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: South Carolina does not require programs to collect meaningful data, and therefore does not set minimum standards of performance for these data.
Program Accountability: Although South Carolina does not set minimum standards of performance, the state does delineate consequences, including revoking accreditation. South Carolina has accreditation ratings based on the extent to which programs meet the state's standards. The ratings range from "accreditation for seven years" if all standards are met, to "revoke accreditation" for programs where "one or more standards are not met and the preponderance of evidence indicates problems across multiple standards by an institution seeking to continue accreditation." However, the standards on which accountability outcomes are based are not necessarily performance-based criteria with clearly stated minimum thresholds.
State Report Cards: South Carolina does not produce and publish an annual report card that shows all the data the state collects on individual teacher preparation programs.
Program Approval Process: South Carolina maintains full authority over teacher preparation program approval. Although the state requires that programs be nationally accredited, and meet state standards 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."
Establish the minimum standards of performance for each category of data.
South Carolina should establish precise minimum standards for teacher preparation program performance for each category of data it collects to help clarify expectations regarding program quality.
Ensure program accountability decisions are based on minimum standards of performance.
While South Carolina 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 South Carolina 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, 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.
South Carolina did not respond to NCTQ's request to review this analysis for accuracy.
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.