The state's approval process for teacher preparation programs should hold programs accountable for the quality of the teachers they produce.
Virginia's approval process for its traditional and alternate route teacher preparation programs does not hold programs accountable for the quality of the teachers they produce.
Virginia requires "evidence of contributions to preK-12 student achievement by candidates completing the program." However, the state then articulates that one required indicator of the achievement of this standard is evidence of the ability to affect student learning, "through the use of multiple sources of data such as a culminating experience, portfolios, interviews, videotaped and observed performance in schools, standardized tests, and course grades." Regrettably, this does not ensure that objective evidence of student achievement will be utilized to connect student achievement gains to preparation programs.
The state relies on some other objective, meaningful data to measure the performance of traditional teacher preparation programs, but not its alternate route programs. It requires evidence of employer job satisfaction with program completers. "The indicator of the achievement of this standard shall include documentation that the education program has two years of evidence regarding candidate performance based on employer surveys." However, these data are not collected for alternate route programs.
In addition, Virginia collects programs' annual summary licensure test pass rates and requires that 80 percent of program completers and exiters pass their licensure exams. However, the 80 percent pass-rate standard sets the bar quite low and is not a meaningful measure of program performance.
Further, there is no evidence that the state's standards for program approval are resulting in greater accountability. In the past three years, no programs in Virginia have been identified in required federal reporting as low performing.
Finally, Virginia's website does not include a report card that allows the public to review and compare program performance.
Virginia Administrative Code, 8 VAC 20-542-40 8 VAC 20-22-90 Title II State Reports https://title2.ed.gov
Collect data that connect student achievement gains to teacher preparation programs.
To ensure that programs are producing effective classroom teachers, Virginia should consider academic achievement gains of students taught by the programs' graduates, averaged over the first three years of teaching.
Gather other meaningful data that reflect program performance.
In addition to knowing whether programs are producing effective teachers, other objective, meaningful data can also indicate whether programs are appropriately screening applicants and if they are delivering essential academic and professional knowledge. Building on the data the state currently collects for its traditional teacher preparation programs, Virginia should gather data for all teacher preparation programs, such as the following: average raw scores of graduates on licensing tests, including basic skills, subject matter and professional knowledge tests; satisfaction ratings by school principals and teacher supervisors of programs' student teachers, using a standardized form to permit program comparison; evaluation results from the first and/or second year of teaching; and five-year retention rates of graduates in the teaching profession.
Establish the minimum standard of performance for each category of data.
Programs should be held accountable for meeting these standards, with articulated consequences for failing to do so, including loss of program approval after appropriate due process.
Publish an annual report card on the state's website.
To inform the public with meaningful, readily understandable indicators of how well programs are doing, Virginia should present all the data it collects on individual teacher preparation programs.
Virginia asserted that colleges and universities are required to collect data on student performance, such as candidate test scores and employer satisfaction surveys, which are reviewed during accreditation reviews.
The state also contended that although there is no state report card, Title II and biennial-measures reports are publicly reported on the website.