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 2021.
Minimum Standards of Performance: Arizona does not set minimum standards of performance for the data that teacher preparation programs must supply in their biennial reports to the Arizona Department of Education.
Program Accountability: Although Arizona does not set minimum standards of performance, the state identifies deficiencies in program performance as a result of a review of the program's biennial report. The state articulates clear consequences for programs that do not improve these deficiencies, and "programs with the same deficiency(s) in two consecutive biennial status letters are subject to revocation of Board approval." The biennial reports "may include... stakeholder surveys, completer data, and student achievement data required as a condition of initial or continuing program approval."
State Report Cards: Arizona does not produce and publish an annual report card that shows all the data the state collects on individual teacher preparation programs, but the biennial reports are required to be made public.
Program Approval Process: Arizona allows overlap of national accreditation and state approval. Educator preparation programs have the option of obtaining CAEP accreditation in lieu of state's own program review for the purposes of program approval.
Establish the minimum standards of performance for each category of data.
Arizona 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 program accountability decisions are based on minimum standards of performance. While Arizona has the structure of a program accountability system, including follow-up actions for programs failing to meet standards, it has not set minimum standards it can use to implement this accountability process. As Arizona further develops its accountability system, it should ensure that the biennial reports to include stakeholder surveys, completer data, and student achievement data. This data should be required and not optional and the state should set minimum standards of performance for each category. For programs exceeding minimum standards, Arkansas should consider finding effective ways to disseminate best practices.
Publish an annual report card on the state's website.
In order to ensure that stakeholders have the most up-to-date information, Arizona should produce an annual report card that clearly displays program-level data the state collects on individual teacher preparation programs, rather than use the programs' biennial reports. This report card should, like the program reports, 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.
Arizona 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.
Arizona recognized the factual accuracy of this analysis; however, this analysis was updated subsequent to the state's review.
1D: Program Reporting Requirements
The state should examine a number of factors when measuring the performance of and approving teacher preparation programs. 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.
States have made great strides in building data systems with the capacity to provide evidence of teacher performance. 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.
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. Clear state policy would eliminate this uncertainty and send an unequivocal message to programs about the state's expectations.