Program Entry

General Teacher Preparation Policy

Program Entry

The state should require teacher preparation programs to admit only candidates with strong academic records and support programs to encourage greater numbers of qualified individuals of color to become teachers. This goal was ungraded in 2020.

Best practices

Although NCTQ is not awarding "best practice" honors, Connecticut and New York stand out for their support of policies aimed at diversifying the teacher workforce.

Suggested Citation:
National Council on Teacher Quality. (2020). Program Entry national results. State Teacher Policy Database. [Data set].
Retrieved from: https://www.nctq.org/yearbook/national/Program-Entry-89

State requires that programs limit admission to candidates with at least a B average (3.0) GPA.

2020
2017
Add previous year
Figure details

State requires individual GPA of 3.0 or higher.: DE, MD, OK, PA

State requires a cohort GPA of 3.0 or higher.: MT, WA

State requires an individual GPA of 2.75 or higher.: AL, KY, MS, NJ, RI, SC, TN

State permits individual GPAs of lower than 2.75 or does not set a requirement. : AK, AR, AZ, CA, CO, CT, DC, FL, GA, HI, IA, ID, IL, IN, KS, LA, MA, ME, MI, MN, MO, NC, ND, NE, NH, NM, NV, NY, OH, OR, SD, TX, UT, VA, VT, WI, WV, WY

Footnotes
AK: Alaska requires CAEP accreditation.
AL: Alabama also requires a cohort average GPA of 3.0 at the provider level.
AR: Arkansas requires CAEP accreditation.
CT: Connecticut requires that all candidates admitted to a teacher preparation program have a B- cumulative grade point average for all undergraduate courses. However, the state permits programs to "waive the minimum GPA requirement at their discretion." Connecticut also requires CAEP accreditation.
DC: The District of Columbia requires CAEP accreditation.
DE: Candidates in Delaware can also meet academic proficiency requirements with a GPA in the "top 50th percentile for coursework completed during the most recent two years of the applicant's general education," or with a passing score on the Praxis Core, SAT, or ACT. Delaware also requires CAEP accreditation.
FL: In Florida, programs have the option of accepting up to 10% of an entering class that has not met the admissions requirements of passing a basic skills test and/or achieving a 2.5 GPA.
GA: In addition to the 2.5 individual GPA requirement, Georgia requires a cohort average GPA of 3.0 at the provider level. Programs may accept up to 10% of the admitted cohort with GPAs below 2.5 as long as the admitted cohort meets the 3.0 minimum requirement.
HI: Hawaii requires CAEP accreditation.
ID: Idaho requires CAEP accreditation.
IN: Indiana requires CAEP accreditation.
KS: Kansas requires CAEP accreditation.
KY: Kentucky requires a cumulative GPA of 2.75 on a 4.0 scale for admission, or a 3.0 GPA for the last 30 hours of credit completed. Kentucky also requires CAEP accreditation.
LA: Louisiana requires CAEP accreditation.
MD: Candidates can meet academic proficiency requirements with either a 3.0 GPA or a passing score on the Praxis Core, SAT, ACT or GRE. Maryland also allows programs to waive entrance requirements for up to 10% of candidates in an annual cohort.
MS: Mississippi also requires a cohort GPA of 3.0 on pre-major coursework at the program level. Mississippi requires CAEP accreditation.
NC: North Carolina also requires a 3.0 cohort GPA at the program level.
ND: North Dakota requires CAEP accreditation.
NJ: New Jersey also requires a cohort GPA of 3.0 at the program level. The state also requires CAEP accreditation.
NY: For undergraduate programs; New York requires graduate programs to admit only candidates with a 3.0 individual GPA. Graduate-level educator preparation programs may waive these admissions requirements for up to 15% of students admitted based on the candidates' "demonstration of potential to positively contribute to the teaching...profession."
OH: Ohio requires CAEP accreditation.
OK: Candidates can meet academic proficiency requirements with either a 3.0 GPA or a passing score on the Praxis Core, or the Oklahoma General Education Test (OGET). Oklahoma also requires CAEP accreditation.
OR: Oregon programs must meet CAEP accreditation standards by 2022.
PA: Programs may admit applicants with a 2.8 GPA and qualifying scores on the basic skills test, SAT, or ACT. Pennsylvania allows a waiver whereby institutions can admit up to 10% of a candidate cohort that does not meet the GPA admissions requirements.
RI: Rhode Island also requires a cohort GPA of 3.0 at the program level. Rhode Island allows programs, in rare instances and with state approval, to offer conditional acceptance to candidates not meeting these requirements.
SC: Educator preparation guidelines state that the "unit head may admit a candidate with a cumulative GPA as low as 2.5 if compelling evidence exists and not to exceed 5% of all candidates admitted at that institution." South Carolina also requires CAEP accreditation.
TN: Tennessee requires CAEP accreditation.
TX: Texas requires an individual GPA of 2.5 and a cohort average GPA of 3.0 at the program level. Additionally, 10% of candidates can be exempt from the minimum GPA requirement if they provide documentation that a candidate's work, business, or career experience demonstrates achievement equivalent to the academic achievement represented by the GPA requirement.
VA: Virginia requires CAEP accreditation.
WV: West Virginia requires an individual GPA of 2.5 and cohort average GPA of 3.0. West Virginia also requires CAEP accreditation.
WY: Wyoming requires CAEP accreditation.

