stage of

development. At Stages 1 and 2, the preeducation and

education student advances to a point of making a conscious

decision and commitment to becoming a teacher and develops

the basic skills necessary for this decision. In stage 3,

the teacher enters the first year of teaching and encounters

the demands of the teaching profession. Concerns at this








stage include classroom discipline, continuing development of

pedagogical skills, and receiving constructive feedback from

supervisors. During the second and third year of teaching,

stage 4, the teacher may still retain some of the initial

concerns, but new concerns emanate about content and gaps in

previous training. At stage 5, the teacher may have from 3

to 8 years of experience and thus becomes more stable.

Teachers at this point are more likely to have completed

advanced degrees and additional coursework. Teachers shift

their focus to content expertise and new professional roles.

Teachers with at least eight years of experience are seen in

stage 6. Yarger and Mertens described these teachers as

aware of their particular strengths and areas of expertise

and thereby having different professional needs.

Another theory of teachers' developmental stages was

suggested by McDonald (1982). This model consisted of four

stages including (a) the transition stage, (b) the exploring

stage, (c) the invention and experimenting stage, and (d) the

professional teaching stage. The transition stage was

characterized by a teacher's low sense of efficacy. This is

compounded with fundamental tasks of learning about students,

and learning how to manage and organize. In the invention

and experimenting stage, a teacher effectively manages

instruction and develops a sense of efficacy in using the

basic skills of teaching. This second stage involves the

teacher attempting new strategies, developing techniques, and

seeking professional growth. In the final stage,








professional teaching, the teacher has problem-solving skills

and often will assist other teachers in their professional

growth.

Summary of Developmental Stages

Examination of these theories concerning the stages of

teachers' development suggests three predominant stages for

inservice teachers. The first stage is distinguished by a

teacher's focus on self. Difficulty with students,

curricula, discipline, and organization seem to be common

issues of teachers in this initial phase of professional

growth. In the second stage, teachers begin to refocus their

attention on students and mastery of content. They become

more knowledgeable about their own teaching and its effects

on the students. The third or final stage represents a time

when teachers begin to feel secure about their teaching and

therefore attempt innovative ways to expand and enhance their

teaching skills.

A restriction of teacher development theory is the lack

of clarity in the range of competencies exhibited within each

stage. Although some teacher development theorists have

suggested characteristics of teacher performance for each

stage, it is not apparent how a range of competency may be

accounted for. Teachers do not fit neatly into one stage of

development; they may exhibit behaviors and skills

characteristic of other stages. For example, a teacher may

be highly skilled in one aspect of teaching (e.g., lesson

planning), yet the teacher's overall classroom performance








may indicate that she is functioning at the survival stage.

Theorists offer no explanation about the range of

competencies that may be exhibited within a single stage.

Research emerging from teacher development theory has

provided a foundation for understanding teacher concerns at

the initial stages of development. However, the effects of

teacher preparation on beginning teacher performance have

received little attention in teacher development research.

Because teacher preparation may have its greatest influence

on the initial stage of teacher development, teacher

educators should have more information on this particular

stage of development theory.

Teacher Evaluation

The much publicized decline in student performance has

called into question the competency of teachers. In response

to public demands of accountability, the educational

establishment has taken steps to improve teachers.

Evaluation processes have become a widespread solution for

ensuring teacher competency. The quality of evaluation

depends on the degree to which selected methods will provide

reliable and valid data for the primary purposess.

Purposes of Teacher Evaluation

The two major functions of evaluation are formative and

summative. Formative evaluation represents a process or

professional development. Formative evaluation provides

data, judgment, and suggestions to teachers to help in making

appropriate adjustments on their teaching performance.








Summative evaluation represents a product or accountability.

This type of evaluation serve administrative decisions such

as hiring, firing, promotion, certification, and salary.

Striking a balance between the two types of evaluation could

have profound implications for teacher professionalism and

education (Andrews & Barnes, 1990).

The first step in the process of evaluation, whether

formative or summative, is defining the purpose or multiple

purposes of the inquiry. Although teacher evaluation may

have explicit and specific purposes, the effects of the

evaluation may extend into unintended areas. For instance,

the dismissal of a teacher for incompetent performance has an

effect not only on that teacher but on other teachers in the

school as well. Natriello (1990) proposed three purposes for

teacher evaluation. The first purpose, to control or

influence the performance of a teacher, is to improve

performance that is already within an acceptable range for

that current teaching assignment. Many of these evaluation

systems use criteria that are based on effective teaching

research (Medley, Coker, & Soar, 1984) or on models of

clinical supervision (Goldsberry, 1984). The second purpose

is to control movement in and out of positions (i.e., hiring,

firing, certification). Some examples of assessments are

pencil-and-paper examinations used by states (districts) to

screen applicants. The third purpose is to justify the

organizational control system. The emphasis is to convince








employees that the system is fair and equal, valid for

decision-making processes.

Methods of Teacher Assessment

The assessor may choose various methods to evaluate

teachers. The type of method chosen should be fair,

efficient, credible, and accurate (Millman, 1981). Yet the

quality of the method depends heavily on the context and

manner in which the method is implemented. Evaluation of

teachers must identify and define possible contexts and take

into account their influences. Our selection of assessment

methods have grown significantly over the past 20 years. In

the following section, various sources of teaching evidence

are presented.

Teacher ratings. Teacher rating scales were first used

in late 19th century. As interest in teacher effectiveness

increased in the early 20th century, thousands of studies

were conducted using rating scales (Good & Mulryan, 1990).

Teacher ratings quickly gained popularity among

administrators for summative evaluation purposes (i.e.,

promotion, transfer, dismissal, and merit). The increased

use of teacher rating scales was accompanied by a multitude

of problems (Medley & Mitzel, 1963), such as a lack of

criteria and objective measures for the ratings. Moreover,

the information obtained from teacher ratings has never

informed us of what should be rated and how rating is best

accomplished. Medley et al. (1984) acknowledged the strength








of rating instruments is in helping teachers to analyze and

improve their instruction.

Self-assessments. Self-assessments of teacher

performance are formative in nature with personal development

as their primary purpose. Self-assessments, including audio-

and videotapes, self-reports, questionnaires, and self-rating

forms, allow insight into a teacher's own strengths and

weaknesses. However, self-assessments have several

limitations, such as lack of objectivity, accuracy, and

reliability (Barber, 1990). Assessment may become a form of

justification, in which ineffective teachers may not realize

the true level at which they are performing. For example,

when novice teachers view videotapes of their own teaching,

they tend to have difficulty focusing on matters of

significance.

Student achievement. If the function of teaching is to

enhance student learning, then using student achievement as a

measure of teacher performance seems reasonable. Although

student achievement measures are used for both formative and

summative evaluations, using these measures for summative

evaluations results in more controversy simply because more

is at stake. Millman (1981) described three limitations of

using student achievement as a method of teacher assessment.

One limitation is that students differ in their levels of

academic aptitude and willingness to learn. Individual

differences among students are rarely taken into account with

student achievement measures. Another limitation is that








student achievement measures cannot tell how the teacher

planned and implemented the lesson and therefore are limited

in their usefulness for improving instruction. Finally, the

achievement tests may not be representative of what is being

taught or may only sample a set of the instruction goals.

This is particularly evident in secondary schools where the

measures of student achievement are not aligned with the

curriculum (Glass, 1990).

Portfolio assessment. The portfolio as an evaluation

instrument is an idea borrowed from other professions, such

as architecture, writing, and photography. Bird (1990)

discussed the potential of portfolio assessment for teacher

evaluation. He identified two purposes of portfolios:

contributing to personnel decisions and improving teacher

performance. A wide array of documents (e.g., photographs,

videotapes, written products, and lesson plans) could be

included in a teacher's portfolio. Portfolios are gaining

popularity because they provide opportunities to see a

teacher's work holistically and in context (Shulman, 1989).

Yet a different set of problems is inherent in portfolio

assessment. Shulman (1988) claimed that portfolios are often

too large and become a waste of time if contents do not

reveal how teachers actually teach in their classrooms.

Another problem is the lack of standard documentation

procedures.

Simulations/performance exercises. Simulations or

performance exercises are assessments that are conducted








outside of the classroom but are designed to simulate actual

practice. Stanford's Teacher Assessment Project, under the

direction of Lee Shulman, led the research and development of

performance exercises. These exercises included planning

lessons, commenting on videotapes of other teachers'

performances, critiquing textbooks, and correcting homework

papers (Shulman, Haertel, & Bird, 1988). Performance

exercises can simulate the complexities of teaching and allow

for inferences about decision-making capabilities (Dwyer,

1993). The major limitation of these methods is that the

teacher is still removed from the actual contexts and thus

the direct relationship of teaching to learning is lost

(Dwyer, 1993; Haertel, 1990) Other limitations of this

method are that it is expensive to administer, create, and

evaluate and that it samples the depth of a teacher's

knowledge rather than the breadth. In addition, performance

exercises are task specific so the validity and reliability

of these instruments are dependent on the type of task

demands (Shulman, 1988). There is growing interest in

performance exercises, but they are not yet widely accepted

due to the problems with this technique. Many efforts to use

simulation and performance exercises are addressing these

problems and are still in the development stages.

