States should overhaul accountability systems for teacher-preparation programs to include a variety of gauges of teacher effectiveness, a report from the Washington-based Center for American Progress urges.
Accountability requirements put into place in the 1998 rewrite of the federal Higher Education Act have largely failed to signal program quality, with states identifying fewer than 2 percent of preparation programs as low-performing, according to recent federal data cited in the report. New indicators, the report says, should include “value added” measures of teacher effectiveness, classroom-based observations of teachers, better teacher assessments, surveys of program graduates and district administrators, and retention rates of program graduates in districts. They should apply equally to traditional programs and to alternative-certification routes, it argues.
The report also notes that states now use a mix of some 1,100 teacher tests to gauge basic skills, content knowledge, and pedagogical knowledge. It concludes that those tests should be replaced with common measures and benchmarks.
A version of this article appeared in the August 11, 2010 edition of Education Week as Teacher-Preparation Accountability