Teacher Preparation Program Accountability :
Texas

2011 Delivering Well Prepared Teachers Policy

Goal

The state's approval process for teacher preparation programs should hold programs accountable for the quality of the teachers they produce.

Nearly meets
Suggested Citation:
National Council on Teacher Quality. (2011). Teacher Preparation Program Accountability : Texas results. State Teacher Policy Database. [Data set].
Retrieved from: https://www.nctq.org/yearbook/state/TX-Teacher-Preparation-Program-Accountability--6

Analysis of Texas's policies

Texas's approval process for its traditional and alternate route teacher preparation programs could do more to hold programs accountable for the quality of the teachers they produce.

Commendably, to measure the performance of its teacher preparation programs, Texas requires that programs provide student achievement data regarding the academic achievement gains of students taught by the programs' graduates, averaged over the first three years of teaching.

The state also relies on other objective, meaningful data to measure the performance of teacher preparation programs. Texas collects data on certification examinations; to calculate pass rates, it divides the number of successful last attempts made by candidates who have finished the program requirements by the total number of last attempts made by those candidates. It also gathers information regarding beginning teacher performance, as measured by the results of beginning teacher appraisals by school administrators. Texas also offers ongoing support by field supervisors to beginning teachers during their first year in the classroom. 

Regrettably, however, Texas fails to apply any transparent, measurable criteria for conferring program approval.

Finally, Texas also requires all programs to post an annual report on the state's website that includes satisfaction data, completer and employer surveys, average entrance exam scores for program participants, average GPA of participants, percentage of program participants obtaining teaching positions and three-year retention rates.

Citation

Recommendations for Texas

Establish the minimum standard of performance for each category of data.
Programs should be held accountable for meeting established standards of performance, with articulated consequences for failing to do so, including loss of program approval after appropriate due process. 

State response to our analysis

Texas asserted that it has established four standards for accreditation of educator preparation programs: results of certification exam pass rates; beginning teacher performance as reported by principals; achievement, including improvement in achievement, of students taught by teachers in their first three years; and compliance with SBEC rules regarding the frequency, duration and quality of field supervision of first-year teachers.

Based on these criteria, preparation programs are issued an accreditation status. Further, Texas has developed the Consumer Information Website to assist future candidates in the selection of preparation programs as well as districts with staffing decisions. It provides information indicating the quality of persons admitted to the program, along with average academic qualifications. 

Texas also noted that it has a process for approving new preparation programs that is formalized, transparent and requires measurable criteria, and that all requirements must be met prior to approval.

The state added that in September 2010, it contracted with the Project on Educator Effectiveness and Quality (PEEQ) to develop a metric that measures a teacher's effect on student achievement. "The objective is to assess the performance of new teachers in their first three years in the classroom and provide feedback to educator preparation programs, teachers and policymakers that will improve the quality of teaching and enhance student learning in Texas." PEEQ is developing a comprehensive assessment of a teacher's effectiveness that will consist of a value-added component and other qualitative measures, such as a principal survey based on classroom observations. A pilot metric is expected to be available in March 2012. 

Finally, Texas pointed out that it has established the teacher-to-student link in the Public Information Management System (PEIMS), and in October 2011, these data will be used to link student scores to teachers. 

How we graded

States need to hold programs accountable for the quality of their graduates.

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 can be used to provide objective evidence of the performance of teacher preparation programs. States should make such data, as well as other objective measures that go beyond licensure pass rates, a central component of their teacher preparation program approval processes, and they should establish precise standards for performance that are more useful for accountability purposes. 

Research rationale

For discussion of teacher preparation program approval see Andrew Rotherham's chapter "Back to the Future: The History and Politics of State Teacher Licensure and Certification." in A Qualified Teacher in Every Classroom. (Harvard Education Press, 2004).

For evidence of how weak state efforts to hold teacher preparation programs accountable are, see data on programs identified as low-performing in the U.S. Department of Education, Secretary's Seventh Annual Report on Teacher Quality 2010 at:
http://www2.ed.gov/about/reports/annual/teachprep/t2r7.pdf 

For additional discussion and research of how teacher education programs can add value to their teachers, see NCTQ, Tomorrow's Teachers: Evaluation Education Schools, available at http://www.nctq.org/p/edschools.

For a discussion of the lack of evidence that national accreditation status enhances teacher preparation programs' effectiveness, see D. Ballou and M. Podgursky, "Teacher Training and Licensure: A Layman's Guide," in Better Teachers, Better Schools, ed. Marci Kanstoroom and Chester E. Finn. Jr. (Washington, D.C.: Thomas B. Fordham Foundation, 1999), 45-47. See also No Common Denominator: The Preparation of Elementary Teachers in Mathematics by America's Education Schools (NCTQ, 2008) and What Education Schools Aren't Teaching About Reading and What Elementary Teachers Aren't Learning (NCTQ, 2006).

See NCTQ, Alternative Certification Isn't Alternative (2007) regarding the dearth of accountability data states require of alternate route programs.