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 : Hawaii results. State Teacher Policy Database. [Data set].
Retrieved from: https://www.nctq.org/yearbook/state/HI-Teacher-Preparation-Program-Accountability--6

Analysis of Hawaii's policies

Hawaii'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, Hawaii 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. Hawaii collects programs' annual summary licensure test pass rates but sets a low bar in its definition of "low performing," only requiring teacher preparation programs to show at least a 70 percent pass rate for a three-year average. 

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

According to the state's winning Race to the Top application, by the end of 2010, it was to contract with consultants to provide currently available data that link student achievement with preparation programs, and then collaborate with researchers to analyze these data, which will then inform decision making by the 2011-2012 school year. Hawaii articulated that reports of student achievement growth that are linked to preparation programs will be available at the beginning of the 2013-2014 school year, based on two years of student data.

However, how or if the state plans to include alternate route programs is not specified, and there is no evidence to date of specific policy to support these plans.  


Recommendations for Hawaii

Collect data that connect student achievement gains to teacher preparation programs.
To ensure that programs are producing effective classroom teachers, Hawaii should consider 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, it 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, other objective, meaningful data can also indicate whether programs are appropriately screening applicants and whether they are delivering essential academic and professional knowledge. Hawaii 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, Hawaii should present all the data it collects on individual teacher preparation programs.  NCTQ acknowledges that the state has articulated a plan to post an annual report card for the public as part of its RttT application.

State response to our analysis

Hawaii noted that as of November 2010, it now defines alternate routes to licensure as pathways that allow the establishment and operation of preparation programs designed to recruit, prepare and license talented individuals who hold at least a baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university and may have careers in fields other than education.  

Hawaii added that alternate route programs have the following characteristics: a) They can be provided by various types of qualified providers, including both institutions of higher education and other independent providers; b) They are selective in accepting candidates, using a rigorous screening process (passing tests, interviews and demonstrated mastery of content); c) They provide intensive, supervised, school-based experiences with structured ongoing support; d) They significantly limit the amount of coursework required or have options to test out of courses or allow candidates to demonstrate equivalent experience; e) They hold high performance standards for completion; and f) They recommend the same level of licensure that traditional preparation programs award upon completion.

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.