The state's approval process for teacher preparation programs should hold programs accountable for the quality of the teachers they produce.
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.
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.
Arizona recognized the factual accuracy of this analysis.