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 2021.
Minimum Standards of Performance: Pennsylvania does not set meaningful minimum standards of performance for the categories of data that programs must report.
Program Accountability: Although Pennsylvania does not set minimum standards of performance, Pennsylvania does delineate consequences, including denying approval, for programs that do not meet standards. Programs are measured against Program Framework Guidelines. However, it is unclear both how programs are measured objectively against these standards and at what point a program fails to meet minimum standards and therefore has its approval denied.
State Report Cards: Pennsylvania publishes annual reports showing the program licensure pass rates but does not include any other information.
Program Approval Process: Pennsylvania maintains full authority over teacher preparation program approval. The state also conducts its own program reviews.
Pennsylvania Code Title 22 Chapter 49.14; 354.12 and .22 Professional Educator Program Approval Major Review Handbook https://www.education.pa.gov/Documents/Teachers-Administrators/Certification%20Preparation%20Programs/Institutional%20Program%20Approval/Professional%20Educator%20Program%20Approval%20Major%20Review%20Handbook.pdf Program Framework Guidelines https://www.education.pa.gov/Educators/Certification/BecomeAnEducator/Pages/Program-Framework.aspx
Establish meaningful minimum standards of performance for each category of data.
Pennsylvania 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 current 80 percent pass rate standard is too low a bar to be meaningful.
Ensure program accountability decisions are based on minimum standards of performance.
While Pennsylvania has the structure of a program accountability system, including follow-up actions for programs failing to meet standards, it has not set minimum standards it can use to implement this accountability process. As Pennsylvania further develops its accountability system, it should ensure that the system is sufficient to differentiate performance among programs, including alternate route programs, and that it is clear at what point a program's approval will be revoked. For programs exceeding minimum standards, Pennsylvania should consider finding effective ways to disseminate best practices.
Publish an annual report card on the state's website.
While Pennsylvania has taken the step to make some data available though annual reports, it should publish reports that clearly display all program-level data the state collects on individual teacher preparation programs, disaggregated at the program-level, rather than at the level of the institution. Data should be presented in a manner that transparently conveys whether programs have met performance standards.
Pennsylvania recognized the factual accuracy of this analysis.
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.