The ‘Secret Sauce’ in Teacher Success

Three little words

Nearly half (44 percent) of all teachers quit their profession within the first five years of starting their job, according to a study by Richard Ingersoll and his team at the Consortium for Policy Research in Education.

That statistic is appalling for administrators, students and parents alike, who benefit as teaching effectiveness grows with each passing year.

Texas A&M University-Commerce (TAMU – Commerce) appears to have cracked the code on surviving the initial teaching hump, posting an 85 percent retention rate for teachers in their first five years.

“Texas A&M-Commerce still prides itself on a prolific production of high-quality teachers,” writes Mark J. Reid, Ph.D., associate dean at the College of Education and Human Services. “Over the last five years, the university has produced an average of over 450 new teachers each year.”

One key ingredient in the high-retention-rate secret sauce: in-class experience.

“New teachers hit the public schools ready for success because of a robust experience they obtain within a full year school internship and residency semesters,” Reid writes.

That and other preparation also contribute to a 97 percent passing rate for the initial statewide teacher certification examination, he writes.

Teachers carrying TAMU – Commerce degrees are making a strong impact on the region.

An analysis by the Center for Research, Evaluation & Advancement of Teacher Education found that TAMU – Commerce teachers were employed by 140 school districts and 45 charter schools within a 75-mile radius of the university.

“Notably, 85 percent of the teachers produced by A&M Commerce find initial employment within this zone,” Reid writes. “This trend has resulted in 26 districts that have a majority of their teachers who are graduates of the university including 173 teachers out of the 257 in Sulphur Springs ISD.”

This article is part of the 2020 Higher Education Review Magazine.