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Study Examines Learning Outcomes of the Bank Street Teacher Preparation Model

Posted by Bank Street on May 31, 2016

As the debate surrounding teacher preparation continues to pick up steam, the question remains: how do we best develop the high-quality teachers children deserve? A study released this morning by the Stanford Center for Opportunity Policy in Education (SCOPE) sheds light on one highly effective approach: the teacher preparation model here at the Bank Street Graduate School of Education. 

Commissioned by Bank Street to determine the impact of its teacher education program, SCOPE’s “Teaching for a Changing World: The Graduates of Bank Street College of Education” study examines the quality of the Graduate School’s teacher preparation, the instructional practices of program graduates, and the influence graduates have on their students’ learning. Findings take a closer look at how the College’s developmental-interaction approach blends mandatory fieldwork, advisement, and coursework to connect theory and practice to deepen the learning outcomes of graduates and, in turn, the students they teach in real-world settings.

“At Bank Street, we help students develop the skills necessary to create rich, challenging learning environments that inspire a lifelong love of learning,” said Cecelia Traugh, Dean, Bank Street College Graduate School of Education. “Through this study, we are pleased to see concrete evidence that our master’s level certification programs provide teachers with the tools needed for high-quality classroom practice after graduation.”

The following highlights select findings from the study:

  • Bank Street graduates report higher confidence in content area preparation than their peers from other schools in science (18% higher), English language and literacy (20% higher), and in math (23% higher).
  • When asked about the ability to plan, create, and maintain effective learning environments, Bank Street graduates were significantly more likely than comparison teachers to report they were “well” or “very well” prepared to develop curriculum that builds on students’ experiences, interests, and abilities (86% vs. 54%), use knowledge of learning, subject matter, curriculum, and student development to plan instruction (86% vs. 60%), develop a classroom environment that promotes social/emotional development and group responsibility (86% vs. 58%), and develop students’ questioning and discussion skills (83% vs. 51%).
  • Overwhelmingly, 90% of respondents of the employer survey indicate that Bank Street graduates are “well prepared” as teachers.
  • Bank Street graduates enter and remain in the field of education at high rates, with 87% remaining in the field of education and 57% reporting that they were working as a P-12 classroom teacher (across a survey of one dozen years). 

The multi-year, multi-phased study incorporates analysis of graduate and employer surveys, large-scale administrative data on student learning in New York City public schools, in-depth classroom and school observations, and interviews of graduates, principals, and College faculty. As part of the process, SCOPE researchers observed classroom practice at three Bank Street-affiliated schools in New York City: Midtown West School, Brooklyn New School, and Community Roots Charter School. By creating expanded case studies of teacher and student interaction in these schools, researchers were able to closely examine how Bank Street’s teacher preparation model shapes what teaching and learning look like upon graduation and in real-world settings.

The study found that in each school, “supporting the whole child means providing them with developmentally-oriented learning experiences that meet the child where they are” and that teachers trained at Bank Street “appreciate the value of closely observing children.” 

In SCOPE’s case study on Midtown West, a teacher explains the process: “Children are learning through their best way, and they’re really creating meaning with our support… We really value where the child is and bring them up to that next step at their own pace in their own time.” Another teacher adds, “I wear two hats. I take the role of observer and facilitator… I sometimes see myself as a wandering shadow, picking and choosing when to step in and when to step out. I make my decisions by observing, and if I see a pattern, we try and create space to talk about it—what worked, what didn’t work.”

The study’s authors conclude, “Such child-centered learning, which caters to the needs and interests of individual children as they develop cognitively and socially, is regarded as necessary to make learning meaningful for students… Teachers who graduated from Bank Street design learning experiences that involve play, emphasize the process, and ultimately strive to develop young children as intellectual, curious scholars who eagerly interact with the world around them.”

To review the full study and learn more about how classroom practice is enhanced through high-quality teacher preparation, please visit edpolicy.stanford.edu/bankstreet.

tagged: bank street graduate school of education, scope, teacher preparation