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UGA rises to top of class for educator prep programs

Kristen Morales

December 16, 2019

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The University of Georgia's educator preparation programs have received high marks from a new state effectiveness measure of how well candidates were prepared for their careers.

According to results of Georgia's first-ever Preparation Program Evaluation Measures (PPEM), UGA received an "exemplary" Level 4 rating, the highest rating available. UGA scored 184 out of a possible 200 points, eight points higher than the statewide average for educator preparation programs.

"We are committed to bringing innovative teaching to the classroom as one of our main goals, and this new measurement of effectiveness underscores our ability to do so," said Denise Spangler, dean of the UGA College of Education, which is home to most of the educator preparation programs on campus. "Based on the hard work and dedication of our faculty and our school-based partners, our candidates enter the workforce as skilled and accomplished educators and clinicians ready to change lives."

The score reflects programs in the UGA College of Education, which prepares teachers, school counselors and speech therapists, as well as partner programs in the arts, family and consumer sciences, agriculture, and school nutrition, which are housed in other UGA colleges.

The PPEM was created by the Georgia Professional Standards Commission to give the public insight into the effectiveness of educator preparation programs and also to inform programs of areas where they might need improvement.

The PPEM evaluates educator preparation programs by combining two sets of data. First, the PPEM reflects data from candidates' time in the program, such as their performance on state-mandated assessments; second, the PPEM reflects data from supervisor observations of and surveys from program completers who have graduated and have begun working in schools.

"In Georgia, all educator preparation providers are engaged in a process of continuous improvement informed by data," said Penney McRoy, educator preparation division director at the Georgia Professional Standards Commission. "The PPEM adds to that ongoing process, providing one more tool to assist them in preparing great teachers for our schools."

As the flagship college of education for the state, the UGA College of Education is not only providing top-quality preparation for future educators, it's also providing leadership to other institutions aiming to increase the effectiveness of their preparation programs. "A Level 4 is reserved for those program providers whose performance was exemplary, and we will ask these providers to share their best practices with other Georgia program providers," added McRoy.

While the PPEM does reflect important data about program effectiveness, it cannot capture all aspects of an educator preparation program, nor is it meant to do so. For example, through a partnership with the Clarke County School District, UGA faculty teach approximately 20 teacher preparation classes on-site in schools each semester, which allows future teachers to learn from school-based personnel and to immediately apply what they have learned by working with P-12 students. Our school-based partners also benefit from having future educators in their schools as they can provide more individual and small group instruction and bring fresh, new perspectives to the classroom.

The dashboard is available on the GaPSC website.