The vast majority of first-year teachers in Illinois feel well-prepared for their jobs and plan to dedicate their careers to education, according to the 2006 results of an ongoing statewide survey of new teachers.
The Teacher Graduate Assessment project, now in its second year, is coordinated by Eastern Illinois University in Charleston.
Nearly 98 percent of new teachers reported satisfaction with their career choices, and more than 93 percent were happy with the quality of their colleges’ education programs.
The survey also found that more than 99 percent of new teachers plan to stay in education, with more than 94 percent planning to remain in a teaching role.
In a collaborative effort among 12 state educational institutions, the Teacher Graduate Assessment project collected input from new teachers and their supervisors to gauge how well college prepared the teachers for their jobs and how to improve that effort.
“This follow-up survey of our graduates, after their first year of teaching,and their immediate supervisors allows each public college of education to assess specific aspects of their programs and to ensure that we adequately prepare new teachers to meet the challenges of today’s classrooms,” said Bonnie Smith-Skripps, chair of the Illinois Association of Deans of Public Colleges of Education and dean of Western Illinois University’s College of Education and Human Services. “We were pleased with the feedback and are committed to continuous program improvement as a result of this data.”
Overall, teachers were very positive about their preparedness for their jobs. Lowest-scoring areas included preparedness for teaching English-language learners, working with administrators, working with parents and guardians, and utilizing existing community resources.
Four out of five new teachers were supported by a mentor, with 68 percent finding the benefit to be moderate or great. Eighty-eight percent of the supervisors responding reported having mentoring programs available.
More than 84 percent of the supervisors who responded said they had visited new teachers’ classrooms at least four times in the past year.
Responses indicated that most teachers often use the Illinois Professional Teaching Standards (87 percent) and the Illinois Learning Standards (91 percent). The Illinois Professional Teaching Standards refer to key skills and competencies for all teachers, while Illinois Learning Standards refer to core skills and competencies for all students to develop.
Additionally, 84 percent of new teachers report that they understand the state’s instructional technology standards, and 57 percent integrate technology into their instruction on a regular basis.
Findings were reported in aggregate, but each participating institution also received data specific to its graduates to assist the universities with efforts to improve their programs.
“Ongoing assessment of our teacher education programs in Illinois is critical. The feedback we receive provides the data for continuous program improvement by everyone involved in teacher education,” said Diane Jackman, dean of the College of Education and Professional Studies at EIU.
“This is an exciting project, and I am pleased that Eastern is taking the lead in the project. We have collected two years of data and initial analyses are indicating some trends.”
The Teacher Graduate Assessment project is a cooperative effort of the Illinois Association of Deans of Public Colleges of Education and the Illinois Teacher Data Warehouse.
The participating institutions in IADPCE and the project are Chicago State University, Eastern Illinois University, Governors State University, Illinois State University, Northeastern Illinois University, Northern Illinois University, Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville, University of Illinois at Chicago, University of Illinois at Springfield, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Western Illinois University.
Funding was provided by the Illinois Board of Higher Education, the Illinois State Board of Education and the participating institutions.