Wisconsin Teacher Quality
2008 Initial Educator and Mentor Survey: An Overview
In 2004, the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI) implemented a significant departure in state policy regarding the preparation, induction, and continuing professional development of Wisconsin's educators. Wisconsin Administrative Code, Chapter PI 34, also known as the Wisconsin Quality Educator Initiative, created a new, standards-based system in support of the preparation of teachers, administrators, and pupil-services personnel. More specifically, PI 34 was enacted to accomplish several major teaching and learning goals for Wisconsin schools in the 21st century, including the following (Wisconsin Administrative Code, Chapter PI 34):
- Creating a shared vision of what educators should know and be able to do to improve student learning.
- Developing career-long professional development.
- Creating performance-based assessment of preparation and practice.
- Addressing challenges and opportunities presented by diverse student populations.
- Improving access to equitable educational opportunities for all students.
This new initiative called for expanded partnerships among local school districts, institutions of higher education, and the Department of Public Instruction. Local school districts bear the responsibility for ensuring that all initial educators (i.e., professionals who complete educator preparation programs after August 2004) are provided with a support system. According to PI 34, the support system must include the following:
- Ongoing orientation.
- Support seminars.
- For each initial educator a qualified mentor who has been trained to provide input into the confidential formative assessment of initial educators.
- An administrator who has been trained in the Professional Development Plan (PDP) team process.
To support the development of initial educator support systems, Wisconsin has provided funding annually to local districts. Funding also has been provided to DPI grant programs to cover a portion of the costs associated with, but not limited to, mentor training, mentor stipends, release time for initial educators to attend support seminars, release time for mentors to observe and meet with initial educators, ongoing orientation, and other induction system activities.
Documenting the extent to which initial educator support systems have been implemented and describing the nature of their quality and impact are important ingredients for building Wisconsin's capacity for delivering high-quality education. During April and May of 2007 and 2008, the Great Lakes West Comprehensive Center assisted DPI's Teacher Education, Professional Development and Licensing (TEPDL) team in designing and conducting an online evaluation survey. In 2008, the survey population included 3,283 initial educators and 2,604 mentors.
The anonymous survey sought feedback from these new educators and their mentors for multiple purposes. First, the survey data provided information that will enable DPI staff to revise several resource documents, including the various PDP Educator Toolkits and other information resources maintained by the TEPDL team. Second, data from the survey can be used to strengthen educator preparation programs. Teacher educators can locate data on the extent to which initial educators say their preparation programs provided support for particular teaching standards and the standards they felt "least prepared" to implement as a new teacher. Finally, the survey feedback provides valuable, customer-focused input that can help districts and other stakeholder groups build and improve support for initial educators. It also informs internal and external accountability associated with PI 34 and the Wisconsin Induction Model.
The survey was sent to public school initial educators and mentors whose districts applied for the initial educator mentor grant. The summary results for the four groups who responded to the survey can be found in the attached files:
- Initial EducatorTeachers (n = 746 respondents)
- Initial EducatorPupil Services Professionals (n = 73)
- Mentors of Initial EducatorTeachers (n = 708)
- Mentors of Initial EducatorPupil Services Professionals
(n = 63)
Initial educator administrators and administrator mentors were also surveyed, but the small size of the 2008 sample and the limited number of survey responses did not produce a data set large enough to conduct reliable analyses for that group.