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: The District of Columbia does not require programs to collect meaningful data, and therefore does not set minimum standards of performance for these data.
Program Accountability: As a result of the lack of minimum standards of performance, the District of Columbia does not articulate consequences for programs that fail to meet specific criteria. Programs are measured against Organizational Standards and Subject Area Standards. However, it is unclear how programs are measured objectively against these standards and at what point a program fails to meet minimum standards and therefore has its approval revoked.
State Report Cards: The District of Columbia does not produce and publish an annual report card that shows all the data the state collects on individual teacher preparation programs.
Program Approval Process: The District of Columbia allows overlap of national accreditation and state approval. CAEP accreditation is the sole requirement to earn continuing state approval for traditional preparation programs. However, the District of Columbia does maintain full authority over teacher preparation program approval for non-traditional preparation programs only and conducts program renewal site visits for these programs every three years. Additionally, the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) will develop and implement new processes to review and monitor EPP quality and EPP and program review and approval. Pending the promulgation of new regulations, the District is suspending all approvals and renewals of EPP programs until August 2021 or a new rule is developed, whichever comes first. This does not affect the District's grade in this goal.
Establish the minimum standards of performance for each category of data.
The District of Columbia 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 that criteria for program approval result in greater accountability.
The District of Columbia should ensure that programs are held accountable for meeting minimum standards of performance, and that the District's accountability system is sufficient to differentiate performance among programs, including alternate route programs. The District should establish clear follow-up actions for programs failing to meet these standards, including remediation or loss of program approval as appropriate. For programs exceeding minimum standards, the District of Columbia 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, the District of Columbia should produce an annual report card that clearly displays program-level data the state collects on individual teacher preparation programs. 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 all teacher preparation programs.
The District of Columbia should not cede or share its approval authority for traditional preparation programs housed in institutions of higher education to a national accrediting body; instead, the state should ensure, as it does with non-traditional programs, that it is the entity that directly considers the evidence of program performance and makes the final determination of whether programs should continue to be authorized to prepare teachers.
The District of Columbia was helpful in providing NCTQ with facts that enhanced this analysis.
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.