Teacher Preparation Program Accountability :

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.

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

Analysis of Oklahoma's policies

Oklahoma'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, Oklahoma 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. Oklahoma collects programs' annual summary licensure test pass rates (80 percent of program completers must pass their licensure exams). However, the 80 percent pass-rate standard, while common among many states, sets the bar quite low and is not a meaningful measure of program performance.

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

Finally, Oklahoma's website does include a report card that allows the public to review and compare traditional teacher preparation program performance.


Recommendations for Oklahoma

Collect data that connect student achievement gains to teacher preparation programs.
To ensure that programs are producing effective classroom teachers, Oklahoma 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. Oklahoma 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 for all teacher preparation programs.
While Oklahoma is commended for including a report card on its website that allows the public to review and compare traditional teacher preparation programs, the state should do so for its alternate route as well.

State response to our analysis

Oklahoma asserted that since the fall of 2009, the Oklahoma Commission for Teacher Preparation (OCTP) has administered an independent survey to resident year teachers and their administrators in an effort to collect additional data on the effectiveness of teacher preparation. The contents of the survey are aligned with the Oklahoma General Competencies for Effective Teaching, and OCTP utilizes the survey to evaluate teacher preparedness in the first year of teaching. 

The state added that all teacher preparation programs in the state are evaluated using the six Oklahoma State Standards and 10 State Requirements.  

Oklahoma also noted that although no program in the state has been identified as low performing in the past three years, a number of institutions have been cited for "Areas for Improvement" during that time. Both the University of Tulsa and Southwestern Oklahoma State University have undergone focused Board of Examiners (BOE) site visits as a result of a finding by an initial team that one of the six state standards was not met. Both institutions were found to have addressed and corrected these specific deficiencies during the follow-up visits. 

Further, institutions also undergo review of each individual program offered, such as mathematics education, elementary education and art education. Any finding other than "Recognized" requires that the institution respond with revisions and/or further information, as specified by the review team. An Annual Report, which includes reports on each program in the state, is posted on the state's website, presented to the state legislature and provided to the public.  

Finally, Oklahoma pointed out that the Commission for Teacher Preparation must annually prepare a statistical report showing the percentage of students from each of the IHEs who have successfully completed or who have failed the competency examination for licensure and certification. 

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:

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.