Do states require programs to adequately assess candidates’ academic aptitude?

2020
2017
Add previous year
Figure details

Yes. State requires a test that is normed to college-going students as a condition for admission.: TX, WV

Partially. State requires a test that is normed only to education students as a condition for admission.: AL, DE, FL, GA, HI, IA, KY, LA, MS, NC, NE, NH, NJ, OK, PA, RI, SC, TN

Partially. State requires a test during or following program completion that is normed to college-going students.:

Partially. State requires a test during or following program completion that is normed only to education students.: AK, AR, CA, CT, DC, ID, IN, KS, MA, ME, MO, ND, NV, NY, OH, OR, VA, VT, WY

No. State does not require a test measuring academic aptitude.: AZ, CO, IL, MD, MI, MN, MT, NM, SD, UT, WA, WI

Footnotes
AR: Requirement is based on CAEP accreditation standards.
CA: State requires candidates to take, but not pass, a basic skills test prior to admission. Candidates must meet basic skills requirement prior to student teaching.
CT: Requirement is based on CAEP accreditation standards. State requires students to take, but not pass, a basics skills test prior to admission.
DE: Candidates can meet academic proficiency requirements with either a 3.0 GPA or a passing score on the Praxis Core, SAT, or ACT.
HI: Hawaii exempts candidates who have a bachelor's degree from the basic skills test requirement.
ID: Requirement is based on CAEP accreditation standards.
IN: Requirement is based on CAEP accreditation standards.
KS: Requirement is based on CAEP accreditation standards.
MD: Only students that do not have a 3.0 GPA are required to pass a basic skills test for admission.
MN: Minnesota delays the basic skills assessment requirement until teachers have three years of teaching experience and are ready to apply for the five-year renewable Tier 4 license.
MO: Candidates have two years from first attempt to pass all subtests.
NC: Candidates with a bachelor's degree are exempt from passing a basic skills test.
NH: Candidates can also meet the academic aptitude test requirement with a score in the top 50th percentile on the SAT, ACT, or GRE.
NY: Requirement is for undergraduate programs; New York requires graduate programs to admit only candidates who have achieved a minimum score on the GRE.
OH: Requirement is based on CAEP accreditation standards.
OK: Or a 3.0 GPA.
OR: Requirement is based on CAEP accreditation standards, not state's own policy. Oregon programs must meet by 2022.
RI: Must meet the threshold score on the SAT, ACT, or Praxis Core. In rare instances, with state approval, programs may offer conditional acceptance to candidates not meeting these requirements.
TN: Candidates can also meet the academic aptitude test requirement with a passing score on the SAT, or ACT.
TX: Applicants can also meet this requirement through means other than a test.
VA: Requirement is based on CAEP accreditation standards.
WA: Aspiring teachers must take, but not necessarily pass either, the Washington Educator Skills Test (WEST-B), another state's basic skills test or the ACT or SAT.
WV: West Virginia requires a cohort mean score, not an individual score, in the top 50th percentile. Additionally, The state also allows candidates to meet this requirement with the Praxis CORE test which is not a nationally normed test.
WY: Requirement is based on CAEP accreditation standards.

