General Teacher Preparation Policy
The state should collect and publicly report key data on the quality of teacher preparation programs. This goal was reorganized in 2017.
Student Growth Data: Utah does not publicly report data that connect student growth to teacher preparation programs, although it does collect data that would make such a connection possible.
Additional Program Data: Utah collects other objective, meaningful data on teachers that could be used to measure the performance of teacher preparation programs. However, the state is not currently analyzing these data to gauge the performance of its preparation programs.
Utah Board Rule R277-503-4
Analyze data in order to connect student growth to teacher preparation programs, when those programs are large enough for the data to be meaningful and reliable.
In addition to collecting student achievement data, Utah should consider connecting these data to teachers and their preparation programs by analyzing and reporting the academic achievement gains of students taught by programs' graduates, averaged over the first three years of teaching, when the programs produce enough graduates for those data to be meaningful and reliable. Data that are aggregated at the institution level (e.g., combining elementary and secondary programs), rather than disaggregated by the specific preparation program, have less utility for accountability and continuous improvement purposes than more specific data because institution-level data aggregation can mask significant differences in performance among programs.
Analyze meaningful data, other than student growth, that reflect program performance.
Although measures of student growth are an important indicator of program effectiveness, the strongest state systems ensure that data are collected on multiple, objective program measures. This is important so that educator preparation programs can be linked to and held accountable for the quality of teachers they produce. Utah should maximize the information available to programs and the public by analyzing, rather than merely collecting, data that demonstrate how well programs are preparing teachers for the classroom, such as:
Utah provided NCTQ with the facts necessary for this analysis.
In addition, Utah provided that it collects data regarding the licensure and preparation of its teachers in its Comprehensive Administration of Credentials for Teachers in Utah Schools (CACTUS) data system. The state also provided that it collects student achievement data in its Utah eTranscript and Record Exchange (UTREx) system. This student achievement data in the UTREx system is connected to specific classes and therefore to the teacher of record for those classes who in turn is linked to a preparation program in the CACTUS system. However, Utah provided that the state board has chosen not to analyze nor publicize these student performance data, because these data, regardless of state, are limited to a small number of tested subjects.
1C: Program Performance Measures
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.