The state's approval process for teacher preparation programs should hold programs accountable for the quality of the teachers they produce.
Louisiana's approval process for its traditional and alternate route teacher preparation programs holds programs accountable for the quality of the teachers they produce.
Commendably, Louisiana relies on its Value-Added Teacher Preparation Assessment Model, which collects value-added data that connect student achievement gains to teacher preparation programs. The model evaluates first- and second-year teachers who teach grades 4-9 in math, science, social studies, reading or language arts. It predicts the achievement of individual students based on prior achievement, demographics and attendance, and then compares this growth to actual performance using the state's LEAP tests. Programs are then placed into one of five levels to identify how well students taught by new teachers meet achievement targets as compared to students taught by experienced teachers.
Value-added results are available for eight traditional teacher preparation programs for 10 universities and two private providers; results are not yet available for nine additional universities due to the small number of new teachers who have completed the redesigned programs in the five content areas.
The state also relies on some objective, meaningful data to measure the performance of teacher preparation programs. The state requires that certain indicators be integrated into the formula to calculate the "Teacher Preparation Performance Score." Indicators include percentage of program completers who passed Praxis subtests, ratings by new teachers of the quality of their preparation programs to prepare them for their first year of teaching and the quantity of program completers.
Further, Louisiana appears to apply transparent, measurable criteria for conferring program approval. Program scores are determined on the basis of a relatively complex rating formula. The state provides a system to reward programs that attain performance scores each year at an "exemplary" and "high performing" level. Teacher preparation programs that are rated as being "at risk" for four years, or programs designated as "low performing" who do not become "satisfactory" within two years, lose their state approval.
Regrettably, however, there is no evidence that the state's criteria for conferring program approval are resulting in greater accountability. In the past three years, not a single program in the state has been identified in required federal reporting as low performing.
Finally, Louisiana makes its findings available by posting the data and program grades on its website.
Value-Added Teacher Preparation Program Assessment Model http://regents.louisiana.gov/index.cfm?md=pagebuilder&tmp=home&pid=113 Title II State Reports https://title2.ed.gov
Ensure that criteria for program approval result in greater accountability.
Louisiana has taken commendable steps to develop an accountability system for its teacher preparation programs. The state should ensure that its system is sufficient to differentiate program performance and that follow-up actions are taken as warranted.
Louisiana recognized the factual accuracy of this analysis.