A slew of new information on the state of teacher education programs in the United States has begun to flow, thanks to data-reporting requirements in the 2008 Higher Education Act now coming online.
Among the data, a newly released report from the U.S. Department of Education describes the state of the teacher-preparation pipeline, provides the first-ever information on the average number of hours of clinical experience required by route, and tallies the standards states currently use to certify teachers. Among the findings:
• In 2010, 71 percent of teacher-preparation programs were “traditional,” 21 percent were “alternative” programs based at teacher colleges, and 8 percent were “alternative” programs not based at higher education institutions.
• A total of about 724,000 students were enrolled in teacher-preparation programs in 2008-09, with 89 percent at traditional programs, 6 percent at university-based alternative routes, and 5 percent at nonuniversity-based alternative routes.
• While 56 states and territories had standards for initial certification, only 45 said they had policies to link teacher-licensing assessments to K-12 student academic-content standards.
• In 2008-09, traditional teacher education programs required about 515 hours of student teaching, while alternative programs, both within and outside of universities, required more than 700 hours.
The 2008 reauthorization of the HEA also expanded the amount of teacher-preparation information states and institutions must report.
They now have to include data on the admission standards for every traditional and alternative preparation program in each state; pass rates and average scaled scores of teacher candidates on each licensing test at each institution, compared with the statewide pass rates and scaled scores; and state teaching standards.
Individual programs were required to set goals for increasing the number of teachers trained in shortage subjects and fields, and to report on their progress in meeting them.
Both states and institutions must generate report cards with such information on an annual basis.
A version of this article appeared in the January 11, 2012 edition of Education Week as Teacher Education in Data Spotlight