Paoer-and-pencil tests. At least 46 states have adopted

teacher-competency tests as a prerequisite for teacher

certification (Darling-Hammond, 1990). The main advantage of

these conventional tests is that they can adequately sample








the breadth of teacher knowledge. Conventional tests are (a)

efficient, (b) easy to score, (c) highly reliable, and (d)

objective. They are incomplete, however, because they

measure isolated pieces of knowledge, omitting processes such

as judgment, problem solving, and decision making (Madaus &

Mehrens, 1990; Shulman, 1988). In summary, paper-and-pencil

tests play an important role in teacher evaluation but fall

short of providing information to improve teacher

performance.

Classroom observation. Classroom observations are the

dominant method of teacher evaluation in elementary and

secondary schools today. To assess teacher behavior

(action), classroom observation seems to be the leading

method; however, observations are not without their

limitations. Most notably, researchers regard observations

as a limited tool in evaluating teacher's thinking (thought)

(Darling-Hammond, 1990; Medley et al., 1984; Shulman, 1988;

Stodolsky, 1990).

Classroom observation as a method of teacher assessment

can assume different forms, including behavior checklists,

category systems, summaries, and narrative records (See

Evertson & Green, 1986). Observation systems may be open or

closed, each with unique characteristics. In open systems,

the assessor makes a full description of all behavior as it

occurs without any reference to interpretation. Examples of

open systems are narrative records and summaries. These

systems produce a rich description of classroom events and








provide specific examples for discussion or analysis. In

particular, narrative records have several advantages.

First, narrative records allow for a natural approach to

understanding the classroom. Second, narrative records can

preserve the original sequencing of behavior and the context

in which it occurs. This holistic approach is more

comprehensive than selective approaches such as category

systems which are discussed next (Evertson & Holley, 1981).

In contrast, closed systems center on specific types or

patterns of behavior, as exemplified by behavior checklists

and category systems. Within a closed system, the assessor

records a behavior (or lack of behavior), event, or

interaction sequence (Stodolsky, 1990).

Another dimension of observation systems is whether they

are high inference or low inference. Low inference systems

require the assessor to identify behaviors that are codified.

The Florida Performance Measurement System (FPMS) and the

Classroom Observations Keyed for Effectiveness Research

(COKER) are two examples of low inference systems. Although

these systems have strong reliability and require less

assessor training, the disadvantage is that teaching is

viewed as a sum of discrete behaviors. Conversely, high

inference systems emphasize teaching as a holistic activity

within the context of a particular classroom. High inference

systems demand more assessor training and suffer from lower

reliability. An example of a high inference system is the

Salt Lake City procedure (See Wise, Darling-Hammond,








McLaughlin, & Bernstein, 1984), in which each classroom is

considered a contextual unit. Instead of focusing on generic

competencies, the district's conception of teaching is that a

variety of instruction approaches are compatible with

effective teaching.

Although observation systems may potentially help

teachers conceptualize their teaching behaviors, they are

riddled with problems (Good, 1980). One problem is that

observation systems are adopted too casually by state

education agencies. Typically, one state develops a system

and other states become interested. Seldom are the purposes

and limitations of new systems explored prior to adoption. A

second problem is the simplicity of observation systems:

Only a few behaviors are measured. Most observation systems

assume that certain patterns of behavior are effective,

resulting in an overinterpretation of particular behaviors.

Another weakness of observation systems is their inability to

assess proactive teaching behaviors such as teacher thinking.

Most classroom observations use nominal systems of two

categories: satisfactory and unsatisfactory. Although these

categories may be useful for employment retention or

dismissal, they are glaringly inadequate at contributing

substantively to teachers' professional development, another

purpose of assessment.

Despite criticisms, classroom observations are likely to

be the centerpiece of systematic assessment processes.

Improvements, however, are still needed. First, greater








clarity about the place of effective teaching behavior in

quality teaching is imperative (Evertson & Holley, 1981).

Second, researchers must determine optimum times in a

teacher's career for observation. Third, procedures for

observations need further refinement.

Summary

Peterson (1984) described two models of teacher

evaluation: discrepancy and emergent. The discrepancy model

defines a standard of good teaching and then compares

teachers to this standard. Teacher quality is judged by how

close teacher behavior matches behavior that is correlated

with high student outcomes. A problem with the discrepancy

model is that there is no universally agreed-upon description

of quality teaching. Another problem involves criteria or

methods that are unfair to particular individuals (e.g.,

standardized testing). Finally, the possession of minimum

competencies to meet a standard of teaching does not

guarantee their effective use in practice.

The emergent model asserts that teaching is contextually

and situationally dependent. When judging teacher

performance and effectiveness, an assessor must consider (a)

the complexity of teaching, (b) the value of teaching related

to specific students, and (c) the contextual dependency of

teaching. Emergent evaluations entail value judgments in the

form of a statement with supporting lines of evidence.

Methods of teacher assessment have strengths and

limitations based on the purposes of evaluation. Mehrens








(1990) stressed the importance of combining evaluation data

from multiple sources, particularly when career decisions are

made.

Because evaluations of teachers can lead to significant

decisions, assessment systems should provide the best data

possible. Conceivably, an ideal teacher assessment would

incorporate multiple sources of evidence about teachers and

their effects on students (Mehrens, 1990; Shulman, 1988;

Stodolsky, 1990). High-stakes decisions about teachers put

great demands on teacher assessment methods. Each method is

a lens into the complexity of teaching. In general, the more

lenses that are looked through, the better the decision is

likely to be (Mehrens, 1990). The following assessment

methods each have their own advantage. Pre- and post-

observation interviews can provide additional information

about teacher planning and thinking. Paper-and-pencil tests

may be used to assess subject-matter knowledge and

pedagogical content knowledge. Evidence of student learning

and attitudes may also be helpful. Finally, classroom

observations give us a view of the interaction, climate, and

rapport of the classroom that is available from no other

source.

Praxis III: Classroom Performance Assessments

Purpose

In 1987, the Educational Testing Service (ETS) created

and funded a group of test development leaders who were

instructed to turn educational and measurement goals into








reality. It was the job of one development leader, Carol

Anne Dwyer, to redesign the ETS assessment process for

licensing beginning teachers and, in turn, to create a new

generation of assessment methods. These new teacher

assessments were to benefit the individuals being assessed

and others who would make use of information regarding

beginning teacher performance. ETS expected the results of

this effort to be available by 1992. Several requirements

were made of this project. First, the project must function

from a solid research and development foundation and build on

technology and educational reform. Second, the project

should coalesce with other research and development efforts,

such as Stanford's Teacher Assessment Project, the Holmes

Group, the Rand Corporation, research at Michigan State

University, and the Board for Professional Teaching

Standards. Third, the answers to questions of measurement,

technology, and educational policy should have

generalizability to other assessment situations (Dwyer,

1989).

The initial goal was to identify important events in the

process of becoming a teacher and develop multiple assessment

methods. At these times and with the appropriate methods,

individuals would be assessed on enabling skills, subject-

matter knowledge, pedagogical knowledge, and pedagogical-

content skills.

The Praxis Series: Professional Assessments for

Beginning Teachers" is a comprehensive series of classroom








performance assessments for beginning teachers. The

assessment consists of three stages that are part of the

licensing process. Each stage corresponds to events in a

teacher's career and in licensing decisions.

Stage 1. Stage 1 assessments are designed to be taken

as early as possible in a student's undergraduate program or

soon after the decision to become a teacher is made. Using a

computer-based approach, prospective teachers are evaluated

on enabling skills (i.e., reading, writing, and mathematics).

Practice tests are a special feature of the first stage

(Dwyer, 1991).

Stage 2. In the second stage, the Praxis II: Subject

Assessments assesses subject-matter knowledge and pedagogical

principles. These assessments utilize the more traditional

assessment methods of paper-and-pencil measures. Completion

of these assessments should take place at the end of teacher

preparation or formal coursework. Although Praxis II is

nationally developed and administered, individual states may

tailor some of the modules (Dwyer, 1991).

Stage 3. The third stage of the Praxis Series, Praxis

III: Classroom Performance Assessments, emphasizes

understanding and making judgments about the act of teaching.