Do states explicitly support programs that encourage qualified individuals of color to enter the teacher pipeline?

2020
2017
Add previous year
Figure details

Yes: AL, AR, CT, FL, IL, IN, KY, LA, MA, MD, MI, MN, MO, MS, NJ, NM, NV, NY, OK, OR, PA, RI, SC, TN, TX, VA, WA, WI

No: AK, AZ, CA, CO, DC, DE, GA, HI, IA, ID, KS, ME, MT, NC, ND, NE, NH, OH, SD, UT, VT, WV, WY

Footnotes
MO: Funding for the state's diversity program is uncertain.

Updated: March 2020

Research rationale

Evidence is strong that countries whose students consistently outperform U.S. students set a much higher bar for entry to teacher preparation programs than what is typically found in the United States.[1] Far from the top third or even top tenth to which more selective countries limit candidates, most states do not even aim for the top 50 percent.[2] Previous analysis has shown that many states do not require that preparation programs evaluate candidates' academic proficiency as a condition of admission to teacher preparation at all; most others set a low bar by requiring basic skills tests that generally assess middle school-level skills[3] or by requiring a minimum GPA, but too few demand at least a 3.0.

In addition to the low skill level tested by current basic skills tests (e.g., the Praxis Core), another concern is that they are normed only to the prospective teacher population, which does not allow for comparability between prospective teachers and the entire college-bound population. Tests normed to the general college-bound population would shine a clearer light on the academic proficiency of those admitted to teacher preparation programs and allow programs to be truly selective.

While a positive start, CAEP standards are no substitute for states' own policies. CAEP's standards require that the group average performance on nationally normed ability assessments such as ACT, SAT, or GRE be in the top 50th percentile. However, CAEP allows programs the unnecessary freedom to determine whether the minimum criteria will be measured prior to admissions or at some point during the program. Clear state admission policies would send an unequivocal message to programs about the state's expectations for high admissions standards.[4]

Research is clear about the positive effects of teachers with stronger academic backgrounds on student achievement.[5] Higher teacher selectivity, as measured by factors such as SAT/ACT scores,[6] GPA prior to program admission,[7] and an institute of higher education's (IHE) general competitiveness or selectivity,[8] has a significant, positive correlation with student achievement. Some studies support higher academic admissions standards for entry into TPPs, including studies showing a relationship between student achievement and teachers' verbal ability[9] or selectivity of the teachers' college.[10] Although research supports applying greater selectivity when admitting teacher candidates, some recent work has found no correlation between teachers' scores on tests normed to the general college-bound population (e.g., SAT, ACT) or IHE selectivity and student achievement.[11]

States should support increased diversity in the teacher pipeline,[12] in addition to maintaining high admissions standards for teacher preparation programs.[13] Recent data show that 49 percent of students in the US were students of color, while only 17 percent of teachers were teachers of color.[14] Twenty-eight states had gaps between the percentage of students and educators of color that were greater than 25 percentage points.[15] A growing body of research suggests that students of color—students who often face the largest achievement gaps—benefit from having same-race teachers.[16] Exposure to same-race teachers positively benefits student achievement,[17] teachers' expectations and perceptions of students,[18] teachers' assessments and perceptions of student behavior,[19] students' rates of suspension and expulsion,[20] students' assignment to Gifted and Talented programs,[21] and students' perceptions of teachers.[22] Some research suggests that teachers of the same race as their students are more likely to reduce high-school dropout rates as well as increase student attendance and college attendance intent,[23] and improve discipline.[24] Moreover, white students report that they favor teachers of color.[25]


