Iowa Teacher Quality Partnership (TQP)


The Iowa Teacher Quality Partnership (ITQP) Grant was a collaborative partnership that included the Iowa Department of Education, University of Northern Iowa, and Stanford Center for Assessment Leadership and Equity (SCALE). The ITQP was a $9 million award from the U.S. Department of Education for 2010-2015.

The mission of the Iowa Teacher Quality Partnership Grant was to increase the learning and achievement of Iowa PK-12 students by continuously developing more highly effective teachers from pre-service through the entire teaching career. At the University of Northern Iowa, this mission was carried out through the following goals that guided grant activities:

  1. Emerging attributes of effective teaching will be examined, identified, and defined in preparation for integration into the pre-service teacher education program.
  2. Pre-service faculty will integrate the attributes of effective teaching into the pre-service program, which will be documented in a prospective teacher-created integrated platform.



The Iowa Teacher Quality Partnership Grant was a partnership among the following stakeholders:

  • University of Northern Iowa
  • Iowa Department of Education
  • CAL Community Schools
  • HLV Community Schools
  • Laurens-Marathon Community Schools
  • Midland Community Schools
  • Montezuma Community Schools
  • Springville Community Schools
  • Turkey Valley Community Schools
  • West Bend Community Schools
  • West Fork Community Schools
  • Stanford Center for Assessment, Learning, & Equality
  • University of Iowa Center for Evaluation & Assessment

Defining Effective Teaching

One of the major goals of the TQP grant was to examine, identify, and define teaching effectiveness. The UNI TQP team led a group of UNI researchers during the first year of the grant and wrote the monograph, Emerging Qualities of Effective Teaching.

Image of the Emerging Qualities of Effective Teaching Continuum

Consisting of three phases, the Emerging Qualities of Effective Teaching Continuum represents a framework for changing teaching practices from teacher-focused approach to learners and teachers collaborating on the learning and teaching processes. The three identified phases include Traditional, Responsive, and Transformative Qualities.

For more information about the Emerging Qualities of Effective Teaching Continuum, please see the following resources:

Revised Pre-Service Program

Having defined effective teaching, the TQP grant leadership team worked with teacher education faculty to develop enhanced coursework and field experiences for pre-service teachers focused on the Transformative Learning Qualities. Over the final four years of the grant the following key areas emerged as a result of TQP grant activities.

Weeklong Immersive Field Experiences

In partnership with the TQP partner school districts and Level III (pre-student teaching field experience) faculty, weeklong immersive clinical experiences were created. As part of the experience, pre-service teachers spent three to five days teaching in a partner school classroom. Distinct from other experiences was that pre-service teachers lived with a family from the school district during their experience. Often staying with a teacher from the school, this home-stay provided a unique opportunity for pre-service teachers to develop a deeper appreciation for being a teacher in a rural setting.

For more information about the pre-service teacher experience, please watch the following videos:



Embedded Signature Assessments (ESAs)

ESAs are critical performance assessments pre-service teachers complete throughout the teacher education program. The various ESAs serve as a formative growth opportunity for candidates progressing into their professional role as a teacher.

The origins of ESAs at UNI evolved from the Reflective Conversation and Student Evaluation assessments that took place during the Level III immersive field experience. With the support of the Stanford Center for Assessment, Learning, and Equity, multiple ESAs were developed and piloted, including:

  • Level II Lesson Planning 
  • Analyzing Assessment Data and Providing Feedback
  • Deepening Student Understanding through Questioning Strategies
  • Analyzing and Planning for Student-Focused Learning
  • Leadership and Advocacy
  • Understanding Academic Language

As of August 2015, most of these ESAs were piloted with some advancing to psychometric testing. 

For more information, please see the following resources:

Educative Teacher Performance Assessment (edTPA)

The edTPA was another major enhancement implemented with the support of the TQP grant. Building on UNI's rich history with the Teacher Work Sample, the edTPA represented the next step in summative performance assessment for teacher candidates. Through the support of the TQP grant, the edTPA moved from initial exploration to full implementation as the summative performance assessment completed during student teaching. In conjunction with the ESAs, the edTPA has afforded the UNI Teacher Education program the ability to measure and track pre-service teacher performance as the candidate progresses through the program, while also providing evidence for teacher education program improvement.

For more information, please see the following resources:

ShowEvidence Platform

Both the Iowa Department of Education and UNI worked with the company ShowEvidence to investigate, plan, create, and implement a state online platform to manage the process of evaluating preservice and inservice teachers' performance, from authoring tasks to capturing work to tagging evidence. UNI's preservice teacher candidates have submitted their ESAs as well as their edTPAs through this platform. All teacher candidates who were using the edTPA used the ShowEvidence platform to submit for national scoring. Faculty received training on the platform from UNI's TQP team. Students received training through faculty members and support from the TQP team.

Faculty Development

To support programmatic enhancements facilitated by the TQP grant, there was a concerted effort by the grant to build the capacity of teacher education faculty. This included the implementation of multiple ongoing, collaborative faculty development opportunities. Growing out of these experiences was the development of enhanced curriculum and its implementation in multiple teacher education courses.

Transformative Education Environment (TEE Room)

The TEE room was created as a way to afford faculty the access to a learning environment where they could explore alternative instructional approaches embodied in the Transformative Learning Qualities. Key design features of the learning environment include: flexibility, collaboration, and accessibility.

For more information about the TEE Room, please see the following resource:

For more information about the Iowa Teacher Quality Partnership Grant, please contact Nadene Davidson.