General Teacher Preparation Policy
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 2017.
Minimum Standards of Performance: Illinois does not set meaningful minimum standards of performance for the categories of data that programs must report. The state collects programs' licensure test pass rates and requires 80 percent of program completers to pass their licensure exams but this standard sets the bar quite low and is not a meaningful measure of program performance.
Program Accountability: As a result of the lack of meaningful minimum standards of performance, Illinois does not articulate consequences for programs that fail to meet specific criteria.
State Report Cards: Illinois does not produce and publish an annual report card that shows all the data the state collects on individual teacher preparation programs. The state requires programs to make public information about completers' pass rates on licensure tests, but this data is not posted by the state.
Program Approval Process: Illinois maintains full authority over teacher preparation program approval.
Illinois Administrative Code Title 23, Section 25.115; Section 25.127
Establish the minimum standards of performance for each category of data.
As Illinois works on establishing thresholds and benchmarks for program performance, it should be sure to establish minimum standards for all categories of data it collects that are precise and help clarify expectations regarding program quality.
Ensure that criteria for program approval result in greater accountability.
As Illinois builds out its data and accountability system, it should ensure that it holds programs accountable for meeting minimum standards of performance, and that the state's accountability system is sufficient to differentiate performance among programs, including alternate route programs. The state 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, Illinois should consider finding effective ways to disseminate best practices.
Publish an annual report card on the state's website.
Illinois should continue to work to produce an annual report card that clearly displays program-level data the state collects on individual teacher preparation programs. Data should be presented in a manner that transparently conveys whether programs have met performance standards.
Illinois recognized the factual accuracy of this analysis. The state was helpful in providing the facts necessary for this analysis and the analysis in Goal 1-C: Program Performance Measures.
The state also noted that over the next two years it will set performance standards and establish systems of support for programs that need remediation.
NCTQ looks forward to reviewing the state's progress in future editions of the Yearbook.
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.