Improving Michigan STEM Teachers and Teaching analyzed the efforts of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation's Woodrow Wilson Michigan Teaching Fellowship, which began in the state in 2010 with the generous financial support of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. Woodrow Wilson selected and worked closely with six Michigan universities that demonstrated the capacity, willingness, and leadership to create model teacher education programs—rigorous, highly selective, clinically based programs integrating disciplinary content and pedagogical instruction.
Partner universities in the state included Eastern Michigan University, Grand Valley State University, Michigan State University, the University of Michigan, Wayne State University, and Western Michigan University. Teaching Fellows completed their clinical experiences in school districts across the state, including Ann Arbor, Battle Creek, Benton Harbor, Comstock, Detroit, Godwin Heights, Grand Rapids, Jackson, Kalamazoo, Lansing, Lincoln, and Ypsilanti.
"Woodrow Wilson Fellows are indeed taking on the challenge of teaching in Michigan's high-need classrooms, and they are well prepared to work with students in those schools," the report states "Michigan students taught by Fellows are four times more likely to be black (61 percent, as opposed to -15 percent for inexperienced non-Fellows); about twice as likely to be eligible for free/reduced price lunch (80 percent, versus 44 percent for non-Fellows); more likely to have changed schools within the school year (31 percent, versus 10 percent for non-Fellows); three times as likely to be English language learners (10 percent, versus 3 percent for non-Fellows), and more likely to have special education needs (16 percent, compared to 10 percent for non-Fellows)."
The analysis found that W.K. Kellogg Foundation Woodrow Wilson Michigan Teaching Fellows were placed in some of the state's most challenging teaching assignments, while bringing more subject matter expertise to Michigan classrooms than did their peers. Fully 100 percent of Woodrow Wilson Fellows hold a Michigan STEM license. By contrast, just 87 percent of new Michigan teachers statewide who taught core STEM classes have STEM licenses.
Information provided by the Center for the Analysis of Longitudinal Data in Education Research (CALDER) at the American Institutes for Research demonstrated that the Woodrow Wilson Teaching Fellowship Program does lead to improved teacher performance in the high-need schools that the program focuses on, as measured by Fellows' impact on student achievement. In addition, compared to students of non-Fellows, students of Woodrow Wilson Fellows showed more growth in middle school math, middle school science, and high school science. The exception was Fellows teaching high school science, who only outperformed the same-district inexperienced comparison group.
As the formal W.K. Kellogg-Woodrow Wilson Teaching Fellowship program concludes, each of the six partner universities demonstrates how the transformation project will be continued in ongoing teacher education efforts across the state. Eastern Michigan University, for instance, has built a new degree program based on the Woodrow Wilson Teaching Fellowship model that is moving, as intended, into non-STEM areas. Michigan State University and the University of Michigan have embedded elements of the WKKF-WW Michigan Teaching Fellowship within their larger teacher education communities. The WKKF-WW Teaching Fellowship program has also resulted in the development of models for specialized preparation programs in other subject areas in Western Michigan University's college of education.