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: New York does not set meaningful minimum standards of performance for the data that programs must report. The state does require a summary pass rate on state licensure examinations of 80 percent. This 80 percent pass rate standard, while common among states, sets the bar quite low and is not a meaningful measure of program performance. New York also states in regulation that the state will suspend a graduate-level program's ability to admit new students if less than 50 percent of program completers pass their licensure exams over a three-year period.
Program Accountability: As a result of the lack of meaningful minimum standards of performance, New York does not articulate consequences for programs that fail to meet specific criteria. Starting in 2017-2018, the department will conduct a program review if less than 80 percent of program completers fail a certification examination. The institution will have to submit a corrective action plan to be approved by the department, the effectiveness of which will be assessed within three years. The program will be "subject to denial of re-registration" if the department does not approve the plan or determines that the institution is not meeting the terms of the plan, and the department determines that the institution is not meeting other requirements.
State Report Cards: New York does not produce and publish an annual report card that shows all the data, the state collects on individual teacher preparation programs. The state does have a website that could be used to report such data but there is currently no data available.
Program Approval Process: New York does not maintain full authority over the teacher preparation program approval process. Instead, the state requires programs to obtain Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) accreditation in order to receive state accreditation.
Regulations of the Commissioner of Education 8.II.A.52.21 2015 Laws of New York, Chapter 56, Section 210-b Higher education data reports http://data.nysed.gov/lists.php?type=higher Accreditation of Teacher Education Programs http://www.highered.nysed.gov/ocue/accred/Edprogramaccred.html
Establish meaningful minimum standards of performance for each category of data.
New York should establish precise minimum standards for teacher preparation program performance for each category of data it collects to help clarify expectations regarding program quality. The standards the state sets for pass rates are too low to be meaningful.
Publish an annual report card on the state's website.
New York 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.
Maintain full authority over the process for approving teacher preparation programs.
New York should not cede its approval authority to another accrediting body; instead, the state should ensure that it is the entity that directly considers the evidence of program performance and makes the final determination of whether programs should continue to be authorized to prepare teachers.
New York provided NCTQ with the facts necessary for this analysis.
New York also added that that although it requires all programs to be accredited per Section 52.21, the state retains full authority over the registration and approval of teacher preparation programs, ceding none of its authority to accrediting bodies.
The state also provided that NCTQ's premise that an 80 percent pass rate standard is common among states and sets a low bar is a poor construct and indicates that NCTQ does not think highly about the development of this tool. As any high school student would point out, a "good" or "bad" pass rate is a direct function of the difficulty of the assessment. Without evidence of the rigor of the assessment, data regarding the pass rate are virtually meaningless.
NCTQ appreciates New York's thoughtful response and agrees that, in part, the strength of pass rate standards are a function of the difficultly of the assessment. In the absence of evidence that teachers who pass this test significantly outperform those who do not, we contend that 80 percents is insufficiently rigorous to distinguish between those candidates who will be effective teachers and those who will not.
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.