Teacher Preparation Program Accountability:
West Virginia

2015 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 in part

Analysis of West Virginia's policies

West Virginia's approval process for its traditional and alternate route teacher preparation programs could do more to hold programs accountable for the quality of the teachers they produce.

In West Virginia, accreditation from CAEP is required. Each educator preparation provider is required to submit an annual report to CAEP, which includes the following metrics: impact that completers' teaching has on P-12 learning and development; indicators of teaching effectiveness; results of employer surveys, including retention and employment milestones; results of completer surveys, graduation rates from preparation programs; ability of completers to meet licensing; ability of completers to be hired in education positions for which they were prepared; and student loan default rates. The state has access to review these reports, but they are not publicly available.

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.

Citation

Recommendations for West Virginia

Ensure that data that connect student achievement gains to teacher preparation programs is collected. 
While current West Viriginia policy allows for this data to be collected, student achievement growth measures are not specifically required. As one way to measure whether programs are producing effective classroom teachers, West Virginia should consider the academic achievement gains of students taught by programs' graduates, averaged over the first three years of teaching. Data that are aggregated to the institution (e.g., combining elementary and secondary programs) rather than disaggregated to the specific preparation program are not useful for accountability purposes. Such aggregation can mask significant differences in performance among programs.

Gather other meaningful data that reflect program performance. 

Although measures of student growth are an important indicator of program effectiveness, they cannot be the sole measure of program quality for several reasons, including the fact that many programs may have graduates whose students do not take standardized tests. The accountability system must therefore include other objective measures that show how well all programs are preparing teachers for the classroom. West Virginia should expand its current requirements to its alternate routes and also include such measures as five-year retention rates of graduates in the teaching profession.

Establish the minimum standard of performance for each category of data. 
Merely collecting the types of data described above is insufficient for accountability purposes. The next and perhaps more critical step is for the state to establish precise minimum standards for teacher preparation program performance for each category of data. Programs should then be held accountable for meeting these standards, and there should be consequences for failing to do so, including loss of program approval.

Publish an annual report card on the state's website for all teacher preparation programs. 
West Virginia should produce an annual, up-to-date report card that shows all the data the state collects on individual teacher preparation programs, which should be published on the state's website at the program level for the sake of public transparency. The state should also ensure that the data presented are as current as possible. Data should be presented in a manner that clearly conveys whether programs have met performance standards.

Maintain full authority over the process for approving teacher preparation programs. 
West Virginia should ensure that it is the state that considers the evidence of program performance and makes the decision about whether programs should continue to be authorized to prepare teachers.

State response to our analysis

West Virginia recognized the factual accuracy of this analysis.

The state also commented that, as stated in the agreement between the West Virginia Board of Education (WVBE) and CAEP, West Virginia does maintain full authority over the process for approving teacher preparation programs. Both CAEP and WVBE policy require an annual report and a process for publishing those data. In support of the CAEP Standards, West Virginia is moving toward requiring a teacher performance assessment (TPA). The state is in the process of providing experiences to educator providers with two national TPAs in a Test Project that will collect perceptive data to inform the choice of TPA that the WVBE will require in policy in the Fall 2016.

West Virginia recently developed a data platform that will connect educators with the institution where they were prepared. Once educators are connected to their preparation provider, the state's educator evaluation system will connect the educator to an aggregate school-wide growth measure and other student achievement measures.

West Virginia is also in the process of convening stakeholders to develop the survey instruments that will generate other meaningful data that reflect program performance. Conversations around developing/articulating various performance levels will eventually lead to a standards-based rubric/rating system for educator preparation providers.

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.