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Publication - Research and analysis

Literature Review on Teacher Education in the 21st Century

Published: 1 Oct 2010
ISBN:
9780755995875

The overall aim of this literature review is to understand the contribution that teacher education can make to the quality and effectiveness of the educational experience and wider personal development of young people, drawing on effective practice in Scotland and elsewhere.

104 page PDF

943.7 kB

104 page PDF

943.7 kB

Contents
Literature Review on Teacher Education in the 21st Century
1. INTRODUCTION

104 page PDF

943.7 kB

1. INTRODUCTION

Aim, background and objectives

1.1 The overall aim of this literature review is 'to understand the contribution that teacher education can make to the quality and effectiveness of the educational experience and wider personal development of young people, drawing on effective practice in Scotland and elsewhere'.

1.2 The literature review was commissioned by the Education Analytical Services Division ( EASD) of the Scottish Government and undertaken between April and July 2010. The review of literature forms part of a larger programme of work contributing to the Review of Teacher Education in Scotland ( RTES) due to be published towards the end of 2010. The RTES, which commenced in January 2010, is examining how the current system of educating teachers equips teachers throughout their professional career to respond to curriculum change and meet the needs of pupils in the 21st century.

1.3 The literature review summarises recent research in teacher education in Scotland, elsewhere in the UK and internationally. For the purposes of this review, teacher education is defined as encompassing initial teacher education, induction and continuing professional development across the life course of a teacher's career.

1.4 The objectives of the literature review are to:

  • Provide a high level overview of the current model of teacher education in Scotland, identifying current strengths and areas for improvement.
  • Identify other education systems (which are broadly comparable to Scotland) that have undergone a significant curricula change, have seen a recent rise in educational standards or are already high performing, and explore the contribution of teacher education to their overall strategy, drawing out learning appropriate to Scotland.
  • Explore the relationships between forms of teacher education and the enhancement of professionalism, and between enhanced professionalism and pupil outcomes.
  • Provide an overview of effective practice in evaluating the impact and effectiveness of teacher education.

Scope of the review

1.5 The review focused on literature from, and about, a pre-determined list of education systems. The list was compiled in consultation with The Scottish Government, who sought to identify systems where one or more of the following factors existed: recent major curriculum reform; success in raising pupil achievement; innovative practice in teacher education. Systems included within the review are those found in the four nations of the UK, France, Italy, Netherlands, Finland, Norway, Australia, New Zealand, United States of America, Canada, Singapore, South Korea and Japan (see Appendix 3 for further details and Table 1).

Table 1. Reasons for inclusion of comparator education systems

Education system

Recent major change to the curriculum

High or improving pupil performance (as indicated by the Programme for International Student Assessment, PISA)

Change within teacher education

Australia

v

v

v

Canada

v

v

England

v

v

Finland

v

v

v

France

v

v

Italy

v

v

Japan

v

v

v

Netherlands

v

v

v

New Zealand

v

v

v

Northern Ireland

v

.

v

Norway

v

v

Singapore

v

v

v

South Korea

v

v

v

USA

.

v

Wales

v

v

1.6 The International Review of Curriculum and Assessment Frameworks Internet Archive ( INCA) was used to identify systems subject to recent reform of the school curriculum, where there is also a pattern of increased achievement over time. Sources of achievement measures include the results of the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study ( PIRLS), the Programme for International Student Assessment ( PISA), and the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study ( TIMSS).

1.7 Whilst drawing on these data to identify school systems with increased achievement over time, the review team acknowledge that there are limitations in using international assessment data as a proxy measure for educational standards, teacher quality or as the basis for international comparisons. International performance tables are constructed using single achievement measures. Interpretation of results requires consideration of long-term development trends for the countries, in addition to appraisal of the reliability and validity of tests and sampling standards (Prais, 2003; Bracey, 2008). A number of studies have challenged the validity of such standardised testing and rank ordering of countries, including the influence of cultural differences between nations, and have challenged the assumption that rising scores equate with rising standards (Tymms, 2004; Bonnet, 2002; Schagen and Hutchison, 2003; Hilton, 2006; Shiel and Eivers, 2009).

1.8 Inclusion criteria were not restricted to studies based on analysis of performance measures from standardised tests and examinations. This review also includes consideration of available data on the contribution of teacher education to the wider personal development of young people. The review team acknowledges that pupil outcomes are multifaceted and include affective, social and cognitive dimensions.

Review methods

1.9 Given the requirements of the Review of Teacher Education in Scotland, and the time constraints for this exercise, the review team conducted a selective literature review, informed by a 'best evidence' approach (Slavin, 2008). This requires the reviewer to identify criteria for determining good quality research and high quality evidence and place more emphasis on those studies that match the criteria than on those that have identifiable shortcomings. However, the latter were not automatically excluded from the investigation, as would be the case in a 'systematic' review, such as those carried out by Evidence for Policy and Practice Information and Co-ordinating Centre ( EPPI-Centre). (The review criteria are contained in Appendix 1).

1.10 The research team drew on relevant peer-reviewed journal articles, reports of funded research for major funding bodies and research councils, other relevant syntheses of research evidence, government reports and policy documents. In addressing the remit of the review, attention was afforded to research commissioned by, or for, a policy-maker audience. Only literature published in the last 10 years (since 2000) was considered for inclusion, with older literature included only where the reviewers considered it to be 'very influential'.

