In the spring of 1998, the Board of Directors for the Washington State Institute for Public Policy (Institute) requested staff to examine whether teachers are obtaining the knowledge and skills they need to help students meet the state's new academic standards. The Institute selected three teacher preparation and development programs covering the early stages of a teacher's career to examine in-depth: 1) Pre-service Teacher Preparation (Residency Certificate); 2) Beginning Teacher Assistance; 3) Professional Certification.
The Institute relied on case studies, surveys, and interviews to obtain information on Washington's teacher education programs, beginning teacher assistance programs, and pilot projects for professional certification. Surveys were conducted of all new teachers hired in public schools between 1996 and 1998 and all principals in public schools. The Institute also reviewed research literature on teacher quality, analyzed data on certification and employment of teachers in Washington's public schools, and summarized activities related to teacher quality in other states.