Teacher Preparation Program Accountability :
Nevada

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.

Meets in part
Suggested Citation:
National Council on Teacher Quality. (2011). Teacher Preparation Program Accountability : Nevada results. State Teacher Policy Database. [Data set].
Retrieved from: https://www.nctq.org/yearbook/state/NV-Teacher-Preparation-Program-Accountability--6

Analysis of Nevada's policies

Nevada's approval process for its traditional and alternate route teacher preparation programs could do more to hold programs accountable for the quality of the teachers they produce.

Most importantly, Nevada does not collect value-added data that connect student achievement gains to teacher preparation programs.

The state does rely on some other objective, meaningful data to measure the performance of its traditional teacher preparation programs. Nevada has set minimum standards for traditional program performance; failure to meet those standards precipitates action by the Board of Education that may result in a program losing state approval. The Board reviews any program that reports fewer than 95 percent of its teacher candidates passing their licensure tests, or if school districts report that more than 5 percent of program graduates newly hired by districts are dismissed or not rehired. This 95 percent standard is among the highest in the nation, with most states setting the pass-rate standard at 80 percent.

Nevada also requires each teacher preparation program to submit an annual report, although it is not clear how the information gained from these reports contributes to the program approval process. The report must include:

  • The annual accountability report submitted by the institution to the federal government;
  • Information regarding the types of teaching positions program graduates have attained;
  • A satisfaction survey that asks program graduates and principals to give their view on the quality of a program's preparation; and
  • A plan for improvement based upon these findings.
However, the state does not collect this 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 Nevada have been identified in required federal reporting as low performing.

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

Citation

Recommendations for Nevada

Collect data that connect student achievement gains to teacher preparation programs.
To ensure that programs are producing effective classroom teachers, Nevada 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, Nevada 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.

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, Nevada should present all the data it collects on individual teacher preparation programs.  

Establish the minimum standard of performance for each category of data for all teacher preparation programs.
Nevada is commended for setting standards for performance for its traditional teacher preparation programs. The state should apply such standards to its alternate route programs, which should also be held accountable for meeting established standards and face articulated consequences for failing to do so, including loss of program approval after appropriate due process.

Ensure that criteria for program approval result in greater accountability.
Nevada has taken more steps than many states to develop an accountability system for teacher preparation programs. The state should ensure that its system is sufficient to differentiate program performance and that follow-up actions are taken as warranted.   

State response to our analysis

Nevada recognized the factual accuracy of this analysis. 

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.