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: Rhode Island has recently set and made public minimum standards of performance for programs. Program performance is compared to these standards during the accreditation process. The state could do more to make these standards more measurable.
Program Accountability: Rhode Island holds programs accountable for meeting minimum standards of performance. Programs are categorized into classifications based on their overall performance. A program's classification determines whether it must undertake future actions for improvement.
State Report Cards: Rhode Island publishes annual report cards, called the Educator Preparation Index, which show the data the state has collected on individual teacher preparation programs, including employment rates, retention rates, and effectiveness ratings.
Program Approval Process: Rhode Island maintains full authority over teacher preparation program approval. The state also conducts its own program reviews.
Program Approval Rubric http://www.ride.ri.gov/Portals/0/Uploads/Documents/Teachers-and-Administrators-Excellent-Educators/Educator-Certification/PrepRI/PREP-RI_PerformanceRubric.pdf Program Approval Process http://www.ride.ri.gov/Portals/0/Uploads/Documents/Teachers-and-Administrators-Excellent-Educators/Educator-Certification/PrepRI/PREP-RI_Process_Guide.pdf Educator Preparation Index http://www3.ride.ri.gov/RIEdPrepIndex/Default.aspx
As a result of Rhode Island's strong policies on reporting teacher preparation accountability data and holding preparation programs to meaningful standards based on data, no recommendations are provided.
Rhode Island 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.