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University-Assisted Community Schools program at Pond Gap Elementary
A teacher assists with a drawing during art class at the University-Assisted Community Schools after school program at Pond Gap Elementary.

For the second year in a row, UT was rated top among Tennessee institutions for preparing teachers to work in the state, according to the 2018 Teacher Preparation Report Card.

UT is the only public university in Tennessee to receive a tier-four rating and one of only eight teacher preparation programs to land in the state’s top overall performance category. In the past five years, the university has recommended more than a thousand graduates for teacher licensure. Annually, UT prepares approximately 200 teachers through the College of Education, Health and Human Sciences.

“Our success is because of dedicated students and graduates who are committed to ensure that every Tennessee child has a highly effective teacher,” said David Cihak, interim associate dean of UT’s College of Education, Health, and Human Sciences. “These teachers impact approximately 100,000 students each year.”

According to the 2018 report card, UT stands out in several categories:

  • Tennessee public schools employ 76.6 percent of UT teaching graduates in their first year, and 98.7 percent of these teachers continue in the public school system the following year.
  • Almost 90 percent of teachers prepared by the university continue to teach in Tennessee public schools for at least three years.
  • Nearly one third (32.7 percent) of education graduates—above the state average—receive endorsements in high-demand subject areas, such as English as a Second Language, special education, world language, and secondary math and science.
  • In the classroom, 97.1 percent of teacher graduates received ratings of level 3 (at expectations) to 5 (significantly above expectations) on the teacher effectiveness observation scale, which measures teacher performance through components that include classroom observation scores and growth shown by students on standardized tests.

In addition to the state’s ratings, UT sends an annual survey to principals across Tennessee. In 2018, 97 percent of responding principals said they were satisfied or very satisfied with UT’s teacher preparation program and said they would feel comfortable hiring future graduates.

“To meet the demand for teachers in Tennessee schools, teacher preparation programs must prepare graduates who are ready to enter the classroom to teach and have the knowledge, skills, and dispositions to persist, year after year, as successful, highly effective teachers,” Cihak said. “If we want to be serious about reducing the teacher shortage and improving teacher retention, we must prepare career teachers.”

Last year, 96 percent of graduates from UT’s teacher preparation program indicated they were confident and prepared to enter the classroom.

CONTACT:

Brian Canever (865-974-0937, bcanever@utk.edu)

Jules Morris (865-719-7072, julesmo@utk.edu)