Teacher Preparation Program Accountability:
Florida

2015 General Teacher Prep Programs Policy

Goal

The state's approval process for teacher preparation programs should hold programs accountable for the quality of the teachers they produce.

Meets

Analysis of Florida's policies

Florida is on the right track to hold teacher preparation programs accountable for its graduates.

Educator preparation programs will be required to collect and report data on the performance of students who are assigned to in-field program completers on statewide assessments using results of student learning growth formula and of program completers' annual evaluations.

Florida also requires that, for approval, programs must collect data regarding placement and retention rates of program completers. Additional data may include program completers' and employers' satisfaction. Prior to program completion, teacher candidates must also demonstrate the ability to positively affect student learning growth in the area of program concentration during the field experience.

Also, preparation programs must guarantee the high quality of its program completers during the two years following completion or initial certification, whichever comes first. Any program completer who is employed during this two-year period in a Florida public school, and earns an evaluation result of developing or unsatisfactory on a district's evaluation system, must be provided additional training by the program at no additional cost to the teacher.

It appears that Florida now applies a specific cut-off score for continued program approval, based on placement rates, retention rates, student performance, evaluations of completers and, in some cases, production of completers in critical shortage areas.

The state posts an annual report on its website that includes completer, employer and mentor surveys, as well as demographic comparisons. These reports are broken down by preparation program type: Initial Teacher Preparation programs (ITPs) at state universities, ITPs at state colleges, and ITPs at private colleges and universities, as well as two alternative preparation program routes; Professional Development Certification Programs and Educator Preparation Institutes.

In Florida, the state maintains full authority over teacher preparation program approval. The state also conducts its own program reviews. 

Citation

Recommendations for Florida

As a result of Florida's strong teacher preparation program accountability policies, no recommendations are provided.

State response to our analysis

Florida was helpful in providing NCTQ with the facts necessary for this analysis.

How we graded

Research rationale

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. 

Teacher Preparation Program Accountability: Supporting Research
For discussion of teacher preparation program approval see Andrew Rotherham and S. Mead'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,The 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's, Teacher Prep Review, 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, eds. Marci Kanstoroom and Chester E. Finn., Jr., (Washington, D.C.: Thomas B. Fordham Foundation, 1999), pp. 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.