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

Analysis of Michigan's policies

Michigan's approval process for its traditional and alternate route teacher preparation programs is on the right track but could do more to hold programs accountable for the quality of the teachers they produce.

Michigan uses its Educator Preparation Institution (EPI) Performance Scores for its traditional programs, which includes a category for measuring graduates' effectiveness. An EPI performance score is comprised of three measurement goals: "1. Percentages of teacher candidates who pass the content-based tests under The Michigan Tests for Teacher Certification (MTTC) system over the last three years; 2. Satisfaction and perception data from surveys administered to teacher candidates and candidate supervisors, twice annually; and 3. Point scores attributed to the latest three years worth of teacher effectiveness ratings within the last five calendar years for graduates from each EPI employed in Michigan public schools."

To calculate the Teacher Effectiveness Rating Score (EFF) component of the overall EPI performance score, the state uses effectiveness ratings of teachers in their first three years of experience who had effectiveness labels over a five-year period. Each year of ratings is assigned anywhere from 0.0-1.0 points and then weighted based on the year of experience. The weighted three-year EFF totals are then added to create a score out of 100 possible points. Given that n-sizes for the EFF component vary widely by program, the state applies "different weights for the three [measurement] goals before the overall score [is] calculated, depending on the proportion of teachers at each EPI who had effectiveness labels."

As mentioned above, Michigan relies on other objective data to measure the performance of traditional teacher preparation programs, including content test pass rates and surveys of candidates and supervisors. The state also appears to apply transparent, measurable criteria for conferring program approval. After programs are rated on an 100-point scale for each of the three measurement goals listed above, programs are assigned an overall EPI performance score. A panel sets the cut-score for the overall EPI performance score. All programs, regardless of meeting the overall performance cut-score, are assigned a phase in the state's EPI corrective action system. The phase determines the EPI's reported performance category and thus the corrective action requirements expected for the next year. As the state explains it, "a phase number of 0 or 1 results in a reported category of Satisfactory; a phase number of 2 or 3 results in a reported category of At Risk; and a phase number of 4 through 6 results in a reported category of Low Performing." Michigan makes its findings available by posting the data and program grades on its website.

For alternate route programs, Michigan requires reporting of how many teachers were certified under each program and how long participating teachers have served in the classroom and comparison of evaluations of participating teachers and teachers with traditional certification. A report is published on the state's website, but the published data relate primarily to enrollment and do not seem to have been updated since 2009.

In Michigan, programs are initially and fully approved by the state's Office of Professional Preparation Services (OPPS). Once full approval is granted, ongoing program approval is based on national accreditation through CAEP and OPPS monitoring.


Recommendations for Michigan

Collect data that connect student achievement gains to teacher preparation programs. 
While Michigan is commended for its focus on connecting student achievement gains to teacher preparation institutions, the state should consider disaggregating this data by program rather than institution level. 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.

Gather other meaningful data that reflect program performance. 
Although Michigan relies on some objective, meaningful data to measure the performance of teacher preparation programs, the state should expand its current requirements for traditional teacher preparation programs to apply to alternate route programs and include additional metrics, such as five-year retention rates of graduates in the teaching profession.

Maintain full authority over the process for approving teacher preparation programs.
Michigan should not cede its authority and must ensure that it is the state that considers the evidence of program performance and makes the decision about whether programs should continue to be authorized to prepare teachers.

State response to our analysis

Michigan was helpful in providing NCTQ with facts that enhanced this analysis.

Michigan also asserted that it does maintain full authority over the process for approving teacher preparation programs. Earning and maintaining national accreditation is a requirement for maintenance of ongoing institutional approval to operate as an educator preparation institution, but processes for approval for specific programs of study (as well as recommendations for closure) are governed entirely by the Michigan Department Education's (MDE) Office of Professional Preparation Services. The MDE website provides extensive documentation about program approval processes in Michigan, and the "Endorsement Program Application" outlines the process of approval, which is based on institutions generating claims about program outcomes and the performance of its graduates, supported by outcome data. Full approval of programs is contingent on providing data to demonstrate achievement of program claims.

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.