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Improvement Process: Gap Analysis
Step 2
Step 2 — Assess Current Situation

A needs assessment yields information about critical data points—such as current teacher credentials, examples of teacher performance, and alignment to the state's high objective uniform state standard of evaluation (HOUSSE)—to develop a customized model of potentially improvable practices that could ensure a full complement of highly qualified teachers. Information from the needs assessment is inputted into the Teacher Quality Gap Analysis Tool (TQGAT).

Example

  • How big of a concern is it?
    With more data on the teachers not meeting the highly qualified teacher provision, we now know that 25 are middle school teachers, 25 are elementary teachers teaching bilingual education, and 30 are special education teachers. These are all great concerns. With the split of K–8 to elementary and middle school, many teachers holding elementary certificates (which have not required demonstration of a specific subject area) must now demonstrate content knowledge of each subject area that they teach. Therefore, the number of middle school teachers not meeting the highly qualified provision can be significant. Bilingual and special education teachers have been two areas of shortage for school districts. As a result, school districts have retained teachers who are not fully licensed or have not completed the sufficient coursework for these two areas. With the growing number of English language learners and the subgroups per NCLB, ensuring that bilingual and special education students are taught by highly qualified teachers is critical. For the sake of this example, we will continue to focus on bilingual teachers.

  • For a current state of affairs: Conduct a needs sensing, including an analysis of important documents and data, such as current policies, contract stipulations, professional development and school improvement plan, district improvement plan, professional development plan, state policies, and sample action strategies.
    In addition, we collect highest degree, major, endorsement(s), and any additional coursework or professional development if easily accessible for the bilingual or English as a second language (ESL) teachers. In order to appropriately access and make recommendations, it is important to have a clear understanding of the policies and plans currently in place at the district.
    Based on the TQGAT matrix, we ask about barriers and bridges to recruiting, supporting new teachers, and retaining bilingual teachers.

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