Teacher Preparation Program Accountability :
Kentucky

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.

Meets in part
Suggested Citation:
National Council on Teacher Quality. (2011). Teacher Preparation Program Accountability : Kentucky results. State Teacher Policy Database. [Data set].
Retrieved from: https://www.nctq.org/yearbook/state/KY-Teacher-Preparation-Program-Accountability--6

Analysis of Kentucky's policies

Kentucky'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, Kentucky does not collect value-added data that connect student achievement gains to teacher preparation programs.

However, it does collect other objective, meaningful data to measure the performance of university-based teacher preparation programs. The Education Professional Standards Board is required to produce an annual report card for all teacher preparation programs. This report card includes pass rates on required assessments, pass rates for the internship program, student teacher satisfaction with the preparation program and supervisor satisfaction with the preparation program.

Regrettably, Kentucky only requires a summary pass rate on state licensure examinations of 80 percent. This 80 percent pass-rate standard, while common among many states, sets the bar quite low and is not a meaningful measure of program performance.

Commendably, Kentucky posts annual report cards on its website that detail its approval standards and identify programs failing to meet them. However, the institutional data do not distinguish between candidates in the traditional and alternate route programs. The state does not post any data online for its numerous alternate route programs that are not based in universities.

Citation

Recommendations for Kentucky

Collect data that connect student achievement gains to teacher preparation programs.
To ensure that programs are producing effective classroom teachers, Kentucky should consider 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 Kentucky 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 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. 

Distinguish between alternate route programs and traditional preparation programs in public reporting.
Kentucky commendably issues an annual report card for teacher preparation institutions. However, it would be more useful to the public—especially hiring school districts—if the reports included specific data at the program level.

State response to our analysis

Kentucky asserted that its Education Professional Standards Board (EPSB) has a new data dash board (DDB) application, which is currently in the testing phase to increase the amount of information available to the public on the quality of preparation programs. The state added that this DDB will provide vital quality indicators that go far beyond the current KEPP report card on preparation institutions and will clearly differentiate between both traditional and alternate programs.

The DDB will also provide in-depth data and serve as a review/comparison of teacher preparation programs when it comes to the following: selective admissions (average GPAs, average raw scores on basic skills tests); effective preparation (average GPA on program exit, average content assessments, average pedagogy assessments); and retention and effectiveness (new teacher surveys, percent teaching in Kentucky). 

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.