Teacher Preparation Program Accountability :

Delivering Well Prepared Teachers Policy


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

Does not meet goal
Suggested Citation:
National Council on Teacher Quality. (2011). Teacher Preparation Program Accountability : Delaware results. State Teacher Policy Database. [Data set].
Retrieved from: https://www.nctq.org/yearbook/state/DE-Teacher-Preparation-Program-Accountability--6

Analysis of Delaware's policies

Delaware's approval process for its traditional and alternate route teacher preparation programs does not hold programs accountable for the quality of the teachers they produce.

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

The state also fails to collect other objective, meaningful data to measure the performance of teacher preparation programs, and it does not apply any transparent, measurable criteria for conferring program approval. 

However, Delaware collects and reports some performance data on its alternate route programs, including candidates' five-year retention rates and first and second-year ratings from principal evaluations. Unfortunately, the data are not disaggregated to the level of the individual program providing the preparation; the state instead annually reports aggregate data for all programs preparing teachers under its alternate routes. The state also tracks some important non-performance data, including the percentage of program teachers teaching in shortage areas.

Further, in the past three years, no programs in the state have been identified as low performing—an additional indicator that programs lack accountability.

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

Delaware, a Race to the Top winner, has indicated in its Title II reporting that the state's criteria are being developed during the RttT period. According to the state's application, it will link teacher preparation to student achievement and growth, and plans to publicly report effectiveness data for all programs beginning in the fall of 2012. However, there is no evidence to date of specific policy to support these plans.  


Recommendations for Delaware

Collect value-added data that connect student achievement gains to teacher preparation programs.
To ensure that programs are producing effective classroom teachers, Delaware should consider the academic achievement gains of students taught by the programs' graduates, averaged over the first three years of teaching. Although the state has commendably outlined its intentions in its RttT application, to ensure that preparation programs are held accountable, Delaware is urged to codify these requirements and specify that they apply to alternate route programs as well as to traditional teacher preparation programs.

Gather other meaningful data that reflect program performance.
In addition to knowing whether programs are producing effective teachers, collecting objective, meaningful data can also indicate whether programs are appropriately screening applicants and whether they are delivering essential academic and professional knowledge. In addition to the data it collects on its alternate route programs, Delaware should gather data such as the following: average raw scores of graduates on licensing tests, including basic skills, subject matter and professional knowledge tests; satisfaction ratings by school principals and teacher supervisors of programs' student teachers, using a standardized form to permit program comparison; evaluation results from the first and/or second year of teaching; and five-year retention rates of graduates in the teaching profession.

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, Delaware should present all the data it collects on individual teacher preparation programs. Delaware commendably issues an annual report on its alternate route preparation. However, it would be more useful to the public—especially hiring school districts—if the reports included specific data for each program.

NCTQ acknowledges that Delaware has articulated a plan to post an annual report card for the public as part of its RttT application. However, to date this plan has not been enacted or codified in state policy.

State response to our analysis

Delaware asserted that it has engaged its institutions of higher education regarding plans outlined in its Race to the Top application, and has also partnered with the Harvard Strategic Data program on this effort. Delaware has also received a pre-proposal from the RAND organization to partner on the project.

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:

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.