Praxis III does not duplicate the assessment of subject-

matter knowledge (Praxis II) but assesses the application of

this knowledge in specific classroom settings. This final

assessment is designed to be administered toward the end of

an internship or during the first year of teaching for those








states requiring a performance-based assessment as a part of

licensing. Although Praxis III is predominantly a

performance-based assessment, a paper-and-pencil task is

required to provide classroom and instructional information.

The entire Praxis Series: Professional Assessments for

Beginning Teachers" was developed for licensing decisions of

beginning teachers typically made by states or local

education agencies. Praxis III, however, was not intended

for use in making decisions about teachers who are already

licensed (Dwyer, 1994). Praxis III is the subject of the

remainder of this section, which includes a description of

the development of the knowledge base, the relationship

between assessment and professional development, the

instrument development, and the emerging uses.

Guidina Conceptions and Assessment Principles

A conception of teaching and, specifically, a conception

of effective teaching are fundamental to teacher assessment,

yet the conception is often not stated clearly by developers

because of empirical, theoretical, and value differences

about the characteristics of good teaching (Stodolsky, 1990).

During the initial stages of the development of Praxis III,

the researchers found it necessary to state explicitly a

guiding conception of teaching and learning and a set of

criteria for assessment of beginning teaching. The guiding

conceptions are founded in Dwyer and Villegas's (1993)

multicultural view of teaching. They maintain that teaching

requires engaging students as active learners to promote








changes in their pre-existing knowledge. Additionally,

teachers must consider students' background, experiences,

interests, and abilities and must continually accommodate the

diverse needs of their students by modifying their teaching.

In operationalizing this conception, the developers of Praxis

III used three assessment principles (Dwyer, 1993). First,

teacher assessment should contribute to the understanding of

teaching. Teacher assessments should not only reflect the

view of teachers as professionals but should also reveal the

future direction of the profession. Second, teacher

assessment should represent the complexity of teaching and

learning, avoiding the prescription of a right way to teach..

Multiple assessment methods grounded in theory and practice

are necessary because teaching is complex and highly

interactive. Further, teacher assessment is a process that

entails a high degree of professional judgment. Third,

teacher assessment should promote equity among all teachers

and students.

Instrument Development

What aspects of teaching should be assessed? The

process of developing a knowledge base for Praxis III took

approximately 6 years. The goal of the developers was to

identify the knowledge base in research and practice and to

translate this knowledge base into criteria that illustrate

teaching and can be fairly and validly assessed. During this

process, three main sources were used: practitioners, the

research community, and state teacher licensing authorities








(Dwyer, 1993, 1994). These sources represent three

fundamentally different paradigms, because their basic

assumptions, methodologies, and values differ. With the

practicing teachers, three formal job analyses were conducted

on the requirements of elementary, middle, and high school

teaching. Practicing teachers were asked about the

importance of specific aspects of the work of beginning

teachers. Teachers were encouraged to make suggestions about

other aspects of teaching that they deemed significant. For

the research/theoretical perspective, a series of research

reviews about important knowledge and skills for beginning

and experienced teachers were conducted, with particular

emphasis on multicultural educational practices. For the

state perspective, a nationwide content analysis of state

performance assessment requirements was conducted.

From these main sources came the knowledge base that

Praxis developers drafted into an initial set of assessment

criteria. After several iterations of the criteria by a

national advisory panel including experienced teachers,

prominent teacher educators, and ETS staff, cycles of

fieldwork began. Most of the fieldwork was conducted in

Delaware and Minnesota with the help of teachers. These

teachers became involved in refining the assessment criteria

and scoring rules, developing the assessor training process,

and piloting the system.

Two important tests of quality were necessary before the

criteria were accepted. First, the criteria had to exemplify








the essentials of good professional practice that teachers

acknowledge. Several revisions resulted from a better

understanding of teachers' perception of their work (Powers,

1992; Rosenfeld, Freeberg, & Bukatko, 1992; Rosenfeld,

Reynolds, & Bukatko, 1992; Rosenfeld, Wilder, & Bukatko,

1992; Wesley, Rosenfeld, & Sims-Gunzenhauser, 1993). The

second test of quality was determining whether the criteria

reflected the relationship between teacher education and the

indicators of the requirements of teaching competency. To

some extent, the relationship is important for aligning

teachers' perceptions of their preparation with the realities

of their work.

Praxis III Framework

The results of intensive research and fieldwork were 19

specific assessment criteria grouped into four domains:

organizing content for student learning, creating an

environment for student learning, teaching for student

learning, and advancing teacher professionalism. Because the

underlying conception states that teaching is complex and

interactive, these domains should be thought of as

interrelated, not independent components (Dwyer, 1993). The

four domains are described briefly along with the specific

criteria composing each domain (See Appendix A). For further

description of each criterion, the reader is referred to

Dwyer (1994) or the Praxis III materials.

Domain A: Oraanizina content knowledge for student

learning. Application of content knowledge is the focus of








assessment in Domain A. With their students' background

knowledge and experience in mind, teachers must (a) decide on

learning goals, (b) sequence instruction for curricular

goals, (c) select appropriate methods, activities, and

materials, and (d) select evaluation strategies to reflect

learned goals. These criteria are assessed primarily through

teacher-prepared written documentation and semi-structured

interviews. Classroom observation may also contribute to the

assessment evidence.

Domain B: Creatina an environment for student learning.

The focus of Domain B is on the personal interactions in the

classroom between teachers and students and among students.

Teachers address issues of (a) fairness, (b) rapport, (c)

challenging expectations, (d) standards of classroom

behavior, and (e) the safety of the physical environment.

Although classroom observations will provide the primary

evidence for this domain, supporting evidence may be used

from the semi-structured interviews.

Domain C: Teachina for student learning. Domain C

relates to the act of teaching in which the purpose is to

connect the students with the content. Content refers to the

knowledge, skills, perceptions, and values of subject matter.

Teachers provide evidence of (a) clear goals and procedures,

(b) comprehensible content, (c) extended student thinking,

(d) monitoring understanding, and (e) effective use of

instructional time. Most of the evidence for these criteria








will be drawn from classroom observation. Information gained

through interviews may enhance the evidence.

Domain D: Teacher professionalism. In this domain,

teachers evaluate their own effectiveness and discuss aspects

of the lesson. The assessor obtains information through a

postobservation interview. Questions will focus on (a)

meeting learning goals, (b) attaining a sense of efficacy,

(c) building professional relationships, and (d)

communicating with parents/guardians.

There are three main steps in the assessment process of

Praxis III. The first step involves the assessor collecting

data in a variety of ways: conferences, interviews,

observation, and documentation. In the next step, the

assessor reflects and analyzes the data collected. For the

final step, the assessor reaches a judgment about the

teacher's performance. To provide feedback to the teacher,

the assessor provides explanations and summary documentation.

Each criterion has a rating scale that includes illustrations

at each of three levels of performance. These are used as

guides by the assessor when interpreting data. Questions are

provided for assessor reflection (See Appendix B).

Reflection and Performance

Praxis III was designed under the assumption that

effective teaching requires both thought and action working

simultaneously. In keeping with this assumption, each domain

is examined from both perspectives (Dwyer, 1994). Thus, an

examination of each domain requires multiple methods of








assessment (i.e., classroom observation, teacher-prepared

written documents, and semi-structured interviews).

Critical to a teacher's thought and action is the

conception that each perspective must be adapted to

accommodate the specific students in a particular teaching

situation. Effective teaching then relies on knowledge of

subject matter and students. Teacher assessment should focus

on how a teacher adapts instruction to four classroom context

variables: subject matter, students' individual differences,

students' developmental levels, and students' cultural

backgrounds. Consequently, teacher assessment should not

impose the use of any particular method of teaching.

Assessment and Professional Development

Praxis III has the primary purpose of a summative

evaluation--licensing beginning teachers. A formative role,

however, is needed. The developers of Praxis III believe the

following basic principle: assessment must be targeted on

the teacher's level of professional development. It is

unlikely that beginning teachers possesses all the knowledge

and skills of competent teachers. Teaching effectiveness

develops slowly and gradually. The process of acquiring

knowledge and skills of an expert teacher takes years.

Therefore assessments of beginning teachers should provide

sound information for professional development. In turn,

these assessments should be aligned with later assessments,

such as those by the National Board of Professional Teaching

Standards (NBPTS). The Praxis III performance assessment








criteria has been compared to (a) the early

adolescence/generalist standards of the NBPTS, (b) the model

standards for beginning teachers of the Interstate New

Teacher Assessment and Support Consortium, and (c) the

outcome-based standards of the National Association of State

Directors of Teacher Education and Certification (Ingwerson,

1994).

The formative information gained through Praxis III

should provide a learning experience for the beginning

teacher. If the ability to teach can be acquired, then

beginning teachers should be given the opportunity to

improve. Teacher assessments should contribute information

about the knowledge and skills that are being evaluated.

