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 2021.
Minimum Standards of Performance: Maryland has set one minimum standard of performance for programs, but it has not established standards across all data this is collected as part of the Institutional Performance Criteria. The state collects programs' licensure test pass rates and requires 80% of program completers to pass their licensure exams. This 80% pass-rate standard, while common among states, sets the bar quite low and is not a meaningful measure of program performance.
Pending legislation would replace the Institutional Performance Criteria with specific program entry and exit requirements as well as clinical practice requirements.
Program Accountability: Maryland articulates consequences for programs that fail to meet specific criteria, although the 80% pass rate is not a meaningful minimum standard. The state does delineate both a process and consequences for programs receiving conditional approval, probation, or denial. Programs are measured against the 80% pass rate standard and Institutional Performance Criteria, but the Performance Criteria are not based on clearly stated, objective evidence or measures of performance.
Pending legislation in Maryland defines a new program approval process with consequences for programs not meeting applicable standards.
State Report Cards: Maryland does not produce and publish an annual report card that shows the data the state collects on individual teacher preparation programs.
Program Approval Process: Maryland allows overlap of national accreditation and state approval. Programs have the option of utilizing national accreditation for program approval. Program approval is based solely on national accreditation outcomes, for programs opting for national accreditation.
MD Institutional Performance Criteria http://marylandpublicschools.org/about/Documents/DEE/ProgramApproval/MAP/InstitutionalPerformanceCriteria_09032014.pdf Maryland Code Annotated Education Article Section 11-208 Proposed Revisions to COMAR 13A.07.06 http://marylandpublicschools.org/stateboard/Documents/2020/0825/13A.07.06ProgramsforProfessionallyLicensedPersonnel.pdf
Establish meaningful minimum standards of performance for each category of data.
Maryland should establish precise minimum standards for teacher preparation program performance for each category of data it collects to help clarify expectations regarding program quality. The 80 percent pass rate minimum is too low a bar to be meaningful.
Publish an annual report card on the state's website.
Maryland should produce an annual report card that clearly displays program-level data the state collects on individual teacher preparation programs. This report card should be publicly available on the state's website, at a minimum. Data should be presented in a manner that transparently conveys whether programs have met performance standards.
Maintain full authority over the process for approving teacher preparation programs.
Maryland should not cede any of its approval authority to another accrediting body; instead, the state should ensure that it is the entity that directly considers all the evidence of program performance and makes the final determination of whether programs should continue to be authorized to prepare teachers.
Maryland was helpful in providing NCTQ with facts that enhanced this analysis. Maryland asserted that through the annual reporting process, the state does require preparation programs to address all program areas that do not meet 80% performance standard for first-time and final-pass rate. Furthermore, Maryland requires preparation programs to report program retention, program completion, certification-eligible data, and employment retention data. The state also noted that its revised Program Accountability structure is under review by the Maryland State Board of Education and the Professional Standards & Teacher Education Board.
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.