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.
Rhode Island'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, Rhode Island does not collect value-added data that connect student achievement gains to teacher preparation programs.
However, Rhode Island does rely on some objective, meaningful data to measure the performance of teacher preparation programs. The state requires that programs "engage in regular and systematic evaluations (including, but not limited to, information obtained through student assessment, and collection of data from students, recent graduates, and other members of the professional community)." Regrettably, Rhode Island does not apply any transparent, measurable criteria for conferring program approval.
Further, there is no evidence that the state's standards for program approval are resulting in greater accountability. In the past three years, no programs in the state have been identified in required federal reporting as low performing.
Commendably, Rhode Island makes its findings available by posting the data and program grades on its website.
According to the state's winning Race to the Top application, Rhode Island plans to integrate its new evaluation system with its longitudinal data system to link teachers' impact on student growth to preparation programs, and will use these data to support improvement or close programs that do not produce effective teachers.The state has also articulated that it will use RttT funds to create publicly available educator preparation program report cards, which will include information on the impact of graduates on student growth and academic achievement. However, there is no evidence to date of specific policy to support these plans.
Approval Guidelines, Standard 6 http://www.ride.ri.gov/EducatorQuality/Teacher_Prep/Round%203%20Guidelines%20Final%2001-08-09.pdf http://www.ride.ri.gov/EducatorQuality/Teacher_Prep/Standards%20for%20Alternate%20Route%20to%20Certification%20Programs%20FINAL%20BoR%20Adopted.pdf Title II State Reports https://title2.ed.gov Report Card http://www.ride.ri.gov/EducatorQuality/Teacher_Prep/default.aspx Race to the Top Application http://www2.ed.gov/programs/racetothetop/phase2-applications/rhode-island.pdf
Collect data that connect student achievement gains to teacher preparation programs.
To ensure that programs are producing effective classroom teachers, Rhode Island should consider academic achievement gains of students taught by the programs' graduates, averaged over the first three years of teaching. Although the state has commendably outlined its intentions in its RttT application, to ensure that preparation programs are held accountable, it is urged to codify these requirements.
Gather other meaningful data that reflect program performance.
Although Rhode Island relies on some objective, meaningful data to measure the performance of teacher preparation programs, the state should expand its requirements to include other metrics such as 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; 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.
Rhode Island noted that its scope of work for Race to the Top commits the state to linking graduate performance and student achievement data to the program approval process. The evaluation system launches in 2011-12, with the policy work around preparation beginning that same year.
Rhode Island also asserted that its list of required evidence to be provided by programs is very transparent, and includes both qualitative and quantitative evidence. The state further contended that the only measure of accountability is not a federal designation of low performing, and pointed out that it is one of the only states that does not issue a standard approval of five or seven years. Programs receive a range of approvals from zero to five years, and only three programs in five years have received a five-year approval. One program has been notified that it is at risk of being low performing. "Improvement at this point may not be statistically quantifiable, but it is evident across visits and reports."