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.
Montana's approval process for its traditional and alternate route teacher preparation programs does not hold programs accountable for the quality of the teachers they produce.
Most importantly, Montana does not collect value-added data that connect student achievement gains to teacher preparation programs.
The state relies on some other objective, meaningful data to measure the performance of teacher preparation programs. Montana requires that its preparation programs provide evidence that "data are used to evaluate student performance and modify programs." These data include assessments at admissions, verification of content knowledge, student teaching and clinical experience assessments, and follow-up studies. Regrettably, the state does not appear to apply any transparent, measurable criteria for conferring program approval.
However, the state does not collect these data for its alternate route. Further, there is no evidence that the state's standards for program approval are resulting in greater accountability. In the past three years, no programs in Montana have been identified in required federal reporting as low performing.
Finally, Montana's website does not include a report card that allows the public to review and compare program performance.
Montana Professional Educator Preparation Program Standards and Procedures Manual http://www.opi.mt.gov/pdf/Accred/09PEPPSManual.pdf Title II State Reports https://title2.ed.gov
Collect data that connect student achievement gains to teacher preparation programs.
To ensure that programs are producing effective classroom teachers, Montana should consider academic achievement gains of students taught by the programs' graduates, averaged over the first three years of teaching.
Gather other meaningful data that reflect program performance.
In addition to knowing whether programs are producing effective teachers, other objective, meaningful data can also indicate whether programs are appropriately screening applicants and if they are delivering essential academic and professional knowledge. Building on the data the state currently collects for its traditional teacher preparation programs, Montana should gather data for all teacher preparation programs, such as the following: average raw scores of graduates on licensing tests, including basic skills, subject matter and professional knowledge tests; satisfaction ratings by school principals and teacher supervisors of programs' student teachers, using a standardized form to permit program comparison; evaluation results from the first and/or second year of teaching; and five-year retention rates of graduates in the teaching profession.
Establish the minimum standard of performance for each category of data.
Programs should be held accountable for meeting these standards, with articulated consequences for failing to do so, including loss of program approval after appropriate due process.
Publish an annual report card on the state's website.
To inform the public with meaningful, readily understandable indicators of how well programs are doing, Montana should present all the data it collects on individual teacher preparation programs.
Montana declined to respond to NCTQ's analyses.