Implications for Research

The literature reviewed in this chapter provides a

theoretical and empirical basis for this study. Little is

known about the effects of teacher preparation on the

classroom performance of beginning teachers. Researchers

have confirmed the differences between programs in general

and special education in terms of traditional program

characteristics. Recent studies have examined the

differences in how experienced general and special education

teachers think and make decisions.

The literature on effective teaching and learning to

teach has presented us with considerable information on what

beginning teachers know and do and what effective teachers

know and do. Reynolds (1992) stated that teacher assessment








developers are left with the task of deciding what competent

beginning teachers should know and do. More examination is

needed into how competent performance may differ across

teaching philosophies and orientations.

Teacher development theory provides a basis for

examining teachers in different stages of their development.

By starting to construct profiles of first-year teachers

through Praxis III, teacher educators could use this

developmental information to revise instructional content and

learning experiences to meet preservice teachers'

developmental needs and to promote further growth. In

addition, Praxis III may be used to delineate and solve the

problems and limitations of teacher development theory.

The current trend toward sound assessments for teacher

licensure has produced an innovative teacher assessment

system in The Praxis Series: Professional Assessments for

Beginning Teachers". The use of Praxis III for licensure

will have broad effects for teacher education.

This study begins to establish a research base by

examing the effects of teacher preparation on the classroom

performance of beginning teachers. As profiles of these

teachers begin to emerge, the role of teacher development

theory in teacher preparation may become more clear to

teacher educators.














CHAPTER III
METHODS AND PROCEDURES

Introduction

The purpose of this study was to compare the effects of

teacher preparation on the classroom performance of beginning

teachers in special and general education. Several key

aspects of classroom performance were examined: (a)

organizing content knowledge for student learning, (b)

creating an environment for student learning, (c) teaching

for student learning, and (d) teacher professionalism. To

determine these effects, observations using Praxis III:

Classroom Performance Assessment were conducted. In this

chapter, the methods and procedures of the study are

presented. The chapter begins with a review of the

hypothesis. The second section presents the methods and

includes descriptions of the subjects and sampling

procedures. The subsequent sections include descriptions of

the research procedures and the treatment of data.

Description of the Null Hypothesis

The following null hypothesis was tested in the study:

There is no statistically significant difference between

beginning special education and beginning general education

teachers on measures of classroom performance.

The 19 criteria of Praxis III were used to test this

hypothesis.








Methods

Description of the Subiects

The sample consisted of 47 teachers teaching in public

elementary schools in Florida. Information about each

teacher was obtained through the completion of a candidate

profile (see Appendix C). Each teacher in the sample was a

graduate from a teacher preparation program at one of four

state universities: University of Florida (UF), Florida

State University (FSU), University of Central Florida (UCF),

and University of South Florida (USF). All teachers were

employed in positions for which they were certified (e.g.,

special education teacher with special education degree). As

first-year teachers, they were participants in the Florida

Professional Orientation Program (POP), a state required

beginning teacher program. All observations took place at

comprehensive elementary schools that included kindergarten

through fifth grade. Although most teachers in the study

taught all or most elementary school subjects, some special

and general education teachers had a primary teaching

assignment of reading/language arts or math/sciences.

Samolina Procedures

To identify a pool of beginning teachers, a list of

graduates and the districts in which they were employed was

obtained from the Florida Department of Education. The total

pool of qualified beginning teachers (general and special

education) was plotted on a map of the Florida districts.

Several districts were eliminated for the following reasons:








(a) unbalanced numbers of available general and special

education teachers, (b) unrepresentative numbers from the

four state universities, and (c) time and expense required

for travel. Next, a stratified, random sample of the

beginning teachers from the chosen districts was selected.

The population was stratified by university and type of

preservice teacher education program (i.e., special and

general education). The beginning teachers in the random

sample were sent a letter that included a brief explanation

of the study and a postcard to return if they would like to

participate (see Appendix D). Their permission was obtained

to meet the University of Florida Institutional Review Board

regulations (Committee for the Protection of Human Subjects)

(see Appendix E).

The number of postcards returned did not result in an

adequate sample size; therefore, follow-up phone calls were

made to enlist more participation. Telephone contact with

beginning teachers also provided the opportunity to determine

typical reasons that some chose not to participate. Those

reasons included (a) the number of required observations for

the beginning teacher program, (b) concern that their

teaching situations would not provide an accurate

illustration of what typically occurs in the classroom, and

(c) general feelings of stress.

Three factors were considered in determining the sample

size. First, the alpha level was set at a conservative level

(.05) so that the probability of a Type I error (rejecting a








true null hypothesis) was minimized. Second, without a

theoretical base from which to predict an effect size, the

effect size was conservatively estimated to be between .50

and .60. Third, power of .80 was targeted to adequately

detect any differences between the two groups. Therefore,

the sample size of 47 was considered acceptable (Shavelson,

1988).

Description of the Research Instrumentation

The research instrument used in the study, Praxis III:

Classroom Performance Assessment, is an assessment system

that uses three data-collection methods: direct observation

of classroom practice, written descriptions of the students

and what they are to learn, and interviews that are

structured around the classroom observation. Following the

postobservation interview, the assessor reviews all the notes

taken from the preobservation interview, observation, and

postobservation interview as well as the teacher-prepared

written documents.

Data Collection Procedures

Evidence is gathered for each criterion and may come

from any source within the assessment cycle. The assessor

compiles positive and/or negative evidence for each

criterion. The most pertinent evidence is then selected and

transferred to the Record of Evidence form (see Appendix F).

After careful consideration of the evidence for each

criterion, the assessor writes a summary statement connecting

the evidence to the scoring rules for that criterion. A








score is then assigned for each criterion based on the

scoring rules. The criterion score range is from 1.0 to 3.5

with a score at each .5 interval (e.g., 1.0, 1.5). Scoring

rules and scoring matrices for each criterion can be found in

Appendix G.

For each criterion, evidence should be (a) relevant to

the criterion, (b) free of bias, (c) an accurate

representation of events, and (d) of sufficient quantity to

support a judgment. A summary statement must summarize the

evidence cited, refer to all parts of the scoring rule, and

support the score assigned.

The time required for the assessment cycle varies for

each individual. The preobservation interview lasts

approximately 20 minutes. Following the interview, a

classroom observation is conducted that lasts a class period

or the length of a lesson. The postobservation interview

completes the cycle and requires from 20 to 30 minutes. One

to 2 hours is required by the assessor to score each domain.

Validity and Reliability

Praxis III was developed during 6 years of extensive

research by personnel at the Educational Testing Service

(ETS). The developers considered it essential to articulate

both a guiding conception of teaching and learning and a set

of criteria by which beginning teaching could be assessed.

The guiding conception, discussed in detail in Chapter II,

clarified the research and development effort that culminated

in the 19 Praxis III criteria.








Prior to determination of the 19 criteria, the

developers identified a knowledge base from which to

establish an initial set of assessment criteria. The

knowledge base was derived from three main sources of

evidence: practicing teachers, the research/theoretical

perspective, and teacher licensing requirements. This was

done to consider multiple perspectives rather than rely on

one paradigm of effective teaching.

Knowledge base. The first major source of information

in the development of the Praxis III assessment consisted of

practicing teachers. The developers conducted large-scale

studies to determine important tasks required of beginning

teaching (see Rosenfeld, Freeberg, & Bukatko, 1992;

Rosenfeld, Reynolds, & Bukatko, 1992; Rosenfeld, Wilder, &

Bukatko, 1992). Surveys were sent to teachers from

elementary, middle, and secondary levels. The respondents

were asked about the importance of specific tasks from their

own teaching as well as beginning teaching. Further, the

respondents were asked to identify other important aspects of

teaching that may not have been included in the survey.

The second source of information was a series of

research reviews. Guided by a panel of experts (e.g., D.

Berliner, R. Calfee, L. Delpit, and A. Hilliard), researchers

reviewed literature on effective teaching, effective

beginning teaching, and effective teaching in multicultural

classrooms. Thus theoretical perspectives and research








findings strengthened the knowledge base provided by

practicing teachers.

The third source of evidence for the knowledge base was

an analysis of states' regulations and practices regarding

beginning teacher assessments. Through a nationwide content

analysis of state performance assessment requirements,

information was identified and compiled. Developers focused

on the requirements related to the assessment of actual

teaching rather than on other knowledge, skill, experience,

or educational attainment.

Criterion development. From the three sources described

above, a knowledge base for the assessment of beginning

teachers was formed. The development team used this

knowledge base to draft an initial set of assessment

criteria. At this point a National Advisory Committee

reviewed the research base and the draft assessment criteria.

Members advised the development team to bring the criteria

more in line with the guiding conceptions and organizing

framework. The team then developed several revised versions

of the assessment criteria and conducted small-scale pilot

studies to test their effectiveness in actual teaching

situations. From these studies, the criteria and the

assessment process underwent extensive changes. Large-scale

fieldwork was then conducted to further refine criteria.

