The state's approval process for teacher preparation programs should hold programs accountable for the quality of the teachers they produce.
Iowa's approval process for traditional and alternate route teacher preparation programs does not hold programs accountable for the quality of the teachers they produce.
Most importantly, Iowa does not collect value-added data that connect student achievement gains to teacher preparation programs.
However, Iowa does rely on some objective, meaningful data to measure the performance of teacher preparation programs. The state requires that its preparation programs document the quality of their programs by collecting evaluative data from practitioners who work with the teacher candidates as well as "evidence of evaluative data collected by the unit through follow-up studies of graduates and their employers." Regrettably, Iowa does not appear to apply any transparent, measurable criteria for conferring program approval.
Further, there is no evidence that the state's standards for program approval are resulting in greater accountability. In the past three years, no programs in Iowa have been identified in required federal reporting as low performing.
Finally, Iowa's website does not include a report card that allows the public to review and compare program performance.
Iowa Administrative Code 281-79.13 Title II State Reports https://title2.ed.gov
Collect data that connect student achievement gains to teacher preparation programs.
To ensure that programs are producing effective classroom teachers, Iowa should consider the academic achievement gains of students taught by the programs' graduates, averaged over the first three years of teaching.
Gather other meaningful data that reflect program performance.
Although Iowa relies on some objective, meaningful data to measure the performance of teacher preparation programs, the state should expand its requirements to include other metrics such as 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; 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, Iowa should present all the data it collects on individual teacher preparation programs.
Iowa asserted that it sanctions programs with conditional status when Chapter 79 standards are not met.