1.11 A literature search was conducted using three commercial databases, to ensure as wide a coverage as possible, and to allow the research team to 'triangulate' across the three sets of search results, to increase overall reliability. The three databases used were: British Education Index ( BEI), the EBSCO Professional Development Collection, and the Web of Knowledge Citation Indices. In addition, the reviewers used the EPPI-Centre library, the TLRP Teacher Education Group Bibliography 1, and a range of specialist sources of grey literature on the internet ( e.g. Education-Line) to identify further resources.

1.12 The breadth, diversity and complexity of the subject area of this literature review and the terminology used in its discourse meant that the three databases could not be searched using complex descriptor-based Boolean search terms. Rather, the approach taken was to identify only the broadest descriptors (using the thesauri offered by each database-provider), and to subject these to a number of levels of manual screening (with some overlap between reviewers to allow cross-checking for quality assurance purposes).

1.13 As anticipated, the necessary breadth of the review generated a high volume of items for consideration (see Appendix 1, Search and screening process). Following two screening 'passes' the remaining retrieved records were organised according to sub-field: records relating to initial teacher education, induction, early professional learning, continuing professional development, chartered teacher/advanced certification/lead practitioners and leadership development were grouped and shared amongst reviewers with expertise in that area of teacher education. The synoptic fields of partnership and professionalism were also used as categories in the screening process. Each reviewer considered the relevance and warrant of the papers/reports and met to agree their selection for inclusion in the review. As anticipated, there was some overlap across areas of teacher education in the retrieved records, and overarching papers and reports were reviewed by multiple reviewers.

1.14 The literature selected for inclusion in this review was categorised using a classification system based around the four objectives of the review and this categorisation was recorded. Specialist reviewers then analysed and extracted data from key papers/ reports/ articles focusing on the key strands of enquiry. To assist in the subsequent analysis and report writing, the database contained proforma fields concerning the content of the paper, methods employed in the research, key terms and implications for each of the literature review objectives (see Appendix 2, Database template).

The nature and quality of the data sources

1.15 The relationship between teacher education, curriculum change and pupil outcomes is complex. Given the methodological challenges and resource implications of commissioning major longitudinal, mixed methods studies, the existing research base is not substantial. For example, very few research studies internationally have been commissioned to systematically address the impact of different forms of teacher education on pupils' wider development. Moreover, it should be acknowledged that direct and immediate outcomes are unlikely and consideration of impact often involves the identification of intermediate steps e.g. changes in curricula, school and classroom practices that are necessary for improved effectiveness.

1.16 Most research studies of teacher education have not been designed to identify definitive causal effects. A high volume of the available (English language) research on teacher effects is commissioned in the USA, which has a deregulated system of teacher education (and is very different from the Scottish system - see Appendix 3). School records that link teacher attributes (qualifications, class and subject of degree, teaching experience, age, and gender) and student performance are weak in most school systems internationally and there are difficulties in using tests designed to measure student achievement as measures of teacher quality. There are many dimensions to teacher quality requiring multiple measures over an extended period of time, including careful attention to the context of teaching (Rice, 2003; Goldhaber and Brewer, 2008; for a discussion of definitional issues in regard to 'teacher quality' see Kennedy, 2010).

1.17 Lack of attention to contextual factors ( e.g. pupil socio-economic status/gender/support needs; level of teachers' education/subject degree; school type), and the scant funding available for longitudinal studies, large-scale efficacy studies or repeated measures helps to explain why the evidence base on teacher education is somewhat inconclusive as a guide for policy. However, there is much that can be learned from cross-national consideration of teacher education systems and the attempts that have been made to address common technical, conceptual and political challenges.

Structure of the review

1.18 The report is structured around the project objectives (Table 2). Section two provides an overview of the current strengths, weaknesses and areas for improvement of teacher education in Scotland as reported in the research and policy literature (in response to the first objective). Section three considers different models of professionalism in policy and research literature internationally (relating mainly to the third objective). Section four considers evidence of effective practice and is organised according to seven themes: entry requirements for teacher education; mentoring, induction and early professional development; partnership arrangements with schools; continuing professional development ( CPD); collaborative approaches to curriculum design and evaluation; recognising accomplished teachers; and issues related to the professional development of teacher educators (relating to the second objective). Section five addresses links between teacher education and pupil outcomes (relating to the third objective). Section six identifies some limitations and challenges in strengthening the research base on teacher education. It considers approaches to evaluating the impact and effectiveness of teacher education including research-based methodology, inspection and self-evaluation (in response to the fourth objective). The report concludes with a review of the main themes identified in the literature and implications for Scotland. Consideration is given to areas that require further investigation and to the methodological challenges of conducting research to examine the links between teacher education, curriculum innovation and pupil outcomes.

Table 2. Objectives and review sections

Section of the Literature Review Report

Objective addressed

2. Teacher education in Scotland

Provide a high level overview of the current model of teacher education in Scotland, identifying current strengths and areas for improvement.

3. Teacher education and professionalism

Explore the relationships between forms of teacher education and the enhancement of professionalism, and between enhanced professionalism and pupil outcomes

4. Teacher education, collaboration and professional support

Identify other education systems (which are broadly comparable to Scotland) that have undergone a significant curricula change, have seen a recent rise in educational standards or are already high performing, and explore the contribution of teacher education to their overall strategy, drawing out learning appropriate to Scotland.

5. Professionalism and pupil outcomes

Explore the relationships between forms of teacher education and the enhancement of professionalism, and between enhanced professionalism and pupil outcomes.

6. Evaluating the impact and effectiveness of teacher education

Provide an overview of effective practice in evaluating the impact and effectiveness of teacher education.