During this phase of the research process, scoring rules were

developed and clarified by collaborating teachers and

researchers. Concurrent with the refinement of the








assessment criteria, field studies also focused on assessor

training. Several modifications were made to clarify

particular scoring rules and enhance note taking, coding, and

use of multiple sources of evidence. Additional assessors

were then trained using the finalized version of the Praxis

III assessment system. A more complete description of the

process of developing the criteria and the knowledge base for

each of the 19 assessment criteria can be found in Dwyer

(1994).

A preliminary analysis of data collected during field

testing indicated a moderate to high level of inter-rater

agreement between paired assessors who observed the same

teaching event (Dwyer, 1994). To date, no inter-rater

reliability data have been published. ETS does not emphasize

inter-rater reliability; rather they stress the importance of

using certified assessors. Ultimately, therefore, the

validity of Praxis III rests on the rigor of the assessor

training (Klem, personal communication, 1994; Villegas,

1992).

Description of the Procedures

Assessment Cycle

The collection of data for this study was conducted

through an interactive process consisting of the four phases

of Praxis III: preobservation interview, classroom

observation, postobservation interview, and recording/scoring

of evidence. This set of phases is referred to as an








assessment cycle and was conducted for each beginning

teacher.

Preobservation interview. Prior to the preobservation

interview, the assessor provided each teacher with three

forms to complete: Candidate Profile (see Appendix C), Class

Profile (see Appendix H), and Instruction Profile (see

Appendix I). These forms supplied written documentation to

convey a sense of the general classroom context and

characteristics of the students in the class, as well as

specific information about the lesson to be observed. The

written documentation included a sketch of the classroom and

a seating chart to facilitate the questioning during the

interview. The purpose of the semi-structured,

preobservation interview was to provide insight into the

teacher's planning for the observed lesson. The assessor

asked a series of questions related to the Class Profile,

Instruction Profile, and the planned lesson. Questions

allowed for a free-flow response from the teacher (see

Appendix J). Notes were recorded by the assessor using a

laptop computer.

Classroom observation. During the observation of the

planned lesson, the assessor transcribed an account of the

unfolding events using a laptop computer. Teacher behavior,

student behavior, and teacher-student interaction during the

lesson was recorded. Summary statements restricted to

observable behavior were allowed. During this phase, no

judgments or interpretations were made.








Postobservation interview. The postobservation

interview was conducted as soon after the planned lesson as

possible. The purpose of this interview was to allow for

exploration of the teacher's rationales for his or her

decisions and practices as well as an opportunity for

reflection on his or her teaching practice. The assessor's

questions produced free-flow responses from the subjects (see

Appendix K). Again, laptop computers were used for taking

notes.

Recordina/scoring of evidence. Following the data

collection, the assessor analyzed the data from all of the

sources. After a thorough analysis, the assessor evaluated

the beginning teacher using a set of specific criteria and

scoring rules to procure ratings for each of the criteria.

Assessors supported their professional judgments by citing

specific evidence for their ratings.

Assessor Trainina

Following intensive training by ETS personnel, each

assessor was able to document a teacher's performance and to

interpret and score collected data accurately in a wide

variety of classroom contexts. The degree of accuracy was

determined by how close the assessors' ratings were to the

preestablished scores. Assessor training consisted of 5 days

of highly interactive instruction using a wide range of

stimuli such as, videotapes, simulations, and printed

materials (e.g., sample records of evidence). Throughout the

training, participants receive feedback from the instructor,








other participants, and answer keys of the exercises. After

4 days of training, assessors conducted a field test of the

assessment system, then returned for a fifth day of targeted

skill reinforcement and consolidation. During their final

session, assessors demonstrated competency on an assessor

proficiency test. Competency was judged by how close the

assessors' ratings were to the preestablished scores. This

test was performance-based and allowed assessors to

demonstrate the entire range of assessment activities that

they will encounter in practice.

Assessors were specifically instructed that there is a

wide range of acceptable teaching styles that may or may not

match their own teaching preferences. Furthermore, training

personnel emphasized the importance of including documented

information about the classroom context into the ratings. In

particular, assessors were trained not to penalize teachers

in difficult teaching situations for circumstances beyond

their control.

Both assessors used in this study were trained at the

same time by ETS personnel. Several of those involved in

training the assessors were also involved in the development

of the instrument. Each of the assessors was a doctoral

student in the College of Education at the University of

Florida and each had gained some experience with Praxis III

prior to collecting data for this study.





59


Treatment of the Data

The major research question was to determine whether

there was significant differences between the two groups of

teachers on all 19 criteria of Praxis III. Because the

domains of Praxis III and their corresponding criteria were

designed to be interrelated to mirror the integrated nature

of teaching, these 19 measures are not assumed to be

statistically independent of each other (Dwyer, 1994). Thus,

a one-way, between-groups multivariate analysis of variance

(MANOVA) was used to test the hypothesis. Because the MANOVA

indicated a significant difference between the two groups, a

series of one-way analysis of variances (ANOVAs) were

conducted for each criterion.














CHAPTER IV
RESULTS

Introduction

The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects

of teacher preparation on the classroom performance of

beginning teachers (special and general education) in several

key areas: (a) organizing content knowledge for student

learning, (b) creating an environment for student learning,

(c) teaching for student learning, and (d) teacher

professionalism. The general question of the study was as

follows: Do beginning special education teachers differ from

beginning general education teachers in their classroom

performance? To investigate this question, the classroom

performance of beginning special education teachers was

compared to the performance of beginning general education

teachers.

To determine the effects of teacher preparation on

classroom performance, observations using Praxis III were

conducted on 25 special education teachers and 22 general

education teachers who had graduated from four state

universities in Florida: University of Florida (UF), Florida

State University (FSU), University of Central Florida (UCF),

and University of South Florida (USF). All of the teachers

in both groups taught at the elementary level and were in










their first year of teaching. This chapter contains the

results of the statistical analyses of data from this study.

Comparison of Demoaraphic Characteristics

The data were analyzed to determine if any differences

existed between the teacher preparation groups (general and

special education) on any of the measures. This section

includes a description of the analyses and the results.

Table 1 shows the demographic distribution of study

participants in the two groups. Chi-square analyses were

completed to determine if there were any preexisting

differences between the two groups of teachers with respect

to gender, age, race, and university.

The chi-square tests revealed no statistically

significant differences between special education teachers

and general education teachers. The majority of both groups

were female (96% and 86% respectively for special and general

education teachers). Among the special education teachers,

84% were under 34 years of age and 91% of the general

education teachers were in this age group. All (100%) of the

special education teachers and 95% of the general education

teachers were white. The distribution by university was

nearly even as exhibited by the chi-square and associated p-

value of 0.985. Therefore, the two groups are comparable

with respect to age, gender, race, and university attended.









Table 1

Distribution of Participants by Demoaraphic Characteristics

Special Education General Education

n % n %

Gender


Female


Male 1

(Chi-square = 1.396, 1,


96

4

: = 0.237)


<25

25-34

35-44


45-54 1 4

(Chi-square = 2.298, 3, E = 0.513)

Race

White 25 100

Black 0 0

(Chi-square = 1.161, 1, o = 0.281)


University

UF 9

FSU 4

UCF 6

USF 6

(Chi-square = 0.150,


36

16

24

24

3, = 0.985)


Total 25 100% 22 100%


Total


25 100%


22 100%








Criterion and Domain Scores

The means and standard deviations of the 19 criterion

scores and domain scores were calculated for each group.

These figures are presented in Tables 2-6.

Table 2
Summary of Domain Scores by Group

Special Educators(n=25) General Educators(n=22)
Mean Mean
Domain (Std. Dev.) (Std. Dev.)

A 11.58 11.52
(2.03) (1.57)

B 13.80 12.50
(1.60) (1.78)

C 12.20 12.27
(1.68) (2.16)

D 10.04 10.02
(1.31) (1.48)

Table 3
Summary of Domain A Criterion Scores by Group

Special Educators(n=25) General Educators(n=22)
Mean Mean
Criterion (Std. Dev.) (Std. Dev.)

Al 2.64 2.52
(.511) (.475)

A2 2.28 2.00
(.678) (.672)

A3 2.02 2.43
(.489) (.541)

A4 2.66 2.50
(.494) (.345)

A5 1.98 2.09
(.568) (.453)











Table 4
Summary of Domain B Criterion Scores by Group

Special Educators(n=25) General Educators(n=22)
Mean Mean
Criterion (Std. Dev.) (Std. Dev.)

