Comprehensive School Reform Programs in Arizona

Professors Tom Good and Mary McCaslin played a big part in the November 2008 issue of Teachers College Record, which covered their study of comprehensive school reform programs in Arizona and included information about educating youth who live in urban or rural poverty. All articles that appear in the issue are written by McCaslin, Good, five current EDP students, and one former EDP student. TCR is a distinguished journal that has been published for more than 100 years.

How Well Do First-Year Teachers Teach?

A research article written by our Educational Psychology faculty won a national award.

The American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education presented the award for “exemplary scholarship” to faculty in the educational psychology department during its annual meeting.

Three UA faculty members and four doctoral degree students wrote the winning article, titled “How Well Do First-Year Teachers Teach: Does Type of Teacher Preparation Make a Difference?”

The Outstanding Journal of Teacher Education Article award is sponsored by the association’s Committee on Research and Dissemination and Sage Publications, a company that publishes journals, books and electronic media.

“The award selection committee deemed this article to be a well-structured, clearly reasoned paper that effectively employs a longitudinal design to examine an important research question for the teacher education field,” the association noted in a news release.

The faculty authors were: Department Head Thomas L. Good, Professor Mary McCaslin, and Assistant Research Scientist Henry Tsang.

Ronald W. Marx, dean of the College of Education, said: “It is essential that teacher education programs show empirical evidence of their effectiveness. The research program that Good and McCaslin are directing shows how solid research can demonstrate the effectiveness of these programs.”

The authors, whose article was published the Journal of Teacher Education, took a look at the teaching practices among first-year teachers over a 3-year period and studied how they managed their classrooms, how they taught and how student assessments affected them.

“This research was conducted in a social and political context in which the quality of teaching in K-12 school is questioned,” they wrote.

The authors also explored the teachers’ educational backgrounds and tried to determine ways traditional preparation compared with “alternative paths” to certification could affect classroom instruction.

Though traditionally trained teachers were found to have higher scores in classroom management, the authors found that regardless to whether a teacher received traditional or alternative preparation, they could “teach at desired normative levels as defined with participating school districts.”