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: Tennessee has set and made public minimum standards of performance for programs in the categories of candidate profile, employment, and provider impact. Program performance is compared to these standards in the annual Educator Preparation Program report cards. Programs receive points in the annual reports based on their performance against these standards.
Program Accountability: Tennessee holds programs accountable for meeting minimum standards of performance. Programs are categorized into performance categories based on their overall performance. The state mandates that programs meet established standards in order to achieve approval. Programs that do not meet one standard are denied accreditation and may not enroll new students.
State Report Cards: The Tennessee State Board of Education required the Tennessee Department of Education to produce annual reports that offer educator preparation providers detailed and disaggregated data, including placement, retention, candidate academic profile, completer effectiveness and satisfaction data, as well as employer satisfaction data (although data on satisfaction was not yet available in the current reports). The first of these reports were produced in March 2017. These report cards are used for public accountability purposes, and the points and performance categories on the report card are separate from the program approval process.
Program Approval Process: Tennessee maintains full authority over teacher preparation program approval. Programs may pursue optional national accreditation in addition to state approval, and all programs must meet Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) standards to be approved.
Tennessee Code 49-5-108(f) Report Cards http://teacherprepreportcard.tn.gov/ Tennessee Educator Preparation Policy https://tn.gov/assets/entities/sbe/attachments/5.504_Educator_Preparation_Policy_4-21-17.pdf
As a result of Tennessee's strong policies on reporting teacher preparation accountability data and holding preparation programs to meaningful standards based on data, no recommendations are provided.
Tennessee was helpful in providing NCTQ with facts that enhanced this analysis.
The state reiterated its approval process. Tennessee also added that the Tennessee Department of Education has convened a working group to establish clear expectations for the metrics and benchmarks that will be employed as a part of the program approval process.
The state also added that the next batch of state reports will be released in February 2018 and will include these new thresholds. In addition, Tennessee stated that it has been developing rubrics that are aligned with the CAEP standards, although these rubrics will not likely become a part of the policy.
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.