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: Montana does not set minimum standards of performance for data collected about teacher preparation programs.
Program Accountability: As a result of the lack of minimum standards of performance, Montana does not articulate consequences for programs that fail to meet specific criteria.
State Report Cards: Montana does not produce and publish an annual report card that shows all the data the state collects on individual teacher preparation programs.
Program Approval Process: Montana maintains full authority over teacher preparation program approval.
Administrative Rule of Montana 10.58.314 http://opi.mt.gov/Programs/Accred/#gpm1_5
Establish the minimum standards of performance for each category of data.
Montana should establish precise minimum standards for teacher preparation program performance for each category of data it collects to help clarify expectations regarding program quality.
Ensure that criteria for program approval result in greater accountability.
Montana 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, Montana should consider finding effective ways to disseminate best practices.
Publish an annual report card on the state's website.
Montana 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.
Montana 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.