The College of Education at Augusta University has once again earned an exemplary score of a Level 4 rating, the highest score available, on the 2021 Teacher Preparation Program Effectiveness Measures (PPEMs) published by the Georgia Professional Standards Commission (GaPSC).
Augusta University first earned a Level 4 rating in 2020 and the College of Education has successfully maintained this exemplary score in the 2021 PPEM rating, the Georgia Professional Standards Commission announced this week.
A Level 4 score in the PPEM rating indicates that the College of Education at Augusta University is fully preparing teachers for the realities of a classroom, said Dr. Kristy Brown, the assistant dean at Augusta University’s College of Education.
“This rating is so important because we’re able to say that we are thoroughly preparing an effective teacher,” Brown said. “Level 4 is the highest that you can get and we got there because we really worked with our local stakeholders. We have an amazing partner school network made up of more than 60 partner schools that we rely on for vitally important feedback.”
According to the Georgia Professional Standards Commission, the PPEMs have three purposes: First, to give educator preparation providers (EPPs) and their programs access to data to inform improvement; second, to hold EPPs accountable for the quality of educators they produce; and third, to provide transparency to the public, including the K-12 education community, about the quality of teachers and leaders produced by each EPP.
The ultimate goal of the PPEM rating is to improve student learning in Georgia by raising the quality of the teachers and leaders responsible for their education.
“The PPEM measures what type of teachers that we, as a college, are producing,” Brown said. “There’s research that says many factors contribute to a student’s academic performance, but the teacher is the most important. So, when it comes to a student’s performance on reading and math tests, a teacher is estimated to have two to three times the impact over any other school factor, including services, facilities and leadership. The fact is, teachers matter most.”
The PPEM ratings of all Georgia educator preparation program providers are now available on the GaPSC PPEM dashboard.
“At GaPSC, the needs of our students in Georgia come first. In order that they can receive the quality education they deserve, it is imperative that their teachers be effectively prepared,” said Matt Arthur, executive secretary of GaPSC. “The 2021 measures are consistent with prior years, and even reflect the targeted improvements made by many EPPs, in spite of the challenges faced by programs, teachers, and students alike over the last year and a half.”
The PPEMs evaluate educator preparation programs using measures collected during candidates’ time in the program, such as certification assessments required by the state, and measures collected following completion once candidates are in the classroom, such as classroom observations by supervisors and surveys of employers and newly employed teachers.
The primary purpose of the PPEMs is to give educator preparation programs detailed information that they can use to improve.
“Since their inception, PPEMs have deeply informed the process of continuous improvement for Georgia educator preparation programs,” said Penney McRoy, director of the Educator Preparation Division at GaPSC. “We are seeing programs generate plans to improve specific preparation measures, and then seeing the payoff in greater effectiveness in following years. We’re excited for Georgia students to benefit from these improvements.”
Additionally, the PPEMs are meant to provide the public with valuable information on educator preparation programs, particularly individuals considering entering a program themselves. PPEMs also complement the state’s approval process, as PPEMs align with two of the standards program providers must meet in order to continue preparing future Georgia-certified educators.
Dr. Judi Wilson, dean of the College of Education, said the Level 4 rating reflects the tremendous work of the faculty, staff, students and alumni at Augusta University, as well as their local partners in the school systems.
“We truly value our teachers and our local partners as the experts, so we’re a college that brings teachers and leaders to the table to discuss continuous improvement,” Wilson said. “We believe that our partners should always be at the center of our efforts to improve, rethink and redesign teacher preparation programs, so we’re constantly soliciting their feedback on how we can improve our programs to better prepare our educators to meet the diverse needs of our classrooms.”