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 2017.
Minimum Standards of Performance: Mississippi does not set meaningful minimum standards of performance for the categories of data that programs must report. The state does require a summary pass rate on state licensure examinations of 80 percent. This 80 percent pass-rate standard, while common among states, sets the bar quite low and is not a meaningful measure of program performance.
Program Accountability: As a result of the lack of minimum standards of performance, Mississippi does not articulate consequences for programs that fail to meet specific criteria.
State Report Cards: Mississippi does not produce and publish an annual report card that shows all the data the state collects on individual teacher preparation programs. The state does release some information on completion numbers by program.
Program Approval Process: Mississippi maintains full authority over teacher preparation program approval. The state requires that all programs housed in institutions of higher education obtain Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) accreditation, but the state maintains sole responsibility over program approval.
Redesign of the state review process for Mississippi educator preparation programs http://www.mde.k12.ms.us/docs/educator-licensure/epp-process-and-performance-review-document.pdf?sfvrsn=0 Mississippi Educator Preparation Program Providers Cohort Data http://www.mde.k12.ms.us/docs/educator-licensure/epp-program-completer-data-2014-2015.pdf?sfvrsn=0 Mississippi CAEP Agreement http://caepnet.org/~/media/Files/caep/state-partners/caep-ms-state-partnership-agreement-2017.pdf?la=en
Establish meaningful minimum standards of performance for each category of data.
Mississippi 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 standard is too low to be considered meaningful.
Ensure that criteria for program approval result in greater accountability.
Mississippi should ensure that programs are held accountable for meeting minimum standards of performance, and that the state's accountability system is sufficient to differentiate performance among programs, including alternate route programs. The state should establish clear follow-up actions for programs failing to meet these standards, including remediation or loss of program approval as appropriate. For programs exceeding minimum standards, Mississippi should consider finding effective ways to disseminate best practices.
Publish an annual report card on the state's website.
Mississippi 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.
Mississippi recognized the factual accuracy of this analysis.
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.