Program Reporting Requirements: Alabama

2017 General Teacher Preparation Policy

Goal

The state's approval process for teacher preparation programs should hold programs accountable for the quality of the teachers they produce. This goal was reorganized in 2017.

Does not meet

Analysis of Alabama's policies

Minimum Standards of Performance: Alabama does not set minimum standards of performance for the categories of data that programs must report.

Program Accountability: As a result of the lack of minimum standards of performance, Alabama does not articulate consequences for programs that fail to meet specific criteria.

State Report Cards: In the past, Alabama published an annual report card that showed the data the state collects on individual teacher preparation programs, but the website has not been updated since 2009. 

Program Approval Process: Alabama allows overlap of national accreditation and state approval. While Alabama conducts its own program reviews and site visits, the state allows programs to substitute national accreditation for some, but not all, components of the state program approval process.

Citation

Recommendations for Alabama

Establish the minimum standards of performance for each category of data.
Alabama should establish precise minimum standards for teacher preparation program performance for each category of data it collects to help clarify expectations regarding program quality.

Ensure that criteria for program approval result in greater accountability.
Alabama should ensure that programs are held accountable for meeting minimum standards of performance, and that the state's accountability system is sufficient to differentiate performance among programs, including alternate route programs. The state should establish clear follow-up actions for programs failing to meet these standards, including remediation or loss of program approval as appropriate. For programs exceeding minimum standards, Alabama should consider finding effective ways to disseminate best practices.

Resume publishing an annual report card on the state's website.
Alabama should resume publication of an annual report card. This report card should clearly display program-level data the state collects on individual teacher preparation programs and should be publicly available on the state's website, at a minimum. Data should be presented in a manner that transparently conveys whether programs have met performance standards.

Maintain full authority over the process for approving teacher preparation programs.
Alabama should not cede any of its approval authority to another accrediting body; instead, the state should ensure that it is the entity that directly considers all the evidence of program performance and makes the final determination of whether programs should continue to be authorized to prepare teachers.

State response to our analysis

Alabama was helpful in providing NCTQ with facts that enhanced this analysis.

The state also provided additional detail about the role of national accreditation.  Alabama does not allow institutions or programs to substitute national accreditation for all components of the state program approval process. As an example, a Class B (undergraduate) secondary mathematics program that meets the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) standards would not be exempt from documenting compliance with College and University Requirements (State Board of Education Regulations 290-3-3-.02), Alabama Core Teaching Standards (State Board of Education Regulations 290-3-3-.03), Class B (Bachelor's Degree Level) Programs for Teaching Fields (State Board of Education Regulations 290-3-3-.04), or Secondary Teaching Fields (State Board of Education Regulations 290-3-3-.08). The only Alabama standards from which the secondary mathematics program would be exempt from state review would be the mathematics-specific standards (State Board of Education Regulations 290-3-3-.13). As indicated in the regulations, Alabama's mathematics standards are based on NCTM standards.

Updated: December 2017

How we graded

1D: Program Reporting Requirements 

  • Minimum Standards: The state should establish a minimum standard of performance for each category of data that is collected.
  • Articulated Consequences for Failure to Meet Minimum Standards: The state should hold teacher preparation programs accountable for meeting minimum standards of performance. As such, the state should have articulated consequences for programs failing to meet these standards and should require specific steps to develop a remediation plan. This may include on-site program inspection by qualified external bodies that may lead to loss of program approval.
  • Annual Reporting: The state should produce and publish an annual report card that provides all of the collected data for each individual teacher preparation program.
  • Approval Authority: The state should retain full authority over its process approving teacher preparation programs and should not grant any approval authority to accrediting bodies.
Minimum Standards
One-quarter of the total goal score is earned based on the following:

  • One-quarter credit: The state will earn one-quarter of a point if minimum standards of performance are set for each category of data the teacher preparation programs are required to report.
Articulated Consequences for Failure to Meet Minimum Standards
One-quarter of the total goal score is earned based on the following:

  • One-quarter credit: The state will earn one-quarter of a point if it holds teacher preparation programs accountable for meeting the minimum standards of performance, and if it clearly articulates the consequences for failing to meet the minimum standards, which may include loss of program approval.
Annual Reporting
One-quarter of the total goal score is earned based on the following:

  • One-quarter credit: The state will earn one-quarter of a point if it publishes all collected data on individual teacher preparation programs on an annual basis. 
Approval Authority
One-quarter of the total goal score is earned based on the following:

  • One-quarter credit: The state will earn one-quarter of a point if it retains full authority over the process for approving teacher preparation programs.

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. In F. Hess, A. J. Rotherham, & K. Walsh (Eds.), A qualified teacher in every classroom (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. (2017). 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.), In 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