Program Reporting Requirements: Tennessee

Teacher Preparation Policy

Goal

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.

Nearly meets
Suggested Citation:
National Council on Teacher Quality. (2021). Program Reporting Requirements: Tennessee results. State Teacher Policy Database. [Data set].
Retrieved from: https://www.nctq.org/yearbook/state/TN-Program-Reporting-Requirements-89

Analysis of Tennessee's policies

Minimum Standards of Performance: Tennessee requires programs to produce Annual Reports describing program performance in five domains (candidate recruitment and selection; employment and retention; candidate assessment; completer partner and employer satisfaction; and completer effectiveness and impact). Minimum standards of performance (expectations) are established for each domain and programs are rated on each domain. Examples of minimum standards of performance include:

  • Average undergraduate GPA is a 3.0 or higher
  • Eighy-five percent of completers are employed for at least two years
  • Ninety percent of completers pass the required literacy assessment within two attempts
  • Ninety percent of completers pass the required content assessments within two attempts
  • Eighty-five percent of completers have effectiveness ratings at level 3 or higher.
Program Accountability: Tennessee holds programs accountable for meeting minimum standards of performance for each domain in the Annual Reports. Programs must meet expectations in three of four domains in order for the program to meet expectations overall. Programs that perform below expectations on the annual report for two consecutive years receive a state-managed interim review. If the program does not make sufficient progress on an improvement plan,  " the Department may make a recommendation for approval status change, including denial of approval, to the State Board."

Additionally, programs having 30% or more of its candidates failing licensing assessments are placed on probationary status. Programs having 30% or more of its candidates failing licensing assessments for two consecutive years shall have its approval revoked.

State Report Cards: The Tennessee State Board of Education requires the Tennessee Department of Education to produce annual report cards. Programs receive points in the report cards based on their performance in the following domains: candidate profile, employment, and provider impact. The points result in a rating of exceeds or meets standards, or fails to meet expectations on these standards.These report cards are used for public reporting only, and the points and performance categories on the report card are separate from the program approval process.

Program Approval Process: Tennessee allows overlap of national accreditation and state approval. Tennessee allows preparation programs the option of obtaining state-managed comprehensive review or a comprehensive review managed by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP). Although programs that opt for a CAEP comprehensive review, are still issued final approval ratings by the state, the CAEP review findings are the sole basis for continuing program approval. Additionally, all programs must meet CAEP standards to be approved regardless of which organization completes the program review.

Citation

Recommendations for Tennessee

Maintain full authority over the process for approving teacher preparation programs.
Tennessee should not cede any of its approval authority to another accrediting body; instead, the state should ensure that it is the entity that directly considers all the evidence of program performance and makes the final determination of whether programs should continue to be authorized to prepare teachers.

State response to our analysis

Tennessee was helpful in providing NCTQ with facts that necessary for this analysis.

Updated: March 2021

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 have articulated consequences for programs failing to meet minimum standards of performance or other program review criteria and should require specific steps to develop a remediation plan. Program accountability should include the possibility of the loss of program approval.
  • Annual Reporting: The state should publish an annual report card that provides data collected for each individual teacher preparation program as part of the program approval process or the report card provides data that indicates the quality of preparation provided by an institution or program (e.g. licensure pass rates, teaching effectiveness of program graduates, employer satisfaction survey data).
  • 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, and 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 data collected as part of the state's program approval process of individual teacher preparation programs on an annual basis or, the state will earn one-quarter of a point if it publishes data that indicates the quality of preparation provided by an institution or program (e.g. licensure pass rates, teaching effectiveness of program graduates, employer satisfaction survey data) 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 https://www.nctq.org/nctq/research/1109818629821.pdf
[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 http://www.nctq.org/teacherPrep/2016/home.do
[3] Walsh, K., & Jacobs, S. (2007). Alternative certification isn't alternative. Thomas B. Fordham Institute. Retrieved from
http://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED498382.pdf

[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 https://www2.ed.gov/about/reports/annual/teachprep/t2r7.pdf
[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 http://www.edexcellence.net/sites/default/files/publication/pdfs/btrtchrs_10.pdf; 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 http://www.nctq.org/dmsView/No_Common_Denominator_NCTQ_Report; 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 http://www.nctq.org/dmsView/What_Ed_Schools_Arent_Teaching_About_Reading_NCTQ_Report
[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 http://www.nctq.org/dmsView/Admissions_Yearbook_Report