The state's approval process for teacher preparation programs should hold programs accountable for the quality of the teachers they produce.
Arkansas's approval process for its traditional and alternate route teacher preparation programs does not hold programs accountable for the quality of the teachers they produce.
Most importantly, Arkansas does not collect value-added data that connect student achievement gains to teacher preparation programs.
The state also fails to collect other objective, meaningful data to measure the performance of teacher preparation programs, and it does not apply any transparent, measurable criteria for conferring program approval. In 2009, the state reported six-year retention rates for its alternate route candidates, but this data no longer seems to be available on the state's website. Arkansas does collect programs' annual summary licensure test pass rates (80 percent of program completers must pass their licensure exams). However, the 80 percent pass-rate standard, while common among many states, sets the bar quite low and is not a meaningful measure of program performance.
Further, there is no evidence that the state's standards for program approval are resulting in greater accountability. In the past three years, no programs in the state have been identified as low performing.
Finally, Arkansas's website does not include a report card that allows the public to review and compare program performance.
"Protocol for the Review and Approval of Programs of Study Leading to Educator Licensure or Endorsement in Arkansas" http://arkansased.org/educators/pdf/licensure/edprep_protocol_040110.pdf Title II State Reports https://title2.ed.gov
Collect data that connect student achievement gains to teacher preparation programs.
To ensure that programs are producing effective classroom teachers, Arkansas should consider academic achievement gains of students taught by the programs' graduates, averaged over the first three years of teaching.
Gather other meaningful data that reflect program performance.
In addition to knowing whether programs are producing effective teachers, other objective, meaningful data can indicate whether programs are appropriately screening applicants and whether they are delivering essential academic and professional knowledge. Arkansas should gather data such as the following: average raw scores of graduates on licensing tests, including basic skills, subject matter and professional knowledge tests; satisfaction ratings by school principals and teacher supervisors of programs' student teachers, using a standardized form to permit program comparison; evaluation results from the first and/or second year of teaching; and five-year retention rates of graduates in the teaching profession.
Establish the minimum standard of performance for each category of data.
Programs should be held accountable for meeting these standards, with articulated consequences for failing to do so, including loss of program approval after appropriate due process.
Publish an annual report card on the state's website.
To inform the public with meaningful, readily understandable indicators of how well programs are doing, Arkansas should present all the data it collects on individual teacher preparation programs.
Arkansas recognized the factual accuracy of this analysis.