B1 2.64 2.20
(.468) (.630)

B2 2.82 2.57
(.518) (.541)

B3 2.56 2.25
(.565) (.668)

B4 3.10 2.59
(.289) (.590)

B5 2.68 2.89
(.430) (.342)



Table 5
Summary of Domain C Criterion Scores by Group

Special Educators(n=25) General Educators(n=22)
Mean Mean
Criterion (Std. Dev.) (Std. Dev.)

C1 2.40 2.34
(.577) (.679)

C2 2.52 2.43
(.586) (.642)

C3 1.80 2.30
(.479) (.718)

C4 2.78 2.59
(.435) (.549)

C5 2.70 2.61
(.408) (.533)








Table 6
Summary of Domain D Criterion Scores by Group

Special Educators(n=25) General Educators(n=22)
Mean Mean
Criterion (Std. Dev.) (Std. Dev.)

D1 2.42 2.25
(.687) (.783)

D2 2.52 2.45
(.510) (.533)

D3 2.56 2.93
(.464) (.417)

D4 2.54 2.39
(.431) (.435)


Test of Hypothesis

A one-way, between-groups multivariate analysis of

variance (MANOVA) was used to test the hypothesis that there

would be no differences between the groups on the 19

criteria. The MANOVA revealed significant differences

between groups on at least one variable [Hotelling's (19,27)

= 2.791, 2 = 0.001].

Based on the results of Hotelling's MANOVA (p<0.05), the

mull hypothesis was rejected. Special education teachers

differed from general education teachers on at least one of

the criteria.

To determine which criteria were the sources of the

differences between special education and general education

teachers, one-way analyses of variance (ANOVAs) were








conducted for each criterion. Table 7 shows the results of

these analyses.



Table 7

Summary of Univariate Analysis of Variance for 19 Criteria

Dependent F df p
Measure

Al 0.66 1,45 .421

A2 2.01 1,45 .163

A3 7.51 1,45 .009*

A4 1.61 1,45 .211

A5 0.54 1,45 .467

B1 7.35 1,45 .009*

B2 2.65 1,45 .110

B3 2.97 1,45 .092

B4 14.65 1,45 .000*

B5 3.25 1,45 .078

C1 0.10 1,45 .749

C2 0.24 1,45 .625

C3 7.92 1,45 .007*

C4 1.73 1,45 .195

C5 0.39 1,45 .533

D1 0.63 1,45 .432

D2 0.19 1,45 .669

D3 8.27 1,45 .006*

D4 1.48 1,45 .231

*Significant at the D<.05 level.








Sources of Significant Differences

The data collected through the interviews and

observations, as documented on the Records of Evidence, were

used to establish the scores for each criterion within Praxis

III. The criteria on which significant differences between

groups were obtained are described in this section. Examples

of teacher responses and behaviors are provided.

Criterion A3

Criterion A3 measured the teachers' ability to

demonstrate an understanding of the connections between the

content that was learned previously, the current content, and

the content that remains to be learned in the future.

General education teachers scored significantly higher than

special education teachers on this criterion.

General education teachers tended to explain accurately

how the content of the current lesson related to the content

of previous and future lessons, and they were also able to

explain how the current lesson fits within the structure of

the discipline. As a group, special education teachers were

less able to explain how the current lesson fits within the

larger goals of learning in the discipline. For example, in

a preobservation interview question about the organization of

the subject or discipline, one general education teacher

provided a detailed explanation of how the observed lesson on

planets and their order from the sun directly related to a

unit on astronomy that included stars, galaxies, and solar

systems. Given the same preobservation question, one special








educator responded by relating the current reading lesson to

prior lessons in which students learned letter names and

sounds.

Criterion B1

Criterion B1 examines the teachers' creation of a

climate that promotes fairness. Special education teachers

scored significantly higher than general education teachers

on this criterion.

Special education teachers tended to be fair in their

treatment of and attention to students and actively

encouraged fairness among students during lesson

observations. For example, during the classroom observation,

one special educator responded quickly to demeaning

statements made by a student. The teacher encouraged the

students to show respect for each other by not using unfair

statements. Many general education teachers restricted equal

access to learning by overattending to certain students in

the class and excluding others during student-teacher

interactions. For example, one general educator consistently

ignored students who were off-task without attempting to

reengage them in the lesson.

Criterion B4

Criterion B4 focuses on establishing and maintaining

consistent standards of classroom behavior. Special

education teachers scored significantly higher than general

education teachers on this criterion.








During classroom observations, special education

teachers tended to respond to minor misbehavior consistently

and they experienced reasonable success in reducing those

behaviors. For example, several special educators responded

to students calling out answers by reminding them of the rule

and reinforcing those students that responded appropriately.

In contrast, general education teachers tended to respond

inconsistently to minor misbehavior and had less success in

reducing those behaviors. For example, several general

educators corrected the inappropriate behavior of students in

some instances, while allowing the same behavior to occur

uncorrected at other times.

Criterion C3

Criterion C3 examined the methods teachers use to extend

student thinking. General education teachers scored

significantly higher than special education teachers on this

criterion.

General education teachers tended to use activities that

were specifically designed to encourage students to think

independently, creatively, or critically about the lesson

content. These activities promoted the extension of student

thinking beyond the current lesson. For example, one general

education teacher conducted a lesson on letter writing. The

teacher designed a learning activity in which students would

write a letter to themselves. The students were to write

about (a) what they were looking forward to the next school

year, (b) what they would miss most about fifth grade, and








(c) what they saw themselves doing in the year 2002, after

graduation. The teacher planned to send the letters to her

students in the year 2002. This lesson required students to

think creatively about their lives in the present and future.

Special education teachers were more likely to encourage

students to think independently, creatively, or critically,

but this only occurred within the existing context of the

lesson. Some of the techniques that special educators used

during the observed lessons included asking open-ended

questions and making predictions about story outcomes.

Criterion D3

The focus of Criterion D3 was the building of

professional relationships with colleagues to share teaching

insights and to coordinate learning activities for students.

General education teachers scored significantly higher than

special education teachers on this criterion.

General education teachers tended to demonstrate

knowledge of available resources and to consult with

colleagues on matters related to student learning. They also

collaborated frequently with other teachers to coordinate

learning activities for their students. General educators

were likely to work with other teachers on their grade level

as well as teachers from other grade levels.

Special educators also demonstrated knowledge of

available resources and consulted with colleagues on matters

related to student learning, but they were less likely to

collaborate with colleagues to coordinate learning








activities. Several special education teachers noted that

the isolated and specialized nature of their job contributed

to their lack of opportunities for frequent, informal

collaboration.

Summary

The purpose of this study was to determine the effects

of teacher preparation on classroom performance of beginning

teachers in general and special education. The dependent

measures were the 19 criteria on an instrument designed to

assess beginning teachers for licensure, PRAXIS III:

Classroom Performance Assessment.

A MANOVA was used to test the following null hypothesis:

There will be no statistically significant difference between

the groups on measures of classroom performance.

Significant differences between special and general education

teachers were detected, which resulted in the rejection of

the null hypothesis. These differences were detected on 5 of

the 19 criteria on Praxis III. General educators scored

significantly higher on measures of Criterion A3, C3, and D3.

Special educators score significantly higher on measures of

Criterion B1 and B4. The implications of these results are

discussed in Chapter V.














CHAPTER V
DISCUSSION



The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of

teacher preparation on the classroom performance of beginning

teachers in general and special education. Several key

domains of classroom performance were examined: (a)

organizing content knowledge for student learning, (b)

creating an environment for student learning, (c) teaching

for student learning, and (d) teacher professionalism. One

hypothesis was formulated and tested. The general question

of the study was as follows: Does teacher preparation in

general education or special education affect the classroom

performance of beginning teachers? To determine these

effects, observations using Praxis III: Classroom

Performance Assessment were conducted.

Overview of Research Findings

In this section, the null hypothesis is reviewed, along

with the findings. An explanation of the relationship

between the hypothesis and the respective domains and

criteria of Praxis III is provided.

The 19 criteria of Praxis III were used to test the

hypothesis that there is no statistically significant

difference between beginning special education and beginning

general education teachers on measures of classroom








performance. Significant differences were indicated between

the two groups; therefore, the null hypothesis was rejected.

These differences were detected on five criteria.

In Domain A, organizing content knowledge for student

learning, general educators scored significantly higher than

special educators on the criterion (Criterion A3) that

related to the teacher's ability to demonstrate an

understanding of the connections between the content that was

learned previously, the current content, and the content that

remains to be learned in the future. On measures of creating

an environment for student learning, Domain B, special

educators scored significantly higher than general educators

on the criterion (Criterion Bl) that related to the creation

of a climate that promotes fairness. Special educators also

scored significantly higher than general educators on the

criterion (Criterion B4) that related to establishing and

maintaining consistent standards of classroom behavior.

