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Beginning Teacher Knowledge of General Principles of Teaching and Learning: A National Survey

Reynolds, Anne; Rosenfeld, Michael; Tannenbaum, Richard J.
Publication Year:
Report Number:
ETS Research Report
Document Type:
Page Count:
Subject/Key Words:
Beginning Teachers, Job Analysis, Praxis Series, Teaching Methods, Test Construction


A job analysis was conducted to define the knowledge domain of general principles of teaching and learning necessary for newly licensed (certified) teachers, regardless of grade level or subject matter taught, to perform their jobs competently. The results of the study are being used to develop test specifications for the Principles of Learning and Teaching assessment of The Praxis Series: Professional Assessments for Beginning Teachers. Three types of analyses were conducted: 1) frequency distributions across background information categories (e.g., sex, years of teaching experience, grade level); 2) mean importance ratings by relevant subgroups; and 3) correlations of mean importance ratings within relevant subgroups. A cutpoint of 2.50 (midway between "Moderately Important" and "Important") was set to differentiate between important knowledge and unimportant knowledge for purposes of test development. Without qualification, 75% (n=48) of the knowledge statements were identified as important by the surveyed educators. It is recommended that initial consideration be given to content that is well above the cutpoint and represents the appropriate breadth of content coverage. Correlations for relevant subgroups were in the .90s, which suggests substantial agreement regarding the relative importance of the knowledge needed by newly licensed teachers in the domain of general principles of teaching and learning. Evidence was also provided in this study of how well each domain was covered by the specific knowledge statements. The results suggest that all of the domains were judged to be well covered by the specific knowledge statements. Additionally, suggestions were offered regarding the relative weights each domain should receive in test specifications for the Praxis II: Subject Assessment in Principles of Learning and Teachings. Nine appendices include lists of and letters to participants in the study, the Job Analysis Inventory of General Principles of Teaching and Learning, demographic characteristics of the survey respondents, a table of means by job category (teachers, administrators, teacher educators) and a table listing knowledge statements rated less than 2.50 by relevant subgroups. (JGL) (64pp.)

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