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December 3, 2008

State analysis affirms success of ULM’s redesigned education program

ULM graduates are positively affecting student achievement in Louisiana’s public school systems, and consistently outrank the performance of graduates from other education programs, according to results of a study released today by the state.

The University of Louisiana Board of Regents and governor’s office announced the results at Wednesday’s joint meeting of the Board of Regents and Board of Elementary and Secondary Education. The study examined the net effect of post-redesign alternate certification programs offered at several University of Louisiana System schools, including ULM.

At the joint meeting, Board of Regents member Robert Bruno publicly commended ULM's College of Education, saying that other universities in the state should visit the college to learn more about what it is doing to produce such qualified graduates.

Dr. George Noelle, chief researcher for the report, said that based on the study's analysis he would be "thrilled to have his children taught by a graduate of ULM College of Education."

The research model for the study used student achievement, as well as teacher and curriculum databases from the last three academic years, to assess whether fourth through ninth graders were performing at higher rates than predicted on standardized tests as a result of having a teacher who has graduated from a redesign certification program.

ULM graduates consistently ranked at the highest levels of achievement when compared to students from the other five programs participating in the study.

“The study affirms that ULM is producing quality students who are able to enter Louisiana classrooms and have a positive impact on student learning,” said Dr. Sandra Lemoine, Dean of the College of Education. “It validates that the redesign is indeed working.”

Using multi-level analysis of such variables as prior student achievement level, gender and student demographics, the study affirmed that graduates of the ULM alternate certification programs rank at or near the top in positively effecting achievement in core content areas.

The core content areas analyzed were the same as those covered by students taking the Iowa Test of Basic Skills, iLEAP and LEAP 21. Scores in mathematics, science, social studies, language arts and reading were used for the analysis.

The report found that ULM graduates who are new teachers of social studies, science and language arts have a greater impact on the academic achievement of their students than experienced teachers who have not benefitted from the programs.

In addition, the report shows that ULM graduates who are new teachers of mathematics have an impact equal to experienced teachers, but also greater than expected of any new teacher.

The alternate certification programs at ULM have been made possible through state grant funding exceeding $7,300,000. The alternate certification programs are designed to provide teacher candidates with the professional content and teaching knowledge and skills they need to become highly qualified and certified teachers in a short period of time.

ULM is completing its fifth and final year of the LA-T2T, in partnership with three other schools – Nicholls State University, McNeese State University and Northwestern State University. The grant has placed 105 ULM graduates in schools of high need, and in high-need subject areas, across Louisiana.

The university is also in its first year of TEACH Delta, a grant held in partnership with Jackson State University, to reach students in impoverished areas of the Delta.

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