In Domain C, teaching for student learning, general

educators scored significantly higher than special educators

on the criterion (Criterion C3) that related to encouraging

students to extend their thinking. On measures of teacher

professionalism, Domain D, general educators scored

significantly higher than special educators on the criterion

(Criterion D3) that related to building professional

relationships with colleagues to share teaching insights and

to coordinate learning activities for students.








Implications of the Research Findings

Teacher development theory was applied to this study to

increase understanding of the initial stage of teacher

development. The following sections contain (a) theoretical

implications, (b) implications for beginning teacher

knowledge base, and (c) implications for teacher education.

Theoretical Implications

Although teachers appear to progress through several

stages of development in the process of becoming a competent

teacher, these stages are characterized by a variety of

behaviors. During a stage of development, a teacher may

exhibit a wide range of competency in classroom behaviors and

skills. This range of skills may be one reason for the lack

of clarity in the descriptions of the developmental-stage

models (Burden, 1990). Praxis III may provide teacher

development theorists with clearer descriptions of the

various characteristics of beginning teacher development.

Results of this study indicate that, while all of the

teachers appeared to be in the initial stage of teaching

(survival), some teaching behaviors and skills were different

for the two groups. For example, special education teachers

in this study exhibited strengths in establishing and

maintaining consistent standards of behavior in contrast to

the expectation of beginning teacher performance established

by teacher development theory. Clearly, the differences in

preparation of the special education teachers contributed to








this finding, but the theory of teacher development does not

consider preparation other than general education.

One responsibility of university field supervisors and

school administrators is to help preservice and inservice

teachers improve their instruction by facilitating their

development. With knowledge of the theory of teacher

development, supervisors could, perhaps, become more

effective in their use of Praxis III as a tool to promote

professional growth. Similarly, if these supervisors

understand the differences in teacher preparation between

special and general education, their ability to apply teacher

development theory in practice may be enhanced.

Teacher development theory characterizes the initial

stage of teaching as a survival stage. Teachers in this

stage tend to (a) have difficulty with curriculum

development, (b) struggle with evaluation of student

progress, and (c) be more concerned with their own

performance than with student learning (Burden, 1990). The

evidence from classroom observations and interviews indicates

that both groups exhibited characteristics of this initial

stage. Therefore, the findings of this study support

generalizations of teacher development theory to include

beginning special education teachers.

Implications for Beainning Teacher Knowledge Base

Although much is known about the differences between

beginning teachers and competent, experienced teachers,

researchers have done little to add to the current knowledge








base about competent beginning teachers. The results of

research conducted with Praxis III may assist researcher in

expanding the knowledge base and improving our understanding

of competent beginning teaching. In this study, the evidence

cited from interviews and observations supports the current

beginning teacher literature. Specific examples of teacher

behaviors and responses are provided and grouped by three

phases of teaching.

Preactive. When planning their lessons, both groups of

beginning teachers rarely took into consideration their

students' background experiences, prior skills, and

developmental levels. In choosing goals for these lessons,

general and special education teachers seldom provided a

thoughtful explanation of why the goals were appropriate for

all students nor did they differentiate these goals for

groups or individual students in the class (Brophy & Good,

1986; Peterson, Marx, & Clark, 1978). Both groups of

teachers were also unlikely to choose methods and activities

that allowed for differentiated learning experiences nor did

they provide an explanation of why the method or activity

chosen was appropriate to all students.

One of the lowest mean scores for both groups of

teachers was on their ability to create or select evaluation

strategies that are appropriate for students and aligned with

the goals of the lesson. Many teachers either had not

provided a plan for systematic evaluation of student learning

or had selected a plan that was clearly inappropriate to the








goals of the lesson (Porter & Brophy, 1988; Zigmond, Sansone,

Miller, Donahoe, & Kohnke, 1986). None of the teachers in

this study described how he or she would use the results of

the evaluation in planning future instruction. These

similarities between the two groups of teachers supports

previous research that beginning teachers are less apt to

consider student differences and subject matter in their

planning and are often inconsistent in their evaluation of

student progress.

Interactive. Most evidence of teaching tasks in the

interactive phase was detected during the observation. When

managing the learning environment, special education teachers

were very likely to be consistent in maintaining and

establishing rules and routines. This evidence contradicts

several beginning teacher studies that report beginning

teachers generally have difficulty with maintaining

consistent standards of behavior (Doyle, 1986). In fact,

both groups of teachers demonstrated competence with

establishing rapport with students and maintaining a safe

environment. In addition, special education teachers were

likely to demonstrate fairness in their interactions with

students. Perhaps, teacher education programs in Florida,

particularly special education teacher education programs,

emphasize the importance of creating a learning environment

more than programs in other areas of the country.

When presenting subject matter, both groups of teachers

were less likely to provide students with clear information








about the learning goals, either explicitly or implicitly.

They often used general statements to begin their lessons,

for example, a general education teacher stated, "This is

math. We are going to review some of the things we did

yesterday and the day before." In this particular case, the

learning goals was for students to demonstrate an

understanding of basic concepts in fractions (e.g., least

common multiple, greatest common factor). In their attempts

to make the content of the lesson comprehensible to students,

teachers form both groups experienced difficulty linking a

concept to related concepts, which is consistent with

previous findings by Borko and Livingston (1989). Further,

many of the teachers did not make instructional adjustments

based on their monitoring of student understanding. These

teachers tended to use feedback with students that was not

specific and substantive. For example, some special and

general education teachers only used statements like "Right,"

"That's good," and "No, that's not right." One general

education teacher provided little assistance to a groups of

students who had missed the previous day's lesson that was

essential to the understanding and completion of the observed

lesson. This teacher made n:. attempt to adjust the learning

activity even thought it was evident that the students were

not on track. This evidence supports previous findings by

Reynolds (1992) that beginning teachers are typically

ineffective in questioning strategies and tend not to use








this information about student understanding to improve their

teaching during the lesson.

Postactive. Teachers' responses during the

postobservation conference provided evidence to support

previous research on beginning teacher reflection of a lesson

(Reynolds, 1992). Both groups of teachers had difficulty

focusing their reflections. When asked to reflect on the

extent to which the learning goals were met, the teachers

often responded with statements about student participation

and ease of presentation. The teachers had difficulty

describing the strengths and weaknesses of the lesson in

relation to the learning goals and student understanding.

Moreover, teachers from both groups rarely supported their

judgments with specific evidence from the observed lesson.

Although little research is available on the connection

between teaching and other professional tasks, such as

collaborating with colleagues, Domain D of Praxis III does

begin to shed some light on how these professional tasks may

relate to teaching. Both groups of teachers demonstrated

knowledge of school resources available to them and

frequently consulted with colleagues on matters related to

their students and instruction. Additionally, all teachers

demonstrated knowledge of forms of parental communication

that they used for various purposes (e.g., newsletters, phone

calls, daily notes, and conferences).

Blanton, Blanton, and Cross (1994) found that despite

efforts at the preservice and inservice level to increase








collaboration among teachers, communication between general

education and special education teachers remains infrequent

and possibly inadequate. Similar evidence was found in this

study. Although many teachers' responses indicated that

collaboration with colleagues did occur, the collaboration

tended to be intradisciplinary rather than interdisciplinary

in nature.

Implications for Teacher Education

The most common method used for follow-up studies of

graduates is the survey of beginning teachers' perceptions of

the value of their preparation. This method, while

convenient and efficient, may provide teacher education

programs with an incomplete picture of their effectiveness.

Teacher educators have found that these data often present a

fragmented picture regarding graduates' perceptions.

Further, researchers have noted that perceptions of

preparation by first-year teachers are unstable during the

first year of teaching (Adams, 1987).

The purpose of program evaluation should be to develop

anl understanding of the relationships among a program's

contexts, inputs, processes, and products (Galluzzo & Craig,

1990). Currently, the missing piece in this understanding is

the product--graduates' performance in the field--an area

seldom evaluated by teacher preparation programs. Research

that focuses on beginning teachers' behaviors and skills can

provide details about the unique needs, strengths, and

problems of first-year teachers. The more teacher educators








understand these experiences the more capable they will be to

make decisions about the continuation, modification, or

termination of a teacher preparation program. Conducting

first-year performance research with instruments such as

Praxis III could (a) facilitate communication between schools

and universities, (b) advance what is known about teacher

education, and (c) raise important questions about issues and

practices that should be addressed.

Given the recent trend toward the inclusion of students

with disabilities in general classrooms, increased insight

into how teachers from different types of preparation

(general and special education) perform during their first

year of teaching is important. The trend toward inclusion

has resulted in the increased likelihood that teachers in

general and special education will collaborate about the

needs and goals of students with special needs (Pugach &

Johnson, 1989). The need for a common core of knowledge and

collaboration among discipline is reflected in the

development of unified teacher preparation programs such as

those at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and the

University of Cincinnati. Knowledge of the possible

differences in beginning teacher performance due to

differences in teacher preparation may enhance the

collaboration among teacher educators.

