National Council on Teacher Quality. (2020). Tennessee State University Undergraduate Elementary. Teacher Prep Review. [Data set]. https://www.nctq.org/review/viewProgram/Tennessee-State-University-TN-1
To ensure that every child - regardless of race or background - receives a quality education, their teachers need to be effective. To support that aim, programs should screen for academic caliber during admissions to ensure that teacher candidates come from the top half of the college-going population. For consideration under this standard, tests used as an academic screen must be normed to the college-going population.
Institution-level selectivity for Tennessee State University
- Barron's Competitiveness Rating: Less Competitive
- Program GPA admissions requirement: 2.75
- Recently admitted teacher candidates' average GPA: 3.41
While the GPA for recently admitted teacher candidates is commendable, it does not represent a nationally normed measure that ensures all teacher candidates are among the top half of the college-going population.
To improve under this standard, set the GPA requirement for admission into the teacher prep program at 3.3 or require SAT/ACT scores above the national median.
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: 38 percent candidates of color2
- Tennessee teacher workforce: 17 percent teachers of color3
- Local demographics: 27 percent persons of color4
Tennessee State University is found to be 21.4 percentage points more diverse than the Tennessee teacher workforce and 11.1 percentage points more diverse than the local population.
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
EDLI 3500, and EDLI 4500
The research-based content proven to be necessary for teaching all children to read should be clearly evident in course materials such as lecture topics, assignments and textbooks. All of a program's required reading courses — not just some courses — should impart what is necessary to teach reading.
The program meets the standard because its coursework covers all five of the components of effective reading instruction:
- Phonemic Awareness
- Comprehension Strategies
In order for elementary schools to deliver equitable and effective instruction in mathematics to all students, they need their teachers to have acquired the mathematics content and pedagogical knowledge specified in commonly accepted mathematics education standards. To evaluate that coverage, the Elementary Mathematics standard examines the instructional time allocated to each of the five essential topics in coursework required by teacher preparation programs.
To assess performance under this standard, the distribution of instructional time is estimated using syllabi and course descriptions. Only courses that provide content and pedagogical knowledge related to elementary mathematics are considered.
A review of EDCI 4550, MATH 1410, and MATH 1420 found the following coverage:
Numbers & Operations: 56 instructional hours*
Recommended target: 45 hours
Algebraic Thinking: 19 instructional hours*
Recommended target: 20 hours
Geometry & Measurement: 11 instructional hours
Recommended target: 25 hours
Data Analysis & Probability: 4 instructional hours
Recommended target: 15 hours
Mathematics Pedagogy: 45 instructional hours
Recommended target: 45 hours
*Please note that for grading purposes, the hours for Numbers & Operations and Algebraic Thinking are summed and measured against a combined target of 65 hours. Under this measure, 75 instructional hours were found.
Programs earning a B provide most of the content and pedagogical knowledge elementary teachers need for effective mathematics instruction. Programs earn this grade by allocating at least 120 hours (of the 150 recommended target hours) to the five essential topic areas combined, equivalent to 80% of the total target recommendation.
Analysis of the required coursework for elementary teacher candidates at Tennessee State University found the program to address 83.3% of the total target recommendation.
Building Content Knowledge
To be successful, elementary teachers need content knowledge in science and social studies, both to build their students' understanding of the world and their critical thinking skills, and also to support students in becoming strong readers. Becoming a strong reader requires cumulative exposure to content knowledge, cutting across multiple domains and disciplines. The courses aspiring teachers take gives them strong background knowledge in these subjects, and in turn, they give this knowledge to students.
This program was not included in the 2023 Building Content Knowledge analysis.
Student teaching serves a critical role in preparing teacher candidates to take the reins of their own classroom. This apprenticeship allows candidates to build on coursework by learning directly from an established teacher, and practice and refine essential instructional and management skills.
Student teaching should be at least 10 weeks long in order to offer opportunities for repeated cycles of practice and growth. 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 the program includes at least 10 weeks of full- or nearly-full-time student teaching, and exposes candidates to the full responsibilities of a teacher.
1. Supply student teachers with sufficient feedback by requiring supervisors to provide student teachers with at least four instances of written feedback based on observations.
- A review of program policy finds that supervisors are required to provide a minimum of 4 instances of written feedback based on observations.
- Analysis finds that this program does not collect substantive information on cooperating teachers' skills.
- Require program supervisors to observe student teachers at least four times during the final semester of clinical experiences and provide written feedback after each observation. Research finds that when student teachers are observed at least five times by university supervisors over the course of the student teaching placement, they are more effective when they have classrooms of their own. While feedback from cooperating teachers is also valuable, no research of comparable strength defines the ideal quantity of feedback from cooperating teachers.
- To ensure candidates are placed with the best, establish an explicit process with partner districts to gather information on potential cooperating teachers' skills including both their effectiveness (as measured by student achievement) and capacity to mentor. Collecting additional information, such as a teacher's classroom management style or communication skills, can also be valuable, as long as the focus remains on quality and the potential fit as a mentor and not on just collecting basic data, like years of experience. This information should be used to screen cooperating teachers' suitability before placing student teachers with them.
- Clear requirements for cooperating teachers can help to guide the cooperating teacher selection process. At a minimum, cooperating teachers should be both strong mentors of adults and highly effective instructors. Our review finds that program requirements include that cooperating teachers must be strong mentors, but do not address teacher effectiveness as defined by student learning.
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:
- Rules and Routines – Establishing classroom rules and routines that set expectations for behavior;
- 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;
- Praise – Using meaningful praise and other forms of positive reinforcement to encourage appropriate behavior;
- Low-profile Redirection – Using unobtrusive means that do not interrupt instruction to prevent and manage minimally disruptive behavior; and
- Consequences – Addressing more serious misbehavior with consistent, appropriate consequences.
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
- Low-profile Redirection
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.