2017 General Teacher Preparation Policy
The state should require teacher preparation programs to admit only candidates with strong academic records and support programs to encourage greater numbers of qualified individuals of color to become teachers. The bar for this goal was raised in 2017.
GPA/Testing Requirement: New York does not ensure that undergraduate teacher preparation programs admit only candidates with strong academic backgrounds. The state does not require a minimum GPA for admission to teacher preparation programs.
New York does not require aspiring teachers to pass a test of academic proficiency at the time of admission for undergraduate teacher preparation programs. Rather, the state delays its basic skills assessment until candidates are ready to apply for licensure.
Additional Requirements: New York requires all teacher preparation programs to obtain CAEP accreditation. Unfortunately, CAEP standards were weakened by the decision to allow programs to delay verifying their students' academic ability until graduation, rather than at the time of admission.
Graduate Admission Requirements: New York requires individual candidates to obtain a GPA of 3.0 for admission into a graduate teacher preparation program. The state also requires candidates to obtain a minimum score on the GRE to qualify for admission. Graduate-level educator preparation programs may waive these admissions requirements for up to 15 percent of students admitted based on the candidates' "demonstration of potential to positively contribute to the teaching...profession."
Diversity Programs: New York is implementing programs designed to increase the diversity of its teacher candidates. The state funds and administers the Teacher Opportunity Corp program that gives grants to higher education institutions to help in the preparation of more diverse teachers. Additionally, The New York State Education Department (NYSED) awarded grants to several organizations for one of the My Brother's Keeper (MBK) Initiatives, the Teacher Opportunity Corps II (TOC). TOC II extends the original TOC grant by $3 million and is designed to increase the participation rate of historically underrepresented and economically disadvantaged individuals in teaching careers. Specifically, 16 colleges and universities received grants to help them bolster the retention of highly qualified individuals who value equity and reflect the diversity of the student population, particularly in high-need schools with recurring teacher shortages.
Commissioner's Regulations Part 52.21(b)(2)(iv)(c) Requirement of CAEP information: http://www.highered.nysed.gov/ocue/accred/Edprogramaccred.html Testing Requirements information: http://www.highered.nysed.gov/tcert/certificate/certexam.html Laws of New York Title I, Article 5 Section 210-a Teacher Opportunity Corp http://www.highered.nysed.gov/kiap/toc/documents/tocfactsheet.pdf The Teacher Opportunity Corps II (TOC)/My Brother’s Keeper Initiative: http://www.nysed.gov/news/2016/state-education-department-awards-10-million-my-brothers-keepergrants-mbk-challenge-grant http://www.nysed.gov/mbk/schools/my-brothers-keeper
Require that teacher preparation programs screen candidates for academic proficiency prior to admission to undergraduate preparation programs.
Teacher preparation programs that do not screen candidates invest considerable resources in individuals who may not be able to successfully complete the program, pass licensing tests, and ultimately succeed in the classroom. Candidates in need of additional support should complete remediation before entering the program to avoid the possibility of an unsuccessful investment of significant public resources. New York should require candidates seeking admission to an undergraduate program to meet the same basic requirements as candidates seeking admission to a New York graduate preparation program — a 3.0 individual GPA and passing a grade on a test of academic proficiency, such as the SAT or ACT, that is normed to the general college-going population and assesses reading, mathematics, and writing.
Consider requiring candidates to pass subject-matter tests as a condition of admission into teacher programs.
In addition to ensuring that programs require a measure of academic performance for admission, New York may also consider requiring subject-matter testing prior to program admission, rather than at the point of program completion. Doing so would provide candidates lacking sufficient subject-matter expertise with an opportunity to remedy deficits prior to entering formal preparation.
New York was helpful in providing NCTQ with facts that enhanced this analysis. The state also affirmed that graduate preparation programs have GPA and testing requirements that do not apply to undergraduate programs.
1A: Program Entry
Evidence is strong that countries whose students consistently outperform U.S. students set a much higher bar for entry to teacher preparation programs than what is typically found in the United States. Far from the top third or even top tenth to which more selective countries limit candidates, most states do not even aim for the top 50 percent. Previous analysis has shown that many states do not require that preparation programs evaluate candidates' academic proficiency as a condition of admission to teacher preparation at all; most others set a low bar by requiring basic skills tests that generally assess middle school-level skills or by requiring a minimum GPA, but too few demand at least a 3.0.
In addition to the low skill level tested by current basic skills tests (e.g., the Praxis Core), another concern is that they are normed only to the prospective teacher population, which does not allow for comparability between prospective teachers and the entire college-bound population. Tests normed to the general college-bound population would shine a clearer light on the academic proficiency of those admitted to teacher preparation programs and allow programs to be truly selective.
While a positive start, CAEP standards are no substitute for states' own policies. CAEP's standards require that the group average performance on nationally normed ability assessments such as ACT, SAT, or GRE be in the top 50th percentile. However, CAEP allows programs the unnecessary freedom to determine whether the minimum criteria will be measured prior to admissions or at some point during the program. Clear state admission policies would send an unequivocal message to programs about the state's expectations for high admissions standards.
Research is clear about the positive effects of teachers with stronger academic backgrounds on student achievement. Higher teacher selectivity, as measured by factors such as SAT/ACT scores, GPA prior to program admission, and an institute of higher education's (IHE) general competitiveness or selectivity, has a significant, positive correlation with student achievement. Some studies support higher academic admissions standards for entry into TPPs, including studies showing a relationship between student achievement and teachers' verbal ability or selectivity of the teachers' college. Although research supports applying greater selectivity when admitting teacher candidates, some recent work has found no correlation between teachers' scores on tests normed to the general college-bound population (e.g., SAT, ACT) or IHE selectivity and student achievement.
States should support increased diversity in the teacher pipeline, in addition to maintaining high admissions standards for teacher preparation programs. Recent data show that 49 percent of students in the US were students of color, while only 17 percent of teachers were teachers of color. Twenty-eight states had gaps between the percentage of students and educators of color that were greater than 25 percentage points. A growing body of research suggests that students of color—students who often face the largest achievement gaps—benefit from having same-race teachers. Exposure to same-race teachers positively benefits student achievement, teachers' expectations and perceptions of students, teachers' assessments and perceptions of student behavior, students' rates of suspension and expulsion, students' assignment to Gifted and Talented programs, and students' perceptions of teachers. Some research suggests that teachers of the same race as their students are more likely to reduce high-school dropout rates as well as increase student attendance and college attendance intent, and improve discipline. Moreover, white students report that they favor teachers of color.