Program Reporting Requirements: Tennessee

2017 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. This goal was reorganized in 2017.

Best Practice

Analysis of Tennessee's policies

Minimum Standards of Performance: Tennessee has set and made public minimum standards of performance for programs in the categories of candidate profile, employment, and provider impact. Program performance is compared to these standards in the annual Educator Preparation Program report cards. Programs receive points in the annual reports based on their performance against these standards. 

Program Accountability: Tennessee holds programs accountable for meeting minimum standards of performance. Programs are categorized into performance categories based on their overall performance. The state mandates that programs meet established standards in order to achieve approval. Programs that do not meet one standard are denied accreditation and may not enroll new students.

State Report Cards: The Tennessee State Board of Education required the Tennessee Department of Education to produce annual reports that offer educator preparation providers detailed and disaggregated data, including placement, retention, candidate academic profile, completer effectiveness and satisfaction data, as well as employer satisfaction data (although data on satisfaction was not yet available in the current reports). The first of these reports were produced in March 2017. These report cards are used for public accountability purposes, and the points and performance categories on the report card are separate from the program approval process.

Program Approval Process: Tennessee maintains full authority over teacher preparation program approval. Programs may pursue optional national accreditation in addition to state approval, and all programs must meet Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) standards to be approved.

Citation

Recommendations for Tennessee

As a result of Tennessee's strong policies on reporting teacher preparation accountability data and holding preparation programs to meaningful standards based on data, no recommendations are provided.

State response to our analysis

Tennessee was helpful in providing NCTQ with facts that enhanced this analysis. 

The state reiterated its approval process. Tennessee also added that the Tennessee Department of Education has convened a working group to establish clear expectations for the metrics and benchmarks that will be employed as a part of the program approval process.

The state also added that the next batch of state reports will be released in February 2018 and will include these new thresholds.  In addition, Tennessee stated that it has been developing rubrics that are aligned with the CAEP standards, although these rubrics will not likely become a part of the policy.

How we graded

1D: Program Reporting Requirements 

  • Minimum Standards: The state should establish a minimum standard of performance for each category of data that is collected.
  • Articulated Consequences for Failure to Meet Minimum Standards: The state should hold teacher preparation programs accountable for meeting minimum standards of performance. As such, the state should have articulated consequences for programs failing to meet these standards and should require specific steps to develop a remediation plan. This may include on-site program inspection by qualified external bodies that may lead to loss of program approval.
  • Annual Reporting: The state should produce and publish an annual report card that provides all of the collected data for each individual teacher preparation program.
  • Approval Authority: The state should retain full authority over its process approving teacher preparation programs and should not grant any approval authority to accrediting bodies.
Minimum Standards
One-quarter of the total goal score is earned based on the following:

  • One-quarter credit: The state will earn one-quarter of a point if minimum standards of performance are set for each category of data the teacher preparation programs are required to report.
Articulated Consequences for Failure to Meet Minimum Standards
One-quarter of the total goal score is earned based on the following:

  • One-quarter credit: The state will earn one-quarter of a point if it holds teacher preparation programs accountable for meeting the minimum standards of performance, and if it clearly articulates the consequences for failing to meet the minimum standards, which may include loss of program approval.
Annual Reporting
One-quarter of the total goal score is earned based on the following:

  • One-quarter credit: The state will earn one-quarter of a point if it publishes all collected data on individual teacher preparation programs on an annual basis. 
Approval Authority
One-quarter of the total goal score is earned based on the following:

  • One-quarter credit: The state will earn one-quarter of a point if it retains full authority over the process for approving teacher preparation programs.

Research rationale

The state should examine a number of factors when measuring the performance of and approving teacher preparation programs.[1] 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.[2]

States have made great strides in building data systems with the capacity to provide evidence of teacher performance.[3] 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.[4]

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.[5] Clear state policy would eliminate this uncertainty and send an unequivocal message to programs about the state's expectations.[6]


[1] For general information about teacher preparation program approval see Rotherham, A. J., & Mead, S. (2004). Back to the future: The history and politics of state teacher licensure and certification. In F. Hess, A. J. Rotherham, & K. Walsh (Eds.), A qualified teacher in every classroom (11-47). Cambridge, MA: Harvard Education Press. Retrieved from https://www.nctq.org/nctq/research/1109818629821.pdf
[2] For additional discussion and research of how teacher education programs can add value to their teachers, see National Council on Teacher Quality. (2017). Teacher Prep Review. Retrieved from http://www.nctq.org/teacherPrep/2016/home.do
[3] Walsh, K., & Jacobs, S. (2007). Alternative certification isn't alternative. Thomas B. Fordham Institute. Retrieved from
http://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED498382.pdf

[4] For additional research on the status of teacher quality and the strengths and weaknesses of accreditation programs and policies in the U.S., see: U.S. Department of Education, Office of Postsecondary Education. (2010). The secretary's seventh annual report on teacher quality: A highly qualified teacher in every classroom. Retrieved from https://www2.ed.gov/about/reports/annual/teachprep/t2r7.pdf
[5] For a discussion of the lack of evidence that national accreditation status enhances teacher preparation programs' effectiveness, see: Ballou, D., & Podgursky, M. (1999, July). Teacher training and licensure: A layman's guide. Marci Kanstoroom and Chester E. Finn., Jr. (eds.), In Better teachers, better schools (pp. 45-47). Washington, DC: Thomas B. Fordham Foundation. Retrieved from http://www.edexcellence.net/sites/default/files/publication/pdfs/btrtchrs_10.pdf; Greenberg, J., & Walsh, K. (2008, June). No common denominator: The preparation of elementary teachers in mathematics by America's education schools. Washington, DC: National Council on Teacher Quality. Retrieved from http://www.nctq.org/dmsView/No_Common_Denominator_NCTQ_Report; Walsh, K., Glaser, D., & Wilcox, D. (2006, May). What education schools aren't teaching about reading and what elementary teachers aren't learning. Washington, DC: National Council on Teacher Quality. Retrieved from http://www.nctq.org/dmsView/What_Ed_Schools_Arent_Teaching_About_Reading_NCTQ_Report
[6] See Walsh, K., Joseph, N., & Lewis, A. (2016, November). Within our grasp: Achieving higher admissions standards in teacher prep. 2016 State Teacher Policy Yearbook Report Series. Retrieved from http://www.nctq.org/dmsView/Admissions_Yearbook_Report