Louisiana! You gotta play fair!

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Louisiana, the state that's way ahead of the pack when it comes to determining the value added by teacher preparation programs, has released its annual report card and, again, teachers trained by The New Teacher Project (TNTP) come out on top. TNTP teachers not only appear to outperform other new teachers, but they also outperform teachers with three or more years of experience.

While the fact that TNTP teachers stack up so well against experienced teachers warrants some boasting and perhaps makes everything else we have to say here irrelevant, our sense of justice has gotten the better of us. As we observed last year, Louisiana officials use a methodology that defies logic (see our past coverage of this study). Much of the reason TNTP compares so well to other new teachers is because the study compares second-year TNTP teachers with first-year teachers fresh from undergraduate programs. No need to read that sentence again; you read it right the first time.

When we once again asked the Louisiana Regents why it makes any sense to compare teachers with a year of experience to those with none--given that the biggest jump any teacher makes in effectiveness is between the first and second years of experience, hands down--the response didn't make us feel any better. Technically speaking as only technocrats can, they view TNTP's first year in the classroom as the official student teaching year, in spite of the fact that these alt cert teachers are assigned as the teacher of record and are under little to no supervision. In effect, they equate the first year to the one semester of traditional student teaching required of undergraduates.

Also important to note is that you can't find any of this information in the actual report.