[1] For evidence on international teacher preparation program standards, see Hanushek, E. A., Piopiunik, M., & Wiederhold, S. (2014). The value of smarter teachers: International evidence on teacher cognitive skills and student performance (National Bureau of Economic Research Working Paper No. w20727).; Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development. (2005). Recruiting, selecting and employing teachers. Teachers Matter: Attracting, Developing and Retaining Effective Teachers (pp. 141-167). Paris, France: OECD Publishing.; Whitehurst, G. J. (2002). Scientifically based research on teacher quality: Research on teacher preparation and professional development. White House Conference on Preparing Tomorrow's Teachers, 39-53. Retrieved from http://www.stcloudstate.edu/tpi/initiative/documents/assessment/ScientificallyBasedReserachonTeacherQuality.pdf
[2] For evidence on teacher preparation programs' admissions selectivity, see Auguste, B., Kihn, P., & Miller, M. (2010). Closing the talent gap: Attracting and retaining top-third graduates to careers in teaching. Washington, DC. Retrieved from http://mckinseyonsociety.com/closing-the-talent-gap/
[3] For evidence on teacher preparation program admissions exams, see The Education Trust. (1999). Not good enough: A content analysis of teacher licensing examinations. Thinking K-16, 3(1), 1-24.
[4] For more on the need for states to set their own expectations, rather than relying on CAEP's standards and enforcement, see See Walsh, K., Joseph, N., & Lewis, A. (2016, November). Within our grasp: Achieving higher admissions standards in teacher prep. 2016 State Teacher Policy Yearbook Report Series. Retrieved from http://www.nctq.org/dmsView/Admissions_Yearbook_Report
[5] For reviews of the relevant literature, see Hanushek, E. A., & Rivkin, S. G. (2006). Teacher quality. In E. A. Hanushek & F. Welch (Eds.), Handbook of the Economics of Education (Vol. 2, pp. 1051-1078). Amsterdam: Elsevier B.V.; Wayne, A. J., & Youngs, P. (2003). Teacher characteristics and student achievement gains: A review. Review of Educational Research, 73(1), 89-122.; Rice, J. K. (2003). Teacher quality: Understanding the effectiveness of teacher attributes. Washington, DC: Economic Policy Institute.; Greenwald, R., Hedges, L. V, & Laine, R. D. (1996). The effect of school resources on student achievement. Review of Educational Research, 66(3), 361-396.; Boardman, A. E., Davis, O. A., & Sanday, P. R. (1977). A simultaneous equation model of the educational process. Journal of Public Economics, 7, 23-49.
[6] Boyd, D., Lankford, H., Loeb, S., Rockoff, J., & Wyckoff, J. (2008). The narrowing gap in New York City teacher qualifications and its implications for student achievement in high-poverty schools. Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, 27(4), 793-818. 
[7] Steele, J. L., Pepper, M. J., Springer, M. G., & Lockwood, J. R. (2015). The distribution and mobility of effective teachers: Evidence from a large, urban school district. Economics of Education Review, 48, 86-101.; Kukla-Acevedo, S. (2009). Do teacher characteristics matter? New results on the effects of teacher preparation on student achievement. Economics of Education Review, 28(1), 49-57. 
[8] Lincove, J. A., Osborne, C., Mills, N., & Bellows, L. (2015). Teacher preparation for profit or prestige. Journal of Teacher Education, 66(5), 415-434.; Steele, J. L., Pepper, M. J., Springer, M. G., & Lockwood, J. R. (2015). The distribution and mobility of effective teachers: Evidence from a large, urban school district. Economics of Education Review, 48, 86-101.; Clotfelter, C. T., Ladd, H. F., & Vigdor, J. L. (2010). Teacher credentials and student achievement in high school: A cross-subject analysis with student fixed effects. Journal of Human Resources, 45(3), 655-681.
