Tech continues to lead state in teacher education

Shelby Brooks, left, and Brandon Gilbert, music majors, attend a recent teacher-candidate training.

COOKEVILLE – Tennessee Tech’s College of Education continues to pave the way in preparing teacher-candidates to impact P-12 students and school districts across the state. 

According to the 2019-2020 Tennessee Educator Prep Report Card, released Friday by the Tennessee State Board of Education, Tech exceeds expectations when it comes to the number of teacher graduates who are employed in various districts across the state.

“This just shows the hard work we do to build relationships with our districts in getting our completers into and staying in teaching,” said Julie Baker, associate dean of Tech’s College of Education.

Tech’s overall score meets expectations based on three scored domains – candidate profile, employment and provider impact.

The report card looks at three years of data (2016-2017, 2017-2018 and 2018-2019) and shows that Tech is strong in the employment field with a 77% rate of first-year employment in Tennessee public schools, 93.8% in second year retention rate and 89%  in the third year retention rate. 

The third year retention rate exceeded the state average of 83.6%, while the second year retention rate and first-year employment were on par with the state averages.

Tech had 271 completers in each of the three years included in the report card, the highest number of completers among the 38 other Educator Preparation Providers also scored from across the state, showing that Tech produces the highest number of teacher candidates across the state.

Tech’s program offers opportunities for candidates to earn licensure in 32 initial programs and five advanced programs with a variety of undergraduate, post-baccalaureate and alternative pathways. Programs prepare effective, engaging professionals through a year-long, clinically-rich residency program with a network of over 50 district partnerships across the state.

Another domain, the provider impact domain, looks at the effectiveness of a provider’s completers in Tennessee public school classrooms.

Tech scored 97.3% on the number of cohort members whose classroom observation scores are level 3 or above, exceeding the state average of 95.2%. The percentage of cohort members whose classroom observation scores are level 4 or above also exceeded the state average at 62.1%, while the percentage of cohort members whose student growth scores are level 3 or above was below the state’s average, along with the percentage of cohort members whose student growth scores are level 4 or above.

However, Tech’s program struggles when it comes to the candidate profile, a domain that evaluates the provider’s ability to recruit a strong, diverse cohort of candidates and prepare them to teach in the content areas of greatest need.

“Our candidate profile is again our weakest performance category,” said Baker. “In the Upper Cumberland, our population is not racially diverse. We know we aren’t drawing teacher candidates from a racially diverse population. We are thinking outside the box to attract racially diverse candidates.”

Tech’s College of Education has more partnerships in the state and more districts that hire its candidates than any other EPP in the state.

“We offer a lot of programs that many other universities don’t offer,” Baker said. “We have ag education, family and consumer sciences, art education, music education and our physical education and exercise program is one of the best in the state.”

To find out more about the state report card, visit

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