Topic: Teacher Preparation


Teacher Preparation

Every student deserves a good teacher. And every teacher deserves effective preparation to teach them. SREB’s Teacher Preparation Commission recommended policies to improve the preparation of new teachers. SREB tracks and summarizes policies, analyzes research and offers several programs to train, induct and mentor teachers.

Publication March 20203 pages

State Policy Flexibilities in Response to COVID-19
Avoid Failing the Next Cohort of New Teachers

With colleges and schools moving online to curb the spread of COVID-19, state leaders will need to act quickly to ensure that policies do not prevent student-teachers from graduating and becoming licensed to teach in the fall. This brief includes immediate and longer-term recommendations to prevent pandemic closures from escalating the teacher shortage crisis.


Publication January 201932 pages18E06

State Policies to Improve Teacher Preparation
Report of the SREB Teacher Preparation Commission

To improve the effectiveness of new teachers, the SREB Teacher Preparation Commission called on states to: 

  1. Hold all new teachers in a state to the same high standards, and require practice-based licensure tests.
  2. Require high-quality clinical teaching experiences.
  3. Develop statewide data systems for continuous improvement.
  4. Encourage partnerships between teacher preparation programs and K-12 districts. 
Publication January 20205 pages

The Effects of Teacher Preparation and Training Options
A Review of the Research

SREB reviewed research on the effects of various teacher preparation and training options. The brief includes a comparison of the impact on student achievement of traditional teacher preparation programs and alternative pathways. The report takes a look at how advanced degrees and certifications impact teacher effectiveness and retention.



State Reading and Math Requirements for Elementary Teachers

SREB’s 2017 Ready to Read, Ready to Succeed and 2019 Early Math Matters reports explain the importance of well-prepared teachers in the elementary grades. These reports contain tables summarizing SREB states’ teacher preparation requirements in reading and math. The tables can be found below.



Publication November 201913 pages

Educator Preparation Program Accountability in Selected States

SREB conducted research on how states create performance accountability systems for teacher education programs. This brief describes how states go about developing performance measures and creating public report cards. The document’s appendix includes program accountability profiles for all SREB states and nine additional states.



Teacher Preparation Program Completion
Total by State, 2012-13 and 2017-18

In the SREB region, 11,600 fewer candidates completed teacher preparation programs in 2018 than in 2013, and 15 of 16 states saw declines in completion. 

Top blue bar: 2012-13
Middle orange bar: 2016-17  
Bottom gray bar: 2017-18 (the most recent available data)

AL 2,965; 2,417; 2,391. AR 2,349; 1,908; 1,739.  DE 746; 459; 437. FL 7,021; 7,840; 5,392. GA 5,443; 3,971; 3,807 KY 3,206; 2,073; 2,407. LA 2,574; 2,365; 2,106 MD 2,774; 2,382; 2,092 MS 2,305; 1,687; 1,583. NC 5,499; 4,308; 4,222. OK 2,152; 1,398; 1,314. SC 2,447, 2,207; 2,106. TN 4,447; 2,904.; 2,803. TX 20,869; 22,574; 21,598. VA 3,954; 3,372; 3,208.  WV 1,182; 895; 994.

Includes teacher candidates who completed traditional teacher preparation programs and university-based and private alternative teacher preparation programs.


Clinical Practice in Teacher Preparation
Innovation, Promising Practices and the State's Role

View webinar recording

New teachers need plenty of opportunities to practice their teaching skills, and they need specific, targeted feedback to help them improve.  The SREB Teacher Preparation Commission concluded that being sure teacher candidates experience high-quality clinical practice is the clearest implication of research in the field. Join us for a discussion on promising practices and the state’s role in policy.

Blog post Samantha DurranceSREB Policy Analyst
Graph with percentages of teachers with a degree in math or math education in 2018.

Giving Elementary Teachers the Tools to Teach Math Well
Broad preparation can leave math-specific knowledge lacking

Math cartoon - "Just a darn minute -- yesterday your said that X equals two!" It’s no secret that aspiring teachers with strong math backgrounds tend to be drawn toward the secondary grades, where they can just teach math. In fact, results of the 2018 National Survey of Science and Math Education showed that just 3 percent of elementary teachers surveyed held a degree in mathematics or math education, compared with 45 percent of middle grades math teachers and 79 percent of high school math teachers.

Blog post Matthew Smith | SREB Research Associate

Spotlight on Clinical Experiences
How State Leaders Could Support High-Quality Clinical Practice

The SREB Teacher Preparation Commission called on state leaders to consider ways to improve the quality of teacher candidates’ classroom experiences. After consulting the research, Commission members learned that the length of a clinical experience is less important than ensuring that candidates are supported by effective mentors and supervised by university faculty who have experience in the classroom.

Blog post Matthew Smith, SREB Research Associate

Getting the Balance Right
Reconsidering the Mix of Teacher Licensure Measures

The SREB Teacher Preparation Commission called on state leaders to adopt practice-based assessments. These tests assess candidates’ readiness to lead a classroom and to apply lessons learned during coursework and clinical experiences.

Practice-based assessments have diagnostic value, meaning they provide performance data that educator preparation programs can use to identify strengths and opportunities for improvement. State agencies could use the assessment data to determine how they will provide technical assistance to preparation programs.

Blog post Samantha Durrance, SREB Policy Analyst

Are teachers prepared to teach reading?
Research shows a gap between what we know about reading and how teachers are prepared to teach it

Reading is the foundation for learning.

The research is clear: Students who are not reading proficiently by the end of third grade are much more likely to face poor academic outcomes. For this reason alone, we know it is incredibly important that children learn to read well early in elementary school and continue to build on those reading skills throughout the rest of school.