Scope of Review in Tennessee
||New teachers from the state's higher education institutions included in Review (2010)
Institutions evaluated by NCTQ in the 2013 Review
-31 elementary programs, undergraduate (UG) and graduate (G)
-29 secondary programs, undergraduate (UG) and graduate (G)
Institutions with sufficient data for an overall program rating
-Collectively supplying 76% of the state's traditionally trained teachers
-13 elementary programs, undergraduate (UG) and graduate (G)
-15 secondary programs, undergraduate (UG) and graduate (G)
||Institutions sharing information for the Review
Big "take-aways" about teacher preparation in Tennessee:
- Highly rated programs -- Programs at Austin Peay State University (undergraduate secondary); Lipscomb University (undergraduate secondary); Maryville College (undergraduate secondary); Middle Tennessee State University (undergraduate secondary); Tennessee Technological University (undergraduate secondary); Union University (undergraduate secondary); University of Memphis (undergraduate elementary and graduate secondary); University of Tennessee - Martin (graduate secondary) and Vanderbilt University (graduate secondary) are on the Teacher Prep Review's Honor Roll, earning at least three out of four possible stars. Across the country, NCTQ identified 21 elementary programs (4 percent of those rated) and 84 secondary programs (14 percent) for the Honor Roll.
- Selectivity in admissions -- The Review found that only 13 percent of elementary and secondary programs in Tennessee restrict admissions to the top half of the college-going population, compared to 28 percent nationwide. Countries where students consistently outperform the U.S. typically set an even higher bar, with teacher prep programs recruiting candidates from the top third of the college-going population.
Some worry that increasing admissions requirements will have a negative effect on the diversity of teacher candidates. By increasing the rigor and therefore the prestige of teacher preparation the profession will attract more talent, including talented minorities. This is not an impossible dream: 83 programs across the country earn a Strong Design designation on this standard because they are both selective and diverse, including Belmont University (undergraduate elementary) and Vanderbilt University (graduate elementary and secondary).
- Early reading instruction -- Just 8 percent of evaluated elementary programs in Tennessee are preparing teacher candidates in effective, scientifically based reading instruction, an even lower percentage than the small minority of programs (29 percent) providing such training nationally.
- Elementary math -- A mere 19 percent of evaluated elementary programs nationwide provide strong preparation to teach elementary mathematics, training that mirrors the practices of higher performing nations such as Singapore and South Korea. Only 11 percent of the evaluated elementary programs in Tennessee provide such training.
- Student teaching -- Of the evaluated elementary and secondary programs in Tennessee, one third (33 percent) earn a perfect four stars for providing a high quality student teaching experience, in which candidates are assigned only to highly skilled teachers and receive frequent concrete feedback, compared to just 7 percent of programs across the country. 40 percent of evaluated Tennessee programs entirely fail this standard, compared to 71 percent of programs nationwide.
- Classroom management -- 42 percent of the evaluated Tennessee elementary and secondary programs earn a perfect four stars for providing feedback to teacher candidates on concrete classroom management strategies to improve classroom behavior, compared to 23 percent of evaluated programs nationwide.
- Content preparation -- 26 percent of Tennessee's elementary programs earn three or four stars for providing teacher candidates adequate content preparation, compared to 11 percent of elementary programs nationwide. The results are better and especially noteworthy at the high school level, with 100 percent of Tennessee secondary programs earning four stars for content preparation, compared to 35 percent nationwide. Tennessee, alone among states, requires adequate licensing content tests for all secondary certifications without any loopholes.
- Outcome data -- A very high proportion of Tennessee's evaluated programs (83 percent) earn four stars for collecting data on their graduates, compared to 26 percent of evaluated programs in the national sample. However, information from the state teacher prep data model that connects student achievement to preparation could not be used because data are available at the institution level and not for individual programs evaluated in the Review.
Tennessee Elementary Teacher Prep Rating Distribution
Tennessee Secondary Teacher Prep Rating Distribution
Programs that earned 3-star rating or more
Consumer Alert: Programs earning no stars
Endorsers of the Review in Tennessee
Kevin Huffman, Commissioner of Education
Tennessee's Teacher Prep Review was made possible by the following foundations and organizations
Hyde Family Foundations
Good preparation does not guarantee that teachers will ultimately be effective, but there is much that states can do to ensure that new teachers are classroom ready. The tables below are drawn from NCTQ's 2013 State Teacher Policy Yearbook (Full State Report here) and offer a summary of Tennessee's teacher preparation policies, identifying strong policies and those in need of improvement.
Each state has a set of laws, rules and regulations that govern how teachers are prepared for the classroom. These policies establish guidelines for admission to teacher preparation programs, set standards for what teachers should know and be able to do in order to be licensed, and can be used to hold preparation programs accountable for the quality of teachers they produce.
Although states regulate most aspects of how teachers are prepared, where in each state this authority lies is not standard across the country. And in some states,authority for different components of teacher preparation rests with different entities.