Program Performance Measures: California

Teacher Preparation Policy

Goal

The state should collect and publicly report key data on the quality of teacher preparation programs. This goal was reorganized in 2021.

Meets a small part
Suggested Citation:
National Council on Teacher Quality. (2021). Program Performance Measures: California results. State Teacher Policy Database. [Data set].
Retrieved from: https://www.nctq.org/yearbook/state/CA-Program-Performance-Measures-89

Analysis of California's policies

Student Growth Data: California does not collect or publicly report data that connect student growth to teacher preparation programs.

Licensure Exam Pass Rates: California publishes final pass rates of all test takers for content tests at the institutional and state level. These data are presented in three examinee groups: "all program completers," "all enrolled students who have completed all nonclinical courses," and "other enrolled candidates." The state also publishes an annual report on state-level pass rate data by test. This report includes first-time pass rate data for the CBEST and RICA tests. First-time pass rate data are not published for the CSET: Multiple Subjects or Single Subject tests.

Citation

Recommendations for California

Collect data that connect student growth to teacher preparation programs, when those programs are large enough for the data to be meaningful and reliable.
California should consider collecting the academic achievement gains of students taught by programs' graduates, averaged over the first three years of teaching, when the programs produce enough graduates for those data to be meaningful and reliable. Data that are aggregated at the institution level (e.g., combining elementary and secondary programs), rather than disaggregated by the specific preparation program, have less utility for accountability and continuous improvement purposes than more specific data because institution-level data aggregation can mask significant differences in performance among programs.

Publish first-time and final pass rate data at the program level for all test takers.
Although California publishes final pass rate data of all test takers at the institutional level, the state should publicly report first-time and final pass rate data for all test takers at the program level. Doing so allows the state, programs, and prospective teacher candidates to analyze the strength of programs' ability to prepare teachers in core content areas. Prospective teacher candidates deserve access to relevant information to determine which programs are most likely to enable them to earn a standard teaching license.




State response to our analysis

California indicated that the CSET data is presented based on a cohort model with all examinations taken during an examination year. There is no report that shows specifically data from the first time an individual attempts the CSET. The state reiterated that the Title II report includes passing rates for the three groups of candidates (completers, completed all non-clinical coursework, and all other enrolled candidates). 

California asserted that the term "objective measures of student growth" needs definition. The state asserts that it is a contested term without a consensus definition in student and educator evaluation research. Definition of this term and other key terms throughout this report are necessary to elicit relevant and complete responses from State Educational Agencies such as the California Department of Education. California posits, "What evidence exists to show that the two proposed factors of this goal would yield a policy that improves either the preparation programs or the achievement of students or the well-being of students?" The state further asserts that such a policy must have a strong evidentiary basis because the publication of whichever growth metrics chosen—by default this is typically statewide standardized assessments for cost reasons and comparability across districts—would necessarily confound in part the validity of the instrument(s) by which student growth is assessed—see the literature on value-added measurement.  The state provided a link to research on value-added measurement.

Updated: March 2021

Last word

The purpose of this goal is to gauge state's policy regarding the transparency of the quality of teacher preparation programs. Evidence of student growth of program graduates can be an indicator of the quality of content and pedagogical knowledge acquired in the program.  Licensure exam pass rates are indicative of a program's ability to prepare candidates in the content knowledge need to teach the intended subjects. Regarding the use of student growth to measure teacher effectiveness, California is invited to review NCTQ's research rationale at the bottom of the "Measures of Student Growth" goal. Additionally, NCTQ does not prescribe the types of measures of student growth used by states, but only that they are objective. Some examples of objective measures of student growth, in addition to statewide standardized assessments, are: student learning objectives (SLOs), district-level pre- and post-tests; and teacher-developed assessments. For teachers of non-tested grades and subjects specifically, student growth measures may include: teacher-set goals for student learning; student performance assessments, including portfolio projects, problem-solving protocols and internships; teacher-developed assessments; standardized assessments; and district-established assessments.

How we graded

1C: Program Performance Measures 

  • Student Growth Data: The state should collect and publicly report data connecting student growth to teacher preparation programs for all programs large enough for the data to be meaningful and reliable. Such data may include growth analyses specifically conducted for this purpose or evaluation ratings that include objective measures of student growth.
  • Licensure Exam Pass Rates: The state should collect and publish meaningful pass rate data that inform a reasonable judgment of the performance of each approved teacher preparation program, including:
    • Final (best attempt) pass rate data for all test takers at the program, institutional and state level.
    • First-time pass rate data for all test takers at the program, institutional and state level.
Student Growth Data
One-half of the total goal score is earned based on the following:

  • One-half credit: The state will earn one-half of a point if student growth data of program graduates are collected and reported for programs that are sufficiently large enough for these data to be meaningful and reliable.
  • One-quarter credit: The state will earn one-quarter of a point if student growth data of program graduates are collected and reported for institutions that are sufficiently large enough for these data to be meaningful and reliable.
Licensure Exam Pass Rates
One-half of the total goal score is earned based on the following:
  • One-half credit: The state will earn one-half of a point if it collects and publishes final and/or first-time pass rate data of all test takers at the program level.
  • One-quarter credit: The state will earn one-quarter of a point if it collects and publishes final and/or first-time pass rate data of all test takers at the institutional and/or state level.

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. A qualified teacher in every classroom (pp. 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. (2016). 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.), 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