Teach For America, Memphis

Memphis, Tennessee


National Percentile




Selection criteria for admission into the program satisfy this standard. The mean grade point average is sufficiently high to demonstrate that candidates have the requisite academic talent. Moreover, the program requires an audition to assess non-academic talents also important for teaching.


Program Diversity

A diverse teacher workforce benefits all students, particularly students of color. While there has been real progress over the last twenty years in diversifying the teacher workforce,1 these gains have not kept pace with a rapidly diversifying student population. To accelerate progress, strategic recruitment efforts by teacher preparation programs are essential.

  • Teacher prep enrollment: 47 percent candidates of color1
  • Tennessee teacher workforce: 17 percent teachers of color2
  • Local demographics: 56 percent persons of color3
Programs earning a C do not sufficiently contribute to the diversification of the teacher workforce. Programs earn this grade under one of three conditions: 1. The percentage of enrolled candidates of color is up to 5 percentage points lower than the diversity of the state teacher workforce and local population; 2. The percentage of enrolled candidates of color meets or exceeds the diversity of the state teacher workforce, but is more than 5 percentage points lower than the proportion of persons of color in the local population; or, 3. The percentage of enrolled candidates of color meets or exceeds the diversity of the local population, but is more than 5 percentage points lower than the proportion of teachers of color in the state workforce.
1 Ingersoll, Richard M.; Merrill, Elizabeth; Stuckey, Daniel; and Collins, Gregory. (2018). Seven Trends: The Transformation of the Teaching Force – Updated October 2018. CPRE Research Reports.
2 Three-year average sourced from Title II National Teacher Preparation Data
3 National Teacher and Principal Survey data (state supplied data substituted for missing values)
4 U.S. Census core-based statistical area (CBSA) data



Early Reading

The program does not ensure that prior to becoming the teacher of record candidates

  • complete at least one course that covers the five essential components of reading instruction: phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension strategies; nor does the program require that candidates
  • pass a rigorous standardized test on reading instruction.


Elementary Mathematics

Coming Soon

Building Knowledge

Coming Soon


Clinical Practice

Supervised practice serves a critical role in all teacher preparation programs. Whether supervised practice takes the form of student teaching, residency or internship, the experience allows participants to build on coursework by practicing and refining essential instructional and management skills.

Ideally, supervised practice includes time spent in the classroom of an experienced teacher who serves as a model of outstanding teaching and can provide ongoing coaching, feedback, and guidance. This experience should be at least 10 weeks long in order to offer opportunities for repeated cycles of practice and growth. In addition, it should be full- or nearly-full-time, and include several weeks during which the candidate has primary responsibility for teaching the whole class for full days, so that the candidate can experience the full demands of being a teacher.

  • Our review finds that program participants spend fewer than 10 weeks in a mentor teacher's classroom on a full-or nearly-full-time basis.
In addition, there are two essential steps that programs can take to safeguard the value of the experience:

1. Require supervisors to provide each participant with at least five instances of written feedback based on observations during the program's capstone clinical experience (student teaching or residency) or – for participants in alternative programs who do not have such experiences – the critical first few months of school.
  • A review of program policy finds that supervisors are required to provide a minimum of 6 instances of written feedback based on observations during these key periods.
2. Establish a structured process for selecting strong mentor teachers that includes the collection of sufficient information to confirm that mentor teachers have relevant skills, including ability as a mentor and instructional effectiveness as measured by student learning.
  • Analysis finds that this program collects information on mentor teachers' skills in both areas.
Based on the findings above, the program partly meets this standard.

Next Steps
  • Incorporate a student teaching or residency experience of at least ten weeks into the program. This experience should be full-time or nearly so.


Classroom Management

New teachers and their principals consistently report that classroom management is one of their greatest challenges. Teachers will be better prepared to establish a positive classroom environment if, during their preparation programs, they practice and receive feedback on the five classroom management strategies shown by conclusive research to be useful for all students. These strategies are:

  1. Rules and Routines – Establishing classroom rules and routines that set expectations for behavior;
  2. Learning Time – Maximizing the time that students are engaged in learning by pacing lessons appropriately, managing class materials and the physical setup of the classroom, and teaching interesting lessons;
  3. Praise – Using meaningful praise and other forms of positive reinforcement to encourage appropriate behavior;
  4. Low-profile Redirection – Using unobtrusive means that do not interrupt instruction to prevent and manage minimally disruptive behavior; and
  5. Consequences – Addressing more serious misbehavior with consistent, appropriate consequences.
Student teaching and residency are crucial times for the development and refinement of classroom management skills. The first few months of school are just as critical for candidates in alternative programs who have full responsibility for a classroom of children. Evaluation and observation forms used during these experiences can shape the feedback that participants receive on key classroom management strategies.

A review of program evaluation and/or observation instruments finds that they provide feedback on student teachers' use of the following classroom management strategies:
  • Rules and Routines
  • Learning Time
  • Praise
  • Low-profile Redirection
  • Consequences
The program meets the standard because the feedback provided to student teachers addresses all of the critical classroom management strategies.

Next Steps
Repeated feedback on the same or similar indicators can provide program participants invaluable guidance as they strengthen their classroom management skills. Consider examining all observation and evaluation forms used by program supervisors, cooperating teachers, and any other individuals who evaluate program participants to check that they provide repeated, consistent feedback on classroom management, and modifying them if necessary.


Download Data
Rating Notes

Programs which meet the requirements for an A and also meet additional, related criteria earn an A+.

Scores of "CBD" could not be determined because NCTQ was unable to obtain sufficient data or the information that we obtained was inconclusive.


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