Teachers who graduated from the University of Arizona rank higher than the state’s average in a dozen categories of proficiency, according to an Arizona Department of Education survey of principals.

The department surveyed principals on the performance of new teachers who received their education at the state’s three universities.

Principals were asked to rate a teacher on in-depth knowledge and understanding of the subject he/she teaches, creating a classroom environment conducive to student learning, designing lessons aligned to the academic standards, implementing research-based learning theories and instructional strategies and using a variety of developmentally appropriate strategies to engage students in their language.

In addition, using a variety of appropriate strategies to support literacy development, effectively integrating technology into instruction to support student learning, incorporating English Language Development standards into instruction, using multiple methods for assessing student learning, differentiating instruction to meet the learning needs of all students, level of preparedness compared with other first year teachers and an overall evaluation of how well the teacher preparation program prepared the teacher.

The survey is meant to give the UA, Arizona State University and Northern Arizona University an idea of how prepared new teachers are, says Todd Peterson, director of the state’s Effective Teachers and Leaders Unit.

“We provide the higher education institutions with their own data and then compare that to the state so they can see how their students were rated by their principals compared to the overall state,” Peterson says.

Students who completed the state-approved programs at the three universities between 2009 and 2010 were surveyed after a year or two of teaching, Peterson says.

“What the results tell us is that we’re on the right track,” says Renee Clift, associate dean at the UA College of Education. “Principals who hire our students feel that they are competent teachers and that’s a goal for us.”