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Research Question

  1. How have teacher preparation providers and other stakeholders responded to Louisiana's key actions to support teacher preparation?

Since 2012, Louisiana has been developing policies to improve student outcomes in the areas of early childhood education, K–12 academics, graduation pathways, and teacher preparation; an overview of these efforts is provided in the 2018 RAND report Raising the Bar: Louisiana's Strategies for Improving Student Outcomes. The current report, which is part of a four-part series on these reforms, focuses on Louisiana's strategies for K–12 teacher preparation. The authors summarize the key features of Louisiana's teacher preparation reforms and present findings from analyses of qualitative data that provide information on how stakeholders are responding to Louisiana's reforms.

Taken together, these reports provide an overview of how an ambitious set of interconnected state policies are making their mark on the teaching and learning happening in early childhood centers, schools, and teacher preparation institutions across the state. Louisiana's experiences might have implications for other states that are exploring changes to their education systems.

Key Findings

  • Believe and Prepare, Louisiana's pilot grant program, established partnerships that built on existing structures and relationships. Individuals involved in these partnerships emphasized the vital role of the partnerships in building the foundation for greater collaboration aligned with the state's ambitious vision for teacher preparation.
  • Teacher preparation providers identified some refinements in their mentor training in response to state policies, although providers also identified the scarcity of strong mentors for resident teachers as a key challenge.
  • Although the state's new yearlong residency requirements will involve considerable shifts to existing programs, both program providers and school system staff voiced optimism about and support for these requirements and their potential impact on teacher candidate quality.
  • Program providers provided numerous examples of ways that they have revised their programs to address state requirements, but provider approaches to these requirements appeared to vary substantially and have created complex challenges for program providers.
  • Program providers commented on the considerable challenges they faced in shifting to a competency-based model, particularly among those who had emphasized traditional, credit-driven approaches.
  • The Louisiana Department of Education is developing a teacher preparation quality rating system that could increase transparency, but the large reforms represented by this new system could raise technical and political challenges.

Research conducted by

This research was sponsored by the Baton Rouge Area Foundation and conducted within RAND Education and Labor.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation research report series. RAND reports present research findings and objective analysis that address the challenges facing the public and private sectors. All RAND reports undergo rigorous peer review to ensure high standards for research quality and objectivity.

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