Differences by certification status on urban teachers' persistence and principals' perceptions of teachers' performance
With growing school-age populations, rising teacher attrition rates, and reductions in class sizes, school districts in Texas, as well as most other states, often employ teachers from various certification routes to fill classroom vacancies. Whereas university graduates once provided the majority of new teachers, alternative and post baccalaureate programs now produce over one-half of the teaching profession's new hires each year. These programs are frequently considered means to rapidly certify teachers who would have not otherwise joined the profession. The quality of teaching professional produced from alternative certification routes, though, has been a source of inquiry for researchers. Published studies considering the impact of these teachers on teaching quality, student achievement, and teacher retention are varied in their findings.
This study examines principals' ratings on the eight domains of the Professional Development and Appraisal System (PDAS) by teachers' status of certification. In addition, certification status and PDAS ratings are analyzed to determine their impact on teacher persistence in the district. Principals' ratings on the appraisal instrument reflect the level of teacher proficiency in the classroom setting as well as other professional attributes. With limited financial resources, districts must weigh the investment of hiring a new teacher in terms of the quality of instruction and student academic gains. Since the district relies on alternative means to fill teaching vacancies, sources of quality teachers are also evaluated for teaching effectiveness and skill.
In the study, summative PDAS results from approximately two hundred teachers new to a major metropolitan area district in Southeast Texas were analyzed to determine differences in principals' ratings based on teacher certification. The participants held one of the following certifications: Alternative certification, experienced traditional certification, new traditional certification, other state certification, or deficiency plan. The teachers in the study were initially employed in the district for the 2001-2002 school year and allocated an academic instructional position.
Differences in principals' PDAS ratings were analyzed according to grade level taught, school demographics, and school rating. In addition, differences in teacher persistence in the district were examined based on teacher characteristics, school demographics and school rating.
The results of the study indicate that teachers who are certified in states other than Texas are rated significantly higher than alternative certified, deficiency plan, and newly certified teachers in Texas on the Domains I---Student Engagement, III Evaluation and Feedback, IV Classroom Management, V---Professional Communication, and VII---Policy Compliance. There are no differences in other state certified teachers and Texas experienced teachers on Domains I-VII. Other state certified teachers, however, score significantly higher than all other groups on Domain VIII---Academic Improvement of All Students on Campus. No differences were found between PDAS scores and school demographics. Teachers in the highest percentage of minority students were rated significantly higher in Domain I---Student Engagement than teachers in schools with 80-89% minority student populations. Also, teachers in Exemplary schools were rated significantly higher by principals on Domains I, II, and VII than teachers at Recognized schools.
The results of the study, moreover, indicate that teachers who resigned from the district in the first and second years of teaching, were rated significantly lower than teachers who are currently with the district on Domains I-IV. Teachers who are currently teaching in the district were also rated significantly higher than teachers who resigned at the end of the first year on Domain V---Professional Communication.