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: Virginia does not set meaningful minimum standards of performance for the categories of data that programs must report. The state does require a summary pass rate on state licensure examinations of 80 percent for candidates completing or exiting the program. This 80 percent pass-rate standard, while common among states, sets the bar quite low and is not a meaningful measure of program performance. The state also requires "evidence of contributions to preK-12 student achievement by candidates completing the program," although not all data that can be used to meet this evidence is objective. The state also requires evidence of employer satisfaction through surveys.
Program Accountability: Virginia articulates consequences for programs that fail to meet specific criteria, although the 80 percent pass rate is not a meaningful minimum standard. Program approval is denied if programs 1) are not accredited either by a national accreditation body or by the Board of Education and 2) do not meet the 80 percent pass rate threshold.
State Report Cards: Virginia 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: Virginia maintains full authority over the teacher preparation program approval process. While programs in Virginia must have national accreditation or be accredited by a process approved by the Virginia Board of Education, this alone does not guarantee program approval. The Board of Education requires program approval biennially.
Establish the higher minimum standards of performance for each category of data.
Virginia should be mindful of setting rigorous standards for program performance, as its current requirement that 80 percent of program completers must pass their licensing exams is too low a bar.
Publish an annual report card on the state's website.
Virginia should continue to work toward producing an annual report card that clearly displays program-level data the state collects on individual teacher preparation programs. This report card should be publicly available on the state's website, at a minimum. Data should be presented in a manner that transparently conveys whether programs have met performance standards.
Virginia was helpful in providing NCTQ with the facts necessary for this analysis.
The state also added that endorsement programs are reviewed by content specialists, and that the seven-year onsite review includes a comprehensive review of the programs.
Virginia noted that an annual report card that shows all the data the state collects on individual teacher preparation programs is a requirement in proposed regulations, which are in the final stages of the Administrative Process Act.
NCTQ looks forward to reviewing the state's progress in future editions of the Yearbook.
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.