This post is part two of a two-part series on the Tennessee Educator Preparation Report Card. Part one examined why we need the Report Card.
Who can benefit from using the Educator Preparation Report Card? How does the redesign help those people?
The hope is that prospective educators, educator preparation providers (EPPs), school districts, legislators, and the broader community can all benefit from using the Tennessee Educator Preparation Report Card. Many of the new design components, including the statewide map of EPPs and new filters by program attributes, are based on feedback received from stakeholders, including current students at EPPs.
These features are designed to help prospective teachers find information on programs that offer specific endorsements or pathways that meet their needs. Local districts can utilize the Report Card to inform student teaching and hiring decisions by learning more about an applicant’s EPP. EPPs themselves can use this information to identify areas of strength and challenge, particularly in comparison to other programs across the state.
Do you have advice for how best to view metrics on the report cards? How could key audiences use report card information to make decisions?
- EPPs: The Educator Preparation Report Card is a useful tool for EPPs to compare their performance data over time and to contrast with other EPPs. Program-level data can serve as a reference point for internal and external conversations on continuous improvement.
- Prospective Educators: Future educators can use the Report Card to compare the features of potential programs and gain a better understanding of career opportunities.
- Districts: At the local school district level, administrators may use the Educator Preparation Report Card to inform recruitment and hiring practices and better understand EPP partners to improve coordination.
- Legislators: At its core, the Report Card is a transparency tool and aids state legislators by providing useful information for the creation of laws and policies related to educator preparation.
- Community: For the people of Tennessee generally, the Educator Preparation Report Card gives insights into local EPPs and can guide efforts to improve the teacher training pipeline.
How have the report cards fostered improvement in teacher preparation?
Last summer, a State Board policy fellow conducted interviews with eight EPPs that had shown significant improvement on the Report Card. These interviews revealed that EPPs engaged in a variety of approaches that resulted in improvements on the Report Card, including:
- Combining targeted admissions and recruitment efforts with ongoing cohort monitoring to ensure a pool of strong, diverse teacher candidates.
- Aligning program design and faculty training with the state teacher evaluation rubric (TEAM) to prepare candidates for expectations in the classroom.
- Altering field experience and/or clinical placement programming to provide candidates with more experience in the field while still enrolled in the EPP.
- Developing stronger partnerships with school districts, both regarding specific candidates and district needs overall.
- Integrating data analysis into programmatic decision-making.
What are the opportunities for continued growth in EPP performance?
Racial and ethnic diversity continues to be a challenge for many EPPs, as many EPPs are significantly less diverse than the school districts they partner with. Each state-approved EPP has at least one primary partner district, which is usually in close geographic proximity to the EPP. For the majority of EPPs, the share of teacher candidates of color is less than half the share of students of color in the primary partner district. Our goal is that the diversity component of the Educator Preparation Report Card will help districts and EPPs identify any variance between the diversity of teacher candidates and the districts they serve and that this may inform future recruitment efforts.
Another area where we hope to see continued growth is in the percentage of teacher candidates who are getting licensed in high-demand areas such as special education and English as a second language (ESL). EPPs have been taking important steps in this area, such as creating dual-endorsement programs that prepare candidates to be licensed in both elementary education and ESL. We are starting to see the results of these efforts reflected in report card data, and we expect that even more candidates will be graduating with high-demand endorsements in future years.
Erika Leicht is senior research associate at the Tennessee State Board of Education.
Learn more about the Educator Preparation Report Card: