Program Reporting Requirements: South

2017 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.

Meets in part

Analysis of South Carolina's policies

Minimum Standards of Performance: South Carolina has set some meaningful minimum standards of performance for the categories of data that programs must report. The state requires that institutions have at least a 95 percent pass rate for the Assisting, Developing, and Evaluating Professional Teaching (ADEPT) evaluation results of program completers. South Carolina also requires a summary pass rate on state licensure examinations of 80 percent. This 80 percent pass-rate standard, while common among states, sets the bar quite low and is not a meaningful measure of program performance.

Program Accountability: South Carolina has taken some steps to hold programs accountable for meeting minimum standards of performance but it could do more. Programs are categorized as "At Risk" or "Low Performing" based on their performance, but the state has not clearly articulated consequences for receiving these designations.

State Report Cards: South Carolina has a website for publishing fact sheets that include data collected on individual teacher preparation programs, but as of fall 2017 the website is not currently populated with information.

Program Approval Process: South Carolina maintains full authority over teacher preparation program approval. Although the state requires that programs be nationally accreditated in order to receive approval, "statutory authority to determine accreditation decisions for and impose sanctions against teacher education programs is granted to the State Board of Education." 


Recommendations for South Carolina

Ensure that criteria for program approval result in greater accountability.
South Carolina should ensure that programs are held accountable for meeting minimum standards of performance, and that the state's accountability system is sufficient to differentiate performance among programs, including alternate route programs. The state should establish clear follow-up actions for programs failing to meet these standards, including remediation or loss of program approval as appropriate, rather than leaving consequences for "At Risk" and "Low Performing" programs vague. For programs exceeding minimum standards, South Carolina should consider finding effective ways to disseminate best practices.

Publish an annual report card on the state's website.
South Carolina should populate its program fact sheet website with information that clearly displays program-level data the state collects on individual teacher preparation programs. Data should be presented in a manner that transparently conveys whether programs have met performance standards.

State response to our analysis

South Carolina provided NCTQ with the facts necessary for this analysis. 

The state also added that through a partnership with NTEP, it is developing updated guidelines for its educator preparation programs, and that these draft guidelines have been posted for public comment and are slated for additional development, review, and approval by the State Board of Education in fall 2017.

Updated: December 2017

Last word

NCTQ looks forward to reviewing the state's progress in future editions of the Yearbook.

How we graded

1D: Program Reporting Requirements 

  • Minimum Standards: The state should establish a minimum standard of performance for each category of data that is collected.
  • Articulated Consequences for Failure to Meet Minimum Standards: The state should hold teacher preparation programs accountable for meeting minimum standards of performance. As such, the state should have articulated consequences for programs failing to meet these standards and should require specific steps to develop a remediation plan. This may include on-site program inspection by qualified external bodies that may lead to loss of program approval.
  • Annual Reporting: The state should produce and publish an annual report card that provides all of the collected data for each individual teacher preparation program.
  • Approval Authority: The state should retain full authority over its process approving teacher preparation programs and should not grant any approval authority to accrediting bodies.
Minimum Standards
One-quarter of the total goal score is earned based on the following:

  • One-quarter credit: The state will earn one-quarter of a point if minimum standards of performance are set for each category of data the teacher preparation programs are required to report.
Articulated Consequences for Failure to Meet Minimum Standards
One-quarter of the total goal score is earned based on the following:

  • One-quarter credit: The state will earn one-quarter of a point if it holds teacher preparation programs accountable for meeting the minimum standards of performance, and if it clearly articulates the consequences for failing to meet the minimum standards, which may include loss of program approval.
Annual Reporting
One-quarter of the total goal score is earned based on the following:

  • One-quarter credit: The state will earn one-quarter of a point if it publishes all collected data on individual teacher preparation programs on an annual basis. 
Approval Authority
One-quarter of the total goal score is earned based on the following:

  • One-quarter credit: The state will earn one-quarter of a point if it retains full authority over the process for approving teacher preparation programs.

Research rationale

The state should examine a number of factors when measuring the performance of and approving teacher preparation programs.[1] 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.[2]

States have made great strides in building data systems with the capacity to provide evidence of teacher performance.[3] 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.[4]

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.[5] Clear state policy would eliminate this uncertainty and send an unequivocal message to programs about the state's expectations.[6]

[1] For general information about teacher preparation program approval see Rotherham, A. J., & Mead, S. (2004). Back to the future: The history and politics of state teacher licensure and certification. In F. Hess, A. J. Rotherham, & K. Walsh (Eds.), A qualified teacher in every classroom (11-47). Cambridge, MA: Harvard Education Press. Retrieved from
[2] For additional discussion and research of how teacher education programs can add value to their teachers, see National Council on Teacher Quality. (2017). Teacher Prep Review. Retrieved from
[3] Walsh, K., & Jacobs, S. (2007). Alternative certification isn't alternative. Thomas B. Fordham Institute. Retrieved from

[4] For additional research on the status of teacher quality and the strengths and weaknesses of accreditation programs and policies in the U.S., see: U.S. Department of Education, Office of Postsecondary Education. (2010). The secretary's seventh annual report on teacher quality: A highly qualified teacher in every classroom. Retrieved from
[5] For a discussion of the lack of evidence that national accreditation status enhances teacher preparation programs' effectiveness, see: Ballou, D., & Podgursky, M. (1999, July). Teacher training and licensure: A layman's guide. Marci Kanstoroom and Chester E. Finn., Jr. (eds.), In Better teachers, better schools (pp. 45-47). Washington, DC: Thomas B. Fordham Foundation. Retrieved from; Greenberg, J., & Walsh, K. (2008, June). No common denominator: The preparation of elementary teachers in mathematics by America's education schools. Washington, DC: National Council on Teacher Quality. Retrieved from; Walsh, K., Glaser, D., & Wilcox, D. (2006, May). What education schools aren't teaching about reading and what elementary teachers aren't learning. Washington, DC: National Council on Teacher Quality. Retrieved from
[6] See Walsh, K., Joseph, N., & Lewis, A. (2016, November). Within our grasp: Achieving higher admissions standards in teacher prep. 2016 State Teacher Policy Yearbook Report Series. Retrieved from