The 2014-2015 TeachingWorks streaming seminar series will focus on a central challenge of teacher preparation: the demand to show results and impact of initial training on the quality of candidates’ effectiveness as teachers. Many skeptics point to the lack of impact of professional training and the centrality of on-the-job experience. Policymakers eager to close weak programs advocate for using data to examine and judge the quality of teacher preparation. At the same time, many teacher preparation programs and leaders have been developing methods for evaluating the quality and impact of professional training. This year’s seminar series focuses on the core question: To whom and for what should teacher preparation be accountable?

In each of this year’s seminars, the presenter will present a perspective on what would be both appropriate and feasible in holding teacher preparation programs accountable, and will offer concrete examples of how to carry that out, and will also share challenges of the particular perspective.

This year's series will offer a platform to learn about different answers and approaches to this basic question. For example, if the goal of teacher preparation is to ensure that beginning teachers are ready for responsible entry-level teaching, what are the relative merits of different ways of judging program impact? Is it possible to link programs to the student growth of their graduates? What are the possibilities and pitfalls of this approach? What are other ways to link program outcomes to student learning? Our goal is to open the discourse to the nature of the question of program accountability, the technical possibilities and challenges, and some concrete ways that programs are seeking to respond.

Participants will have the opportunity to attend the seminar in person at the School of Education at the University of Michigan or to view the live event online.