Entities Evaluating Teacher Preparation Programs:
National Accreditation Agencies
NATIONAL ACCREDITATION AGENCIES
In the U.S., the federal government does not accredit or approve TPPs. This is done by national, nongovernmental accrediting bodies and state governments. Both types of review are meant to assure prospective teachers, employers, policy makers, and the public that TPPs meet a certain standard of quality. The processes of accreditation and state approval are similar and often overlap in ways that can be confusing.
Evidence used by the National Accreditation Agencies to assess TPP quality:
- Admission requirements, program documents and policies, faculty qualifications, case studies, student teaching observations
- Candidate performance assessments, teacher certification test results, hiring and retention, VAM if available, employer satisfaction surveys
An evaluation is intended to produce information that can be used to draw reasonable inferences about the quality of programs. By inferences, we mean interpretations or findings based on the above evidence.
- Program meets or does not meet national teacher education standards
- Level of satisfaction of employers of graduates
- Program strengths and weaknesses, aspects of program that need improvement
INCENTIVES FOR TPPs
Incentives for TPPs are tangible or intangible reward or sanction tied to the results of an evaluation.
- National “stamp of approval” can help with recruitment of highly qualified candidates and faculty
- Often also serves as state approval
- If detailed data are made public, incentive to improve in areas of identified weakness
Each type of TPP evaluation system relies on somewhat different evidence that can be used to draw different inferences. Each system also creates different incentives and consequences for TPPs.
- TPPs will be aligned with standards for teacher education
- Programs may work to address areas of weakness identified
- Possibly more conformity and less innovation by programs
Mapping the Approach to Purposes
Each type of TPP evaluation system relies on somewhat different evidence that can be used to draw different inferences. Each system also creates different incentives and consequences for TPPs. Thus, instead of asking which TPP evaluation approach is best, the more appropriate and important question is, how well does each approach serve a particular purpose?
Accountability and Monitoring
+ Indicates that TPPs have met widely agreed upon standards for teacher education
~ Influenced by the teacher preparation
community, given its involvement in peer review of TPPs
+ Provides equivalent of “stamp of approval” from credible body of professionals with deep content and pedagogical knowledge
– Simple pass/fail designation does not provide readily accessible information
to prospective students, who will not be able to sift through large quantities of dense program-specific reports to make informed consumer decisions
+ Provides in- depth feedback from reputable and neutral expert body; cyclical process fosters continuous improvement
– May be perceived as product of “entrenched” system without adequate attention to public (external) preferences or changing norms