Teacher Preparation Program Accountability :
Nebraska

2011 Delivering Well Prepared Teachers Policy

Goal

The state's approval process for teacher preparation programs should hold programs accountable for the quality of the teachers they produce.

Does not meet
Suggested Citation:
National Council on Teacher Quality. (2011). Teacher Preparation Program Accountability : Nebraska results. State Teacher Policy Database. [Data set].
Retrieved from: https://www.nctq.org/yearbook/state/NE-Teacher-Preparation-Program-Accountability--6

Analysis of Nebraska's policies

Nebraska'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, Nebraska does not collect value-added data that connect student achievement gains to teacher preparation programs.

The state also fails to collect other objective, meaningful data to measure the performance of teacher preparation programs, and it does not apply any transparent, measurable criteria for conferring program approval. 

Further, in the past three years, no programs in Nebraska have been identified as low performing—an additional indicator that programs lack accountability.

Finally, Nebraska's website does not include a report card that allows the public to review and compare program performance.

Citation

Recommendations for Nebraska

Collect data that connect student achievement gains to teacher preparation programs.
To ensure that programs are producing effective classroom teachers, Nebraska 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. Nebraska should gather data 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, Nebraska should present all the data it collects on individual teacher preparation programs.  

State response to our analysis

Nebraska asserted that data regarding candidate performance are collected at the institutional level, and are reviewed during state program-approval visits. These include graduate follow-up data and candidate performance related to endorsement standards. The state added that although there is no statewide standardized final/capstone evaluation, all institutions utilize INTASC standards as the basis for evaluation and include additional elements reflective of the mission/conceptual framework. Further, data regarding basic skills assessments are available via Title II reporting.  

How we graded

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. 

Research rationale

For discussion of teacher preparation program approval see Andrew Rotherham'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, 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, Tomorrow's Teachers: Evaluation Education Schools, 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, ed. Marci Kanstoroom and Chester E. Finn. Jr. (Washington, D.C.: Thomas B. Fordham Foundation, 1999), 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.