2011 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.
Pennsylvania'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, Pennsylvania 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. Pennsylvania requires that programs "demonstrate how information from systematic evaluations of their programs, including students and educator evaluators, and achievement levels of candidates for certification in the Department-designed assessment program are used for continual program improvement." However, these data are not collected for alternate route programs.
The state also collects programs' annual summary licensure test pass rates (80 percent of program completers must pass their licensure exams). Regrettably, 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, Pennsylvania's website does not include a report card that allows the public to review and compare program performance.
Pennsylvania Code Title 22 Chapter 49.14 Title II State Reports https://title2.ed.gov
Collect data that connect student achievement gains to teacher preparation programs.
To ensure that programs are producing effective classroom teachers, Pennsylvania 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, Pennsylvania 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.
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.
To inform the public with meaningful, readily understandable indicators of how well programs are doing, Pennsylvania should present all the data it collects on individual teacher preparation programs.
Pennsylvania recognized the factual accuracy of this analysis.