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.
Minimum Standards of Performance: Wisconsin does not set minimum standards of performance for the data collected about individual teacher preparation programs. As part of onsite comprehensive program reviews, Wisconsin requires information such as pass rate data of program completers, and "the performance of individuals who completed the educator preparation program in the previous school year in obtaining employment with a Wisconsin school or school district." However, Wisconsin does not set objective, minimum performance standards for this data.
Program Accountability: Although Wisconsin does not set minimum standards of performance, Wisconsin does delineate consequences, including programs being placed on a program improvement plan or denial of approval. The state conducts onsite comprehensive reviews and programs that do not meet all of the state's requirements can be placed on a program improvement plan and if no improvement is made, their program approval is denied. However, it is unclear both how programs are measured and at what point a program fails to meet minimum standards and therefore faces program accountability consequences.
State Report Cards: Wisconsin publishes annual reports showing data collected on individual teacher preparation programs.
Program Approval Process: Wisconsin maintains full authority over teacher preparation program approval and conducts annual on-site visits and reviews of every preparation program.
Establish the minimum standards of performance for each category of data.
Wisconsin should establish precise minimum standards for teacher preparation program performance for each category of data it collects to help clarify expectations regarding program quality.
Ensure program accountability decisions are based on minimum standards of performance.
While Wisconsin has the structure of a program accountability system, including follow-up actions for programs failing to meet standards, it has not set minimum standards it can use to implement this accountability process. As Wisconsin further develops its accountability system, it should ensure that the system is sufficient to differentiate performance among programs, including alternate route programs, and that it is clear at what point a program's approval will be revoked. For programs exceeding minimum standards, Wisconsin should consider finding effective ways to disseminate best practices.
Wisconsin recognized the factual accuracy of this analysis.
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.