50-State Scan Reveals Promising Trends in Nation’s Teacher Preparation ProgramsMajority of states focused on improving program evaluation systems
WASHINGTON, D.C. (July 13, 2016) - Today, the Council of Chief State School Officers released results from a first-of-its-kind scan of all states and the District of Columbia on how states determine the effectiveness of their teacher preparation programs.
The scan revealed promising results, with a majority of states in the process of reforming their practices and policies used to evaluate how well programs are preparing teachers to both serve the needs of all students and the workforce priorities in the state.
The review, which was conducted by Teacher Preparation Analytics (TPA), shows that states are shifting to outcome-based data on teacher preparation programs to determine effectiveness. This transition is happening ahead of the expected release of proposed new Higher Education Act Title II regulations by the U. S. Department of Education that shift reporting away from information on "inputs" (e.g. faculty degrees) and toward "outputs," which are stronger indicators of the effectiveness of the teacher preparation graduates.
This 50-state scan also found that states participating in CCSSO's Network for Transforming Educator Preparation (NTEP) are farther along in how they assess teacher preparation programs with key indicators of effectiveness, as are states who received funding to improve evaluation systems through Race to the Top.
"It's encouraging to see so many states moving in the right direction," says CCSSO Executive Director Chris Minnich. "For states participating in NTEP, we're looking to them to share lessons learned with other states to create greater consistency in the evaluation of teacher preparation programs across the country."
"Our priority always needs to be what's best for kids, and ensuring any teacher preparation program approved to operate in the state graduates teachers who are ready to be effective from day one is an important part of that," adds Minnich.
Researchers evaluated state programs based upon Key Effectiveness Indicators, such as how they select candidates (academic strength, teaching promise and the overall diversity of the student cohort) and contribution to the state's workforce needs and hiring priorities. They also looked at whether programs were subject to annual or biennial reviews, which TPA identifies as an important tool for program improvement, state accountability and public information.
The scan revealed that a growing number of states have begun to incorporate teacher performance into their evaluation systems, connecting the success of the program with the success of its graduates. These teacher effectiveness indicators consider a variety of factors, such as how prepared teachers feel during their first year in the classroom, feedback from classroom observations and student growth as measures of the strength of their teacher preparation program.
While many states show a story of progress, there still remains great variability in the ways states assess their teacher preparation programs and in the quality of the evaluation systems. Much work lies ahead to ensure that all states have high quality teacher preparation evaluation systems that are used for the continuous improvement of all programs so that every classroom has a skilled teacher.
Looking ahead, state officials will need to work with teacher educators, hiring officers in districts and other experts in evaluation and metrics to continue to improve and track the quality of preparation programs.
The 50-state scan was funded by the Joyce Foundation, with additional support from the Schusterman Family Foundation.
The Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) is a nonpartisan, nationwide, nonprofit organization of public officials who head departments of elementary and secondary education in the states, the District of Columbia, the Department of Defense Education Activity, and five U.S. extra-state jurisdictions. CCSSO provides leadership, advocacy, and technical assistance on major educational issues. The Council seeks member consensus on major educational issues and expresses their views to civic and professional organizations, federal agencies, Congress, and the public.