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Tennessee Dept. of Education algorithm testing


Jun 01, 2021


Sep 30, 2021
Funding Agency
State of Tennessee

As part of the Mentors Matter Initiative with the Tennessee Department of Education, Matthew Ronfeldt, Ph.D. and his team have developed an algorithm that uses historical information about teachers' instructional effectiveness and years of experience to develop recommendation lists to help identify promising teachers to serve as clinical mentors (cooperating teachers).


Recruiters in districts that were randomly assigned to use these recommendation lists were able to recruit significantly and meaningfully more instructionally effective and experienced teachers to serve as clinical mentors; in turn, program completers (student teachers) who were prepared in these districts that used the recommendation lists were also more instructionally effective. Though these initial results are extremely promising, the current grant/contract will support additional testing of this algorithm to ensure it is identifying a racially and ethnically representative pool of clinical mentors. In addition, in recent years, the research team has partnered with more teacher education programs to try using the algorithm in their recruitment efforts; further research will examine whether or not these scale-up efforts have been as successful as the initial initiative.

Primary Investigator(s)

Associate Professor, Marsal Family School of Education; Faculty Associate, Survey Research Center, Institute for Social Research

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