Teacher Preparation Program Accountability :
Arizona

2011 Delivering Well Prepared Teachers Policy

Goal

The state's approval process for teacher preparation programs should hold programs accountable for the quality of the teachers they produce.

Meets a small part
Suggested Citation:
National Council on Teacher Quality. (2011). Teacher Preparation Program Accountability : Arizona results. State Teacher Policy Database. [Data set].
Retrieved from: https://www.nctq.org/yearbook/state/AZ-Teacher-Preparation-Program-Accountability--6

Analysis of Arizona's policies

Arizona's approval process for its traditional and alternate route teacher preparation programs could do more to hold programs accountable for the quality of the teachers they produce.

Most importantly, Arizona does not collect value-added data that connect student achievement gains to teacher preparation programs.

Arizona does rely on some objective, meaningful data to measure the performance of teacher preparation programs. Not only does the state require that programs conduct internal and external evaluations (i.e., student/faculty/employer evaluations; graduate surveys), but Arizona also requires teacher preparation programs to submit three years of data that monitor program graduates, including: retention, success, number of candidates issued a state provisional certificate and number of candidates who progressed to a standard certificate within three years.
 
Regrettably, Arizona sets a low bar in its definition of "low performing institutions," only requiring teacher preparation programs to show that at least 75 percent of their graduates from the prior two years passed on their first attempt the professional knowledge portion of the state's licensing test, the Arizona Teacher Proficiency Assessment.

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 in required federal reporting as low performing.

Finally, Arizona's website does not include a report card that allows the public to review and compare program performance.

Citation

Recommendations for Arizona

Collect data that connect student achievement gains to teacher preparation programs.
To ensure that programs are producing effective classroom teachers, Arizona should consider the 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.
Although Arizona relies on a number of commendable objective, meaningful data to measure the performance of teacher preparation programs, the state should expand its requirements to include other metrics.

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, Arizona should present all the data it collects on individual teacher preparation programs.  

State response to our analysis

Arizona recognized the factual accuracy of this analysis.

How we graded

States need to hold programs accountable for the quality of their graduates.

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 can be used to provide objective evidence of the performance of teacher preparation programs. States should make such data, as well as other objective measures that go beyond licensure pass rates, a central component of their teacher preparation program approval processes, and they should establish precise standards for performance that are more useful for accountability purposes. 

Research rationale

For discussion of teacher preparation program approval see Andrew Rotherham's chapter "Back to the Future: The History and Politics of State Teacher Licensure and Certification." in A Qualified Teacher in Every Classroom. (Harvard Education Press, 2004).

For evidence of how weak state efforts to hold teacher preparation programs accountable are, see data on programs identified as low-performing in the U.S. Department of Education, Secretary's Seventh Annual Report on Teacher Quality 2010 at:
http://www2.ed.gov/about/reports/annual/teachprep/t2r7.pdf 

For additional discussion and research of how teacher education programs can add value to their teachers, see NCTQ, Tomorrow's Teachers: Evaluation Education Schools, available at http://www.nctq.org/p/edschools.

For a discussion of the lack of evidence that national accreditation status enhances teacher preparation programs' effectiveness, see D. Ballou and M. Podgursky, "Teacher Training and Licensure: A Layman's Guide," in Better Teachers, Better Schools, ed. Marci Kanstoroom and Chester E. Finn. Jr. (Washington, D.C.: Thomas B. Fordham Foundation, 1999), 45-47. See also No Common Denominator: The Preparation of Elementary Teachers in Mathematics by America's Education Schools (NCTQ, 2008) and What Education Schools Aren't Teaching About Reading and What Elementary Teachers Aren't Learning (NCTQ, 2006).

See NCTQ, Alternative Certification Isn't Alternative (2007) regarding the dearth of accountability data states require of alternate route programs.