Teacher Preparation Program Accountability :
Georgia

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.

Nearly meets
Suggested Citation:
National Council on Teacher Quality. (2011). Teacher Preparation Program Accountability : Georgia results. State Teacher Policy Database. [Data set].
Retrieved from: https://www.nctq.org/yearbook/state/GA-Teacher-Preparation-Program-Accountability--6

Analysis of Georgia's policies

Georgia'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, Georgia requires that preparation programs collect data relating to candidate performance and its effect on student learning, which requires candidates to produce evidence of a positive impact on student growth during student teaching.

The state also gathers other objective, meaningful data to measure the performance of teacher preparation programs, including content knowledge as measured by Georgia's assessment tool; content knowledge as measured by a program-level assessment; planning, which covers pedagogical content knowledge and general pedagogical skills; clinical practice, which must be performance-based and drawn from candidate work during student teaching; and dispositions, which include institutional assessment of the professional attitudes, values and beliefs demonstrated through both verbal and nonverbal behaviors throughout the program, including student teaching.

However, it does not appear that Georgia applies any transparent, measurable criteria for conferring program approval. The state collects programs' annual summary licensure test pass rates (80 percent of program completers must pass their licensure exams). The 80 percent pass-rate standard, while common among many states, sets the bar quite low and is not a meaningful measure of program performance. Further, in the past three years, no programs in the state have been identified as low performing—an additional indicator that programs lack accountability.

The Governor's Office of Student Achievement (OSA) publishes an annual report card that provides individual teacher preparation program data on state certification assessments.

According to the state's winning Race to the Top application, it plans to evaluate graduates' impact on student achievement by developing a Teacher Preparation Program Effectiveness Measure (TPPEM) for alternate routes and traditional teacher preparation. TPPEM will track the rate at which induction teachers move to the career teacher level. Georgia's application also calls for an examination of candidates' ability to produce student learning before they are allowed to graduate. 

Citation

Recommendations for Georgia

Establish the minimum standard of performance for each category of data.
Programs should be held accountable for meeting these established standards of performance, with articulated consequences for failing to do so, including loss of program approval after appropriate due process. 

State response to our analysis

Georgia recognized the factual accuracy of this analysis. The state noted that additional information can be found in the state's Framework for Teaching. 

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.