In cooperation with the CITES Teacher Education Research Group and with funding support from Jordan School District, Joy Campbell, liaison for Jordan School District, and CFAs Jodi Stewart-Browning and Lanea Sampson are studying how effective the one-year internship program for student teachers is compared to the traditional one-semester student teaching. Jordan School District facilitators Linda Rowley, Billie Shepherd, Chris Kelley, Christie DeSpain, Mary Smith, Jean Buchanan, Sherri Jensen, Lisa Pearson, Sharon Rettie, and Teri Mickelsen have also been involved in the study. This study was conducted because of stipulations of the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act in which interns may be prohibited from teaching because they are not considered "highly qualified" under NCLB definitions. Campbell and her associates hope to discover whether an internship is a superior teacher preparation model compared to the traditional student teaching model.
Campbell, Stewart-Browning, and Sampson initially met with action research expert Dr. Nedra Crow of National University. Dr. Crow provided direction on how to establish a credible foundation for their research. Jordan School District provided funding for professional consultations and clerical staff for Campbell and her research group. Initially, Campbell's research group conducted a literature search to look at different forms of internship programs. They were unable to find any other university that maintains an internship program quite like the BYU–Public School Partnership. Although many other internship programs exist for teacher candidates, none of them include a funding structure that provides a paid internship experience for the student teacher and a cost savings to the district that allows for reallocation of funds to provide mentors.
Next, a historical examination of internships in Jordan School District was done. The current version of the BYU–Public School internship program has been in place since 1991. All post-1991 interns were identified and entered into a database.
Campbell's team wanted to determine impact of the BYU-Public School Partnership internship program on two levels. First, they wanted to obtain the views of teachers who were either interns or traditional student teachers for comparison of the value of the two programs. Second, they compared scores of interns and student teachers on the Jordan Performance Appraisal System (JPAS). Surveys were sent out to former interns who were employed in Jordan School District. The survey included Likert scale questions regarding how qualified the intern felt after having completed his or her internship. In the past four years, Jordan has utilized 90 interns. Forty-three of the 90 (48%) were hired and worked at least one year after their internship. Thirty of the 43 (70%) completed the surveys.
Using appropriate coding to guarantee confidentiality, all research participants have been compared based on the JPAS. Jordan District requires that all provisional teachers (1-3 years of teaching) are evaluated using JPAS twice yearly and that all second-level teachers (4+ years of teaching) are evaluated using JPAS every three years. The JPAS involves an interview with the principal in which the teacher shows documentation of planning and records. During the interview, the principal notes the teacher's planning ability and his or her "professional growth" based on previous JPAS scores. The principal also observes the classroom twice and marks the teacher's ability to manage the classroom, deliver instruction, and interact with students. The JPAS measurements provide the study with a standard to compare interns against student teachers.
Two student teacher control groups were established. One group included teachers that student taught through BYU (Group B) and the other group encompasses teachers who student taught through another university (Group C). By comparing these two types, Campbell and associates can gain some insight into the impact of BYU's student teaching program.
Currently, Campbell and her research group are matching one teacher from Groups B and C to each intern (classified as Group A). Each group of three (one from Group A, B, and C) is matched according to similar grade level and socioeconomic status of the school for first year teaching. That is, an intern teacher who taught 3rd grade his or her first year a a high-risk school would be compared with a teacher from Groups B and C who also taught 3rd grade and were at similar high-risk schools. By comparing teachers this way, Campbell hopes to minimize variables that could account for differences in each grouping.
Significance of Research
The Jordan Intern Study is significant in several regards.
- The BYU–Public School Partnership will have data to examine the effectiveness of its internship program and will better know its strengths and weaknesses.
- The study will help improve the quality of education and training given at the University to interns before they begin their internships and careers.
- The study provides data concerning the effectiveness of a program that supports other partnership programs.
- The study provides a reference for the ongoing discussion of the definition of a "highly qualified teacher."