Program Performance Measures: Alabama

Teacher Preparation Policy

Goal

The state should collect and publicly report key data on the quality of teacher preparation programs. This goal was reorganized in 2021.

Meets a small part
Suggested Citation:
National Council on Teacher Quality. (2021). Program Performance Measures: Alabama results. State Teacher Policy Database. [Data set].
Retrieved from: https://www.nctq.org/yearbook/state/AL-Program-Performance-Measures-89

Analysis of Alabama's policies

Student Growth Data: Alabama requires educator preparation programs to document the contribution of program completers to student-learning growth using multiple measures, which must include "all available growth measures, including value-added measures, student-growth percentiles, and student learning and development objectives, required by the state for its teachers and available to educator preparation providers, other state-supported P-12 impact measures, and any other measures employed by the provider."

Although the state does not make all of the data above publicly available, the state does publish some student growth measures at the institutional level. Alabama publishes the percentage of first-year teachers rated by their employers as: teacher leader, effective teacher, emerging teacher, or ineffective teacher. They are rated in categories such as:

  • "understanding of how learners grow and develop,
  • use, design, or adapt multiple methods of assessment to document, monitor, and support learner progress appropriate for learning goals and objectives,
  • understand the central concepts, tools of inquiry and structures of the disciplines he or she teaches,
  • create learning experiences that make discipline accessible and meaningful for learners to assure mastery of the content, and
  • understand[s] an use[s] a variety of instructional strategies and make learning accessible to all learners." 
Licensure Exam Pass Rates: Alabama does not collect and publish meaningful pass rate data that inform a reasonable
judgment of the performance of each approved teacher preparation program, including first-time or final pass rate data for all test takers at the program or institutional level. The state collects and publishes first-time pass rates for content tests at the program level, but the data only includes program completers and not all test takers.

Citation

Recommendations for Alabama

Continue building systems to collect and report data that connect student growth to teacher preparation programs, when those programs are large enough for the data to be meaningful and reliable.
Alabama has taken strides toward collecting, reporting, and using the student achievement data of program candidates. As the state builds this system, it should ensure that the academic achievement gains of students taught by programs' graduates are averaged over the first three years of teaching, when the programs produce enough graduates for those data to be meaningful and reliable. In addition, it should ensure that data are disaggregated by the specific program, rather than aggregated at the institution level, so that this data can be better used for accountability and continuous improvement purposes.

Publish first-time and final pass rate data at the program level for all test takers.

Alabama should publicly report first-time and final pass rate data for all test takers at the program level. Doing so allows the state, programs, and prospective teacher candidates to analyze the strength of programs' ability to prepare teachers in core content areas. Prospective teacher candidates deserve access to relevant information to determine which programs are most likely to enable them to earn a standard teaching license.

State response to our analysis

Alabama indicated that the state publishes higher education report cards that provide test data of program completers on the first attempt and multiple attempts.

Updated: March 2021

How we graded

1C: Program Performance Measures 

  • Student Growth Data: The state should collect and publicly report data connecting student growth to teacher preparation programs for all programs large enough for the data to be meaningful and reliable. Such data may include growth analyses specifically conducted for this purpose or evaluation ratings that include objective measures of student growth.
  • Licensure Exam Pass Rates: The state should collect and publish meaningful pass rate data that inform a reasonable judgment of the performance of each approved teacher preparation program, including:
    • Final (best attempt) pass rate data for all test takers at the program, institutional and state level.
    • First-time pass rate data for all test takers at the program, institutional and state level.
Student Growth Data
One-half of the total goal score is earned based on the following:

  • One-half credit: The state will earn one-half of a point if student growth data of program graduates are collected and reported for programs that are sufficiently large enough for these data to be meaningful and reliable.
  • One-quarter credit: The state will earn one-quarter of a point if student growth data of program graduates are collected and reported for institutions that are sufficiently large enough for these data to be meaningful and reliable.
Licensure Exam Pass Rates
One-half of the total goal score is earned based on the following:
  • One-half credit: The state will earn one-half of a point if it collects and publishes final and/or first-time pass rate data of all test takers at the program level.
  • One-quarter credit: The state will earn one-quarter of a point if it collects and publishes final and/or first-time pass rate data of all test takers at the institutional and/or state level.

Research rationale

The state should examine a number of factors when measuring the performance of and approving teacher preparation programs.[1] Although the quality of both the subject-matter preparation and professional sequence is crucial, there are also additional measures that can provide the state and the public with meaningful, readily understandable indicators of how well programs are doing when it comes to preparing teachers to be successful in the classroom.[2]

States have made great strides in building data systems with the capacity to provide evidence of teacher performance.[3] These same data systems can be used to link teacher effectiveness to the teacher preparation programs from which they came. States should make such data, as well as other objective measures that go beyond licensure test pass rates, central components of their teacher preparation program approval processes, and they should establish precise standards for performance that are more useful for accountability purposes.[4]

National accrediting bodies, such as CAEP, are raising the bar, but are no substitute for states' own policy. A number of states now have somewhat more rigorous academic standards for admission by virtue of requiring that programs meet CAEP's accreditation standards. However, whether CAEP will uniformly uphold its standards (especially as they have already backtracked on the GPA requirement) and deny accreditation to programs that fall short of these admission requirements remains to be seen.[5] Clear state policy would eliminate this uncertainty and send an unequivocal message to programs about the state's expectations.[6]


[1] For general information about teacher preparation program approval see Rotherham, A. J., & Mead, S. (2004). Back to the future: The history and politics of state teacher licensure and certification. A qualified teacher in every classroom (pp. 11-47). Cambridge, MA: Harvard Education Press. Retrieved from https://www.nctq.org/nctq/research/1109818629821.pdf
[2] For additional discussion and research of how teacher education programs can add value to their teachers, see: National Council on Teacher Quality. (2016). Teacher Prep Review. Retrieved from http://www.nctq.org/teacherPrep/2016/home.do
[3] Walsh, K., & Jacobs, S. (2007). Alternative certification isn't alternative. Thomas B. Fordham Institute. Retrieved from
http://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED498382.pdf

[4] For additional research on the status of teacher quality and the strengths and weaknesses of accreditation programs and policies in the U.S., see: U.S. Department of Education, Office of Postsecondary Education. (2010). The secretary's seventh annual report on teacher quality: A highly qualified teacher in every classroom. Retrieved from https://www2.ed.gov/about/reports/annual/teachprep/t2r7.pdf
[5] For a discussion of the lack of evidence that national accreditation status enhances teacher preparation programs' effectiveness, see: Ballou, D., & Podgursky, M. (1999, July). Teacher training and licensure: A layman's guide. Marci Kanstoroom and Chester E. Finn., Jr. (eds.), Better teachers, better schools (pp. 45-47). Washington, DC: Thomas B. Fordham Foundation. Retrieved from http://www.edexcellence.net/sites/default/files/publication/pdfs/btrtchrs_10.pdf; Greenberg, J., & Walsh, K. (2008, June). No common denominator: The preparation of elementary teachers in mathematics by America's education schools. Washington, DC: National Council on Teacher Quality. Retrieved from http://www.nctq.org/dmsView/No_Common_Denominator_NCTQ_Report; Walsh, K., Glaser, D., & Wilcox, D. (2006, May). What education schools aren't teaching about reading and what elementary teachers aren't learning. Washington, DC: National Council on Teacher Quality. Retrieved from http://www.nctq.org/dmsView/What_Ed_Schools_Arent_Teaching_About_Reading_NCTQ_Report
[6] 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