[9] Kain, J. F., & Singleton, K. (1996). Equality of educational opportunity revisited. New England Economic Review, (Special issue), 87-111.; Ehrenberg, R. G., & Brewer, D. J. (1995). Did teachers' verbal ability and race matter in the 1960s? Coleman revisited. Economics of Education Review, 14(1), 1-21.; Ehrenberg, R. G., & Brewer, D. J. (1994). Do school and teacher characteristics matter? Evidence from high school and beyond. Economics of Education Review, 13(1), 1-17.; Hanushek, E. A. (1971). Teacher characteristics and gains in student achievement: Estimation using micro data. American Economic Review, 61(2), 280-288.; Bowles, S. (1970). Towards an educational production function. In W. L. Hanson (Ed.), Education, Income, and Human Capital (pp. 11-70). Cambridge, MA: National Bureau of Economics.; Levin, H. M. (1970). A cost-effectiveness analysis of teacher selection. The Journal of Human Resources, 5(1), 24-33.; In contrast, a recent analysis of studies that examine teachers' verbal ability notes that the relationship and evidence are weak. See: Aloe, A. M., & Becker, B. J. (2009). Teacher verbal ability and school outcomes: Where is the evidence? Educational Researcher, 38(8), 612-624.; Studies that measure verbal ability through SAT scores (e.g., Ferguson, 1991; Ferguson & Ladd, 1996), however, are not included in Aloe and Becker's analysis.
[10] Master, B., Loeb, S., & Wyckoff, J. (2014). Learning that lasts: Unpacking variation in teachers' effects on students' long-term knowledge (Calder Working Paper No. 104). Retrieved from http://www.caldercenter.org/sites/default/files/WP-104.pdf; Ehrenberg, R. G., & Brewer, D. J. (1994). Do school and teacher characteristics matter? Evidence from high school and beyond. Economics of Education Review, 13(1), 1-17.; Ferguson, R. F. (1991). Paying for public education: New evidence on how and why money matters. Harvard Journal on Legislation, 28, 465-498.; Summers, A. A., & Wolfe, B. L. (1977). Do schools make a difference? American Economic Review, 67(4), 639-652.; Winkler, D. R. (1975). Educational achievement and school peer group composition. Journal of Human Resources, 10(2), 189-204.
[11] Koedel, C., Parsons, E., Podgursky, M., & Ehlert, M. (2015). Teacher preparation programs and teacher quality: Are there real differences across programs? Education Finance and Policy, 10(4), 508-534.; Henry, G. T., Campbell, S. L., Thompson, C. L., Patriarca, L. A., Luterbach, K. J., Lys, D. B., & Covington, V. M. (2013). The predictive validity of measures of teacher candidate programs and performance. Journal of Teacher Education, 64(5), 439-453.; Harris, D. N., & Sass, T. R. (2011). Teacher training, teacher quality and student achievement. Journal of Public Economics, 95(7-8), 798-812.; Kane, T. J., Rockoff, J. E., & Staiger, D. O. (2008). What does certification tell us about teacher effectiveness? Evidence from New York City. Economics of Education Review, 27(6), 615-631.; Rockoff, J. E., Jacob, B. A., Kane, T. J., & Staiger, D. O. (2011). Can you recognize an effective teacher when you recruit one? Education Finance and Policy, 6(1), 43-74.
[12] For reviews of the relevant literature, see Ingersoll, R., & May, H. (2011). Recruitment, retention and the minority teacher shortage. CPRE Research Report (Vol. #RR-69). Retrieved from http://repository.upenn.edu/gse_pubs/226/; Guarino, C. M., Santibanez, L., & Daley, G. A. (2006). Teacher recruitment and retention: A review of the recent empirical literature. Review of Educational Research, 76(2), 173-208.
[13] Given the decline in academic performance and diversity of aspiring teachers, as documented by the ACT's (2015) annual report, "The Condition of Future Educators," prep programs must make a deliberate effort to attract and prepare the best candidates. For the most recent NCTQ analysis of undergraduate elementary teacher preparation programming, see: National Council on Teacher Quality. (2016). A closer look at selection criteria: Undergraduate elementary programs. Retrieved from https://www.nctq.org/dmsView/NCTQ_-_Standard_1_How_Programs_Stack_Up; For the most recent NCTQ analysis of undergraduate secondary teacher preparation programming, see: National Council on Teacher Quality. (2017). A closer look at selection criteria: Secondary undergraduate programs. Retrieved from https://www.nctq.org/dmsView/US_2017_Selection_Findings
