Teacher Preparation Program Accountability :
West Virginia

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.

Meets a small part
Suggested Citation:
National Council on Teacher Quality. (2011). Teacher Preparation Program Accountability : West Virginia results. State Teacher Policy Database. [Data set].
Retrieved from: https://www.nctq.org/yearbook/state/WV-Teacher-Preparation-Program-Accountability--6

Analysis of West Virginia's policies

West 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.

Most importantly, West Virginia does not collect value-added data that connect student achievement gains to teacher preparation programs. However, the state's regulations indicate that "additional data to be collected shall include initiatives underway in the unit and the unit's involvement with P-12 schools."

Commendably, West Virginia does rely on other objective, meaningful data to measure the performance of its traditional teacher preparation programs. Programs must supply the following data to the state on an annual basis: the average raw score of candidates admitted to the program on the preprofessional skills test; the satisfaction rating by cooperating teachers on student teachers from the institution; and the average raw score of candidates on subject matter and pedagogy exams. However, it does not appear that the state applies any transparent, measurable criteria for conferring program approval and does not collect these data for its alternate route. 

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 West Virginia have been identified in required federal reporting as low performing.

Although West Virginia publishes "The Quality of Teacher Preparation" report—which contains data regarding the performance of teacher education program completers on state assessments, institutionally designed performance assessments, field experiences and student teaching—on the state's website, the most recent report is dated 2007-2008. 

Citation

Recommendations for West Virginia

Collect data that connect student achievement gains to teacher preparation programs.
To ensure that programs are producing effective classroom teachers, West 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.
Although West Virginia relies on some objective, meaningful data to measure the performance of teacher preparation programs, the state should expand its requirements to include other metrics such as 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 for all teacher preparation programs.
To inform the public with meaningful, readily understandable indicators of how well programs are doing, West Virginia should present all the data it collects on individual teacher preparation programs, including alternate routes. The state should also ensure that the data presented are as current as possible.

State response to our analysis

West Virginia asserted that it holds institutions responsible for the quality of the candidates they produce by requiring, through the program approval process, a minimum overall GPA of 2.5 for undergraduates and 3.0 for graduates. Further, programs must have an 80 percent or higher content exam pass rate.  

The state added that programs must have data from performance assessments that reflect a minimum overall proficiency level for all candidates. Every institution is required to submit a report for all programs leading to licensure, including alternate route programs. Processes are outlined in the state protocol and are part of the accreditation process.  

West Virginia also noted that several elements for the "Quality of Teacher Preparation Report" are annually collected and reported to Title II, and are published in the "West Virginia Department of Education Personnel Data Report." 

Last word

The standards the state describes address the quality of the candidates programs admit, not the quality of their graduates. Further, while the state's 80 percent pass-rate standard is common among many states, it sets the bar quite low and is not a meaningful measure of program performance.

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.