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Using CBE to Train & Retain Teachers

  • 2 Min Read

“What kind of teacher do you want to be, and how well do you want to serve students who deserve outstanding teachers?” – Jennifer Green, CEO & Founder, Urban Teacher Center

Student retention is a growing concern in higher education, but the retention problem doesn’t stop there. Keeping teachers in their careers is also becoming a challenge. It’s estimated that 150,000 new teachers will be needed annually to keep up with demand – unfortunately, the problem is bigger than just trying to recruit new talent.

The Teacher Retention Challenge

Retaining teachers is much more difficult than recruiting new ones. In fact, more than 30% of new teachers leave their profession within five years, and those who are less prepared for the classroom are leaving much faster. Research shows teacher attrition costs an average of $15,000 per lost teacher, or at least $2 billion annually.

Instead of throwing money at pumping out new teachers, we need to think about how we can shift the focus to creating more strategic and supportive teaching programs – programs which will better prepare and train teachers, so they feel fulfilled and more motivated to stay in their careers. That’s not to say traditional teacher preparation programs are ineffective, but alternative approaches such as competency-based education (CBE) are certainly worth considering.

A Different Way of Training Teachers

The Woodrow Wilson Academy for Teaching and Learning has created a CBE program that is highly selective in admitting students. The president, Arthur Levine, claims the students taught by graduates of this program actually perform better, than those taught by teachers who come from the traditional approach. In fact, a new report by the American Institutes for Research found the more selective the program is, the higher the chances are of teacher retention and student success in those classrooms.

The Urban Teacher Residency United Program is another example of an institute that sets the bar high for teaching candidates. They only accept 11% of applicants and after five years, 82% of the graduates are still working as teachers. This level of retention rate is rare in teaching. CBE programs should not be viewed as being in competition with traditional teacher prep – rather, an alternative approach that can help better the traditional model. Woodrow Wilson’s CBE program for example, will be open source and available to the public.

Learn from the Success of Others

There are a number of other institutions and organizations exploring these models, and with success. Inside Higher Ed’s new booklet, The Rise of Competency-Based Education has compiled a variety of articles which explore CBE and the increasing impact it’s having on education.

If you’re interested in keeping up with the latest trends in CBE and want to learn how institutions are launching CBE programs, the strategies they are adopting, and the regulatory challenges they’re up against – Download the booklet today!


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