[14] For information on teaching staffing, see: National Center for Education Statistics. (2012). Schools and staffing survey: Teacher questionnaire, 2011-12. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Education.
[15] Boser, U. (2014). Teacher diversity revisited. Washington, DC: Center for American Progress. Retrieved from http://cdn.americanprogress.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/TeacherDiversity.pdf
[16] For a review of the relevant literature, see: Stewart, J., Meier, K. J., & England, R. E. (2014). In quest of role models: Change in black teacher representation in urban school districts 1968 - 1986. Journal of Negro Education, 58(2), 140-152.; Villegas, A. M., & Lucas, T. F. (2005). Diversifying the teacher workforce: A retrospective and prospective analysis. Yearbook of the National Society for the Study of Education, 103(1), 70-104.
[17] Egalite, A. J., Kisida, B., & Winters, M. A. (2015). Representation in the classroom: The effect of own-race teachers on student achievement. Economics of Education Review, 45, 44-52.; Goldhaber, D., & Hansen, M. (2010). Race, gender, and teacher testing: How informative a tool Is teacher licensure testing? American Educational Research Journal, 47.; Dee, T. S. (2004). Teachers, race, and student achievement in a randomized experiment. Review of Economics and Statistics, 86(1), 195-210. 
[18] Fox, L. (2016). Seeing potential: The effects of student-teacher demographic congruence on teacher expectations and recommendations. AERA Open, 2(1), 1-17.; Gershenson, S., Holt, S. B., & Papageorge, N. W. (2016). Who believes in me? The effect of student/teacher demographic match on teacher expectations. Economics of Education Review, 52, 209-224.; Burgess, S., & Greaves, E. (2013). Test scores, subjective assessment, and stereotyping of ethnic minorities. Journal of Labor Economics, 31(3), 535-576.; McGrady, P. B., & Reynolds, J. R. (2013). Racial mismatch in the classroom: Beyond black-white differences. Sociology of Education, 86(1), 3-17.; Dee, T. S. (2004).; Teachers, race, and student achievement in a randomized experiment. Review of Economics and Statistics, 86(1), 195-210. 
[19] Bates, L. A., & Glick, J. E. (2013). Does it matter if teachers and schools match the student? Racial and ethnic disparities in problem behaviors. Social Science Research, 42(5), 1180-1190.; Downey, D. B., & Pribesh, S. (2004). When race matters: Teachers' evaluations of students' classroom behavior. Sociology of Education, 77(4), 267-282.
[20] Lindsay, C. A., & Hart, C. M. D. (2017). Exposure to same-race teachers and student disciplinary outcomes for black students in North Carolina. Education Evaluation and Policy Analysis, 0162373717693109.
[21] Grissom, J. A., & Redding, C. (2016). Discretion and disproportionality. AERA Open, 2(1), 1-25.
[22] Egalite, A. J., & Kisida, B. (in press). The effects of teacher match on students' academic perceptions and attitudes. Education Evaluation and Policy Analysis, 0162373717714056.
[23] Gershenson, S., Hart, C. M. D., Lindsay, C. A., & Papageorge, N. W. (2017). The long-run impacts of same-race teachers (Discussion Paper No. 10630). Retrieved from http://ftp.iza.org/dp10630.pdf; Hess, F., & Leal, D. (1997). Minority teachers, minority students, and college matriculation: A new look at the role-modeling hypothesis. Policy Studies Journal, 25(2), 235-248.
[24] Holt, S. B., & Gershenson, S. (2015). The impact of teacher demographic representation on student attendance and suspensions (Discussion Paper No. 9554). Retrieved from http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2708367.
[25] Egalite, A. J., & Kisida, B. (in press). The effects of teacher match on students' academic perceptions and attitudes. Education Evaluation and Policy Analysis.