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Establishing design specifications for a master's program to develop accomplished teaching

Andre Audette, Johnson & Wales University


The quality of teaching students receive is the most significant variable for student learning (National Commission for Teaching and America's Future, 1996). Students of accomplished teachers outperform their peers when other factors such as socioeconomic status, race, and ethnicity are kept constant (Darling-Hammond, 2000; Wayne, 2002). Further, studies suggest that such positive effects are cumulative and can lead to substantial disparity in student achievement levels over time (Marzano, 2001, 2003; Wenglinsky, 2002). Despite the potential benefits of such accomplished teaching, there lacks a strong consensus on what comprises this practice and there are limited means for certified teachers to develop this expertise at the graduate level (Bransford, Brown, and Cocking, 2000; Johnson, 2004). While graduate programs for teachers do exist and many teachers participate in such programs, they do not consistently provide either the requisite content or delivery mechanisms to develop this expertise. Two questions guided the work of this study: What are the qualities of accomplished teaching and how can teachers develop these competencies? The answers to these questions will inform the design specifications for a master's program for certified teachers that will promote the growth of accomplished teaching. To answer these questions, the researchers used a mixed-method approach combining qualitative analysis of data from various teaching standards, a focus group protocol, expert review, and exemplary programs comparison as well as a quantitative analysis of practitioner surveys. The entire study was grounded and guided by an extensive review and analysis of the literature. This study ascertained that there are identifiable characteristics of accomplished teaching. This accomplished practice includes knowing and having high expectations for students and their learning, using multiple means and strategies to produce successful student learning, continuously, both individually and collaboratively, examining and reflecting upon practice to develop abilities, and embracing multiple roles for the teacher. The study also established the means through which teachers can learn and develop these abilities. These include collaborating with peers, examining and reflecting on teaching and learning, engaging in contextualized inquiry, and engaging in continuous and ongoing learning.

Subject Area

Teacher education|Higher education

Recommended Citation

Audette, Andre, "Establishing design specifications for a master's program to develop accomplished teaching" (2007). Dissertation & Theses Collection. AAI3270290.