General educators scored significantly higher than

special educators on the criterion (Criterion A3) that

related to the teacher's ability to demonstrate an








understanding of the connections between the content that was

learned previously, the current content, and the content that

remains to be learned in the future. Perhaps this difference

is due to the emphasis on scope and sequence of content areas

in general education teacher preparation programs. General

education teachers were able to draw on knowledge of the

subject matter to explain where the observed lesson fits

within the broader scope of the discipline. Because special

education teacher preparation programs traditionally do not

require multiple courses in the content areas, teacher

educators of these programs may want to provide preservice

teachers with several resources on how to obtain the

structure or hierarchy of a content area.

Special educators scored significantly higher than

general educators on the criterion (Criterion Bl) that

related to the creation of a climate that promotes fairness.

Fairness in this sense means helping all students to have

equal access to learning and to feel equally valued in the

classroom. Special education courses often stress the

importance of individualized instruction, rather than the

group process emphasized in general education courses. This

difference in focus may be why special education teachers

were more likely to assure learning opportunities to all

students. In contrast, many general education teachers

demonstrated patterns of asking or allowing only some

students to respond to questions. Teacher educators in








general education could illustrate some ways that the teacher

could help all students have access to learning.

Special educators also scored significantly higher than

general educators on the criterion (Criterion B4) that

related to establishing and maintaining consistent standards

of classroom behavior. This difference is possibly due to

the attention behavior management receives in special

education teacher preparation programs. Goodlad (1993)

reported that students in special education programs

expressed more confidence in their abilities of behavior

management than do students in general education programs.

Teacher educators of general education might consider

incorporating a course on classroom management into their

preparation of teachers. This could be accomplished in

collaboration with the college's department of special

education.

General educators scored significantly higher than

special educators on the criterion (Criterion C3) that

related to encouraging students to extend their thinking.

Most special education teachers in the study did not use an

activity that was specifically designed to actively encourage

students to extend their thinking about the content of the

lesson. They seemed to rely more on instructional techniques

such as asking open-ended questions. This emphasis on low-

level cognitive processes by special educators may be from a

preparation program that prepares teachers to focus on the

basic skills of reading, math, writing, and spelling.








Teacher educators in special education may want to assist

preservice teachers in designing activities or lessons that

specifically encourage students to extend their thinking.

General educators scored significantly higher than

special educators on the criterion (Criterion D3) that

related to building professional relationships with

colleagues to share teaching insights and to coordinate

learning activities for students. General education teachers

tended to consistently coordinate activities with other

colleagues, particularly grade level team members. These

results may be a product of either the school organization

structure, teacher's preparation particularly field

experience, or a combination of these factors. Schools are

most often organized into grade levels and opportunities for

collaboration are abundant for general education teachers.

In contrast, special education teachers often function in

isolation within schools limiting opportunities for

collaboration. The effect of teacher preparation on

collaboration of beginning teachers is probably most

influential during field experiences. The field experiences

where preservice teachers observe the effects of school

structure on collaboration may influence the likelihood of

collaboration efforts in their future teaching positions.

Limitations

This study had several limitations. The most

significant limitation is the lack of information about these

teachers' beliefs, skills, and knowledge prior to entering








their teacher preparation program. It is difficult to know

what influence these factors, or a combination of these

factors with preparation, may have had on their performance.

Addition ally, the type of teacher preparation was self-

selected by the teachers. That is, those who selected

special education as opposed to general education as a career

may exhibit different beliefs, attitudes, perceptions, and

knowledge about teaching.

A second limitation is that only teachers at the

elementary level were considered for participation in the

study. The results of this study may not be generalized to

beginning teachers at the secondary level. This particular

limitation is consistent with the limitations of beginning

teacher research and teacher development theory. Both bodies

of research have focused primarily on elementary school

teachers. Teacher development theorists have found

significant differences between elementary and secondary

teachers. For example, elementary teachers report a greater

degree of concern about self, instructional tasks, and

student impact (Burden, 1990).

Another limitation of this study is the restricted

geographic location. Observations were limited to districts

in Florida and graduates of state universities in Florida.

Further, the effects of the bureaucratic structure of

education in Florida may contribute to differences and

similarities. For example, in the 1991-1992 school year

Florida ranked seventh in the nation for how likely districts








are to separate students with disabilities from their peers

(Special Education Report, 1996). The results may be

different in a state that is more likely to serve students

with disabilities in a regular classroom.

A fourth limitation of this study is voluntary

participation of the teachers. Teachers who volunteer to

participate in a study in which they are to be observed are

more likely to be confident in their teaching abilities and,

perhaps, more likely to be competent. The results might have

been different given a truly random sample of teachers.

Finally, the results of this study may have been

influenced by the differences in the contexts in which

special and general educators function. The teachers'

perceptions of the demands of their classrooms may have

affected their performance and the aspects of teaching that

they emphasized.

Suaaestions for Future Research

Due to the lack of information about these teachers

prior to entering their teacher preparation program, a

longitudinal study may be warranted. This would allow

researchers to delineate any preexisting differences between

the two groups of teachers.

To study the effects of preparation for content areas,

additional research with teachers at the secondary level is

warranted. Additional studies should also focus on graduates

from other teacher preparation programs and various

geographic locations. Observations may be conducted on








graduates of unified teacher preparation programs as well.

Although this type of research involves extensive time and

energy on the part of the teacher, researchers should attempt

to achieve a more random sample in future studies, rather

than limiting the sample to volunteers.



This study was conducted to examine the effects of two

types of teacher preparation on the classroom performance of

beginning teachers. Teachers were observed using an

assessment instrument that was developed to evaluate

teachers' knowledge and skills in four domains: organizing

content knowledge for student learning, creating an

environment for student learning, teaching for student

learning, and teacher professionalism.

Special education teachers scored significantly higher

on criteria related to creating an environment for student

learning: creating a climate that promotes fairness and

establishing and maintaining consistent standards of

classroom behavior. General education teachers scored

significantly higher on criteria related to organizing

content knowledge, teaching for student learning, and teacher

professionalism. These criteria included (a) demonstration

of an understanding of the connections between the content

that was learned previously, the current content, and the

content that remains to be learned in the future, (b)

encouraging students to extend their thinking, and (c)

building professional relationships with colleagues to share








teaching insights and to coordinate learning activities for

students.

These findings hold several implications for teacher

development theory and the knowledge base on beginning

teaching. Reynolds (1992) asserted that assessment of

competent beginning teaching should exceed the research on

effective beginning teaching and the research on learning to

teach. Praxis III accomplishes this goal by reflecting the

view of teachers as professionals, by representing the

complexity of teaching and learning, and by promoting equity

among all teachers and students. The use of Praxis III in

this study revealed that the development of general and

special education teachers is somewhat different and does not

fit neatly into stages of teacher development. This approach

to beginning teacher assessment promotes the formation of a

more complete picture of teaching and learning in context.

The results of the study could inform teacher education

program development. The emergence of research on the

differences between beginning general and special education

teachers may be especially useful to teacher educators as

they could revise content to better prepare preservice

teachers for their first year of teaching.














APPENDIX A
PRAXIS III DOMAINS AND CRITERIA



Domain A Organizing content knowledge for student learning

Al Becoming familiar with relevant aspects of

students' background knowledge and experience

A2 Articulating clear learning goals for the lesson

that are appropriate to the students

A3 Demonstrating an understanding of the connections

between the content that was learned previously,

the current content, and the content that remains

to be learned in the future

A4 Creating or selecting teaching methods, learning

activities, and instructional materials or other

resources that are appropriate to the students and

that are aligned with the goals of the lesson

A5 Creating or selecting evaluation strategies that

are appropriate for the students and that are

aligned with the goals of the lesson

Domain B Creating an environment for student learning

B1 Creating a climate that promotes fairness

B2 Establishing and maintaining rapport with students

B3 Communicating challenging learning expectations to

each student








B4 Establishing and maintaining consistent standards

of classroom behavior

B5 Making the physical environment as safe and

conducive to learning as possible

Domain C Teaching for student learning

C1 Making learning goals and instructional procedures

clear to students

C2 Making content comprehensible to students

C3 Encouraging students to extend their thinking

C4 Monitoring students' understanding of content

through a variety of means, providing feedback to

students to assist learning, and adjusting learning

activities as the situation demands

C5 Using instructional time effectively

Domain D Teacher professionalism

D1 Reflecting on the extent to which the learning

goals were met

D2 Demonstrating a sense of efficacy

D3 Building professional relationships with colleagues

to share teaching insights and to coordinate

learning activities for students

D4 Communicating with parents or guardians about

student learning




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