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.

Nearly meets goal
Suggested Citation:
National Council on Teacher Quality. (2015). Teacher Preparation Program Accountability: Indiana results. State Teacher Policy Database. [Data set].
Retrieved from: https://www.nctq.org/yearbook/state/IN-Teacher-Preparation-Program-Accountability-69

Analysis of Indiana's policies

Indiana's approval process for its traditional and alternate route teacher preparation programs is making progress when it comes to holding programs accountable for the quality of the teachers they produce.

Indiana reports the aggregated results of staff performance evaluations for graduates of each teacher preparation program in the state as well as certificated employees of each school and school corporation. The department must report these results to the state board and to the public on its website. These results, however, appear to be informational only, since they are not included in the state's matrix ranking system, described below.

Indiana requires that preparation program standards include "benchmarks" for performance that include at least test-score data for each teacher preparation entity on content and pedagogy tests, the average number of times each program completer takes a licensing test before receiving a passing score, and the percentage of teacher candidates who receive a passing score on the first attempt. This information must be posted on the state's website. The following information must also be reported and posted: the attrition, retention and completion rates of candidates, and the percentage of graduates who obtain full-time and part-time teaching positions and the names of their employers.

By July 30, 2016, the state will establish a matrix rating system for teacher preparation programs based on the performance of the programs as demonstrated by the data collected for the three most recent years. This system may not rank or compare teacher preparation programs. By this same time, the department will also establish a minimum rating that programs must achieve to avoid referral. Starting July 1, 2017, the department will submit a list of programs that do not meet that minimum rating to the commission for higher education and the Independent Colleges of Indiana, Inc., after which those programs, depending on the type, will either be placed on an improvement plan for a designated period or will undergo a peer review process.

Starting in 2016, Indiana will also start collecting surveys from completers and principals of completers regarding the quality of the preparation program.

The state currently collects programs' annual summary licensure test pass rates (80 percent of program completers must pass their licensure exams). However, 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.  

In Indiana, although programs have the option but are not required to seek accreditation through CAEP, the state requires that programs must meet CAEP standards to be approved.


Recommendations for Indiana

Collect data that connect student achievement gains to teacher preparation programs. 
While it is commendable that Indiana collects and reports the aggregated results of staff performance evaluations of preparation program graduates, the state should consider making this data a part of its matrix rating system for teacher preparation programs. In addition, Indiana should be mindful that data that are aggregated to the institution (e.g., combining elementary and secondary programs), rather than disaggregated to the specific preparation program, are not useful for accountability purposes. Such aggregation can mask significant differences in performance among programs.

State response to our analysis

Indiana was helpful in providing NCTQ with the facts necessary for this analysis.

The state noted that since 2012, Indiana has required all teachers and principals to receive an annual evaluation. The evaluation systems must include objective measurements of student achievement and growth, an effectiveness rating, and consequences for those not meeting expectations. The state-mandated evaluation system significantly informs a summative teacher evaluation.

The state also indicated that it will begin collecting principal and teacher survey data, and both will be incorporated within a nonranking matrix. Both will be implemented on standard forms, most likely online, beginning in 2016.

Further, beginning July 1, 2017, the Department (in conjunction with the State Board of Education, Commission for Higher Education, Independent Colleges of Indiana, and teacher preparation programs) will have established a minimum rating under the matrix rating system that programs must meet to avoid a referral to either CHE (state institutions or proprietary postsecondary institutions) or ICI (nonprofit colleges or universities). Referrals, if any, will begin July 1, 2017 and each July 1 thereafter.

The department may reevaluate an approved program at any time and may recommend revocation to the state board if the program is not meeting rules or standards. The board will make a final determination.

Lastly, the state asserted that, overall, its matrix and HEA 1388-related requirements are significantly informed by student-growth-data teacher-preparation-program quality.

Research rationale

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. 

Teacher Preparation Program Accountability: Supporting Research
For discussion of teacher preparation program approval see Andrew Rotherham and S. Mead'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,The 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's, Teacher Prep Review, 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, eds. Marci Kanstoroom and Chester E. Finn., Jr., (Washington, D.C.: Thomas B. Fordham Foundation, 1999), pp. 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.