State BOE identifies statewide improvements

Posted 2/21/19

NASHVILLE — The state Board of Education recently released the annual Educator Preparation Report Card, a tool for Tennesseans to learn more about the progress of educator preparation providers …

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State BOE identifies statewide improvements

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NASHVILLE — The state Board of Education recently released the annual Educator Preparation Report Card, a tool for Tennesseans to learn more about the progress of educator preparation providers toward the board’s key priority areas.

The report card uses multiple metrics, including a profile of recent graduates, their placement and retention in Tennessee public school classrooms and their observation and growth scores, which provide information about teacher and leader preparation in the state.

 “Every year, we work closely with partners across the state, including districts and members of the educator preparation community, to improve the utility and scope of the report card,” said Dr. Sara Morrison, executive director of the state BOE. “We have seen an improvement in overall scores year after year. In particular, we have seen an increase in program completers seeking endorsements in high-demand areas, higher retention of first-year teachers and improvements in student growth.”

This year, Christian Brothers University, Lipscomb University, the Memphis Teacher Residency, the New Teacher Project-Nashville Teaching Fellows, Teach for America-Memphis, Teach for America-Nashville, Union University and the University of Tennessee at Knoxville received the highest score of a four overall. Many programs improved their ranking — Belmont University, King University, Maryville College, Milligan College, Tennessee Technological University, Trevecca Nazarene University and Western Governors University all moved from an overall score of two to three.

 According to data from the Tennessee Department of Education, high demand endorsement areas for educators, including English as a Second Language, Spanish, special education, high school math and high school science, are critical shortage areas in many school districts across the state. Data from this year’s Educator Preparation Report Card indicates that more recent graduates earned these high-demand endorsements. Specifically, there has been a four percent increase in high-demand endorsements statewide in the last year.

 In 2018, nine education preparation providers improved their scores by one performance category based on overall performance. Twenty-six education preparation providers scored either a three or four, the highest scores for overall performance.

 “It is also encouraging that providers demonstrated measurable progress within performance categories,” said Amy Owen, director of policy and research at the State Board of Education. “For example, the University of Tennessee at Martin increased its score on the provider impact domain by almost 18 percentage points and on the employment domain by 11 percentage points. These incremental improvements in each domain contribute to the ever-increasing quality of educator preparation.”

 On the Educator Preparation Report Card this year, the State Board added a new leader preparation module to provide basic information about providers that prepare school leaders. In addition, this year’s Report Card includes a spotlight on each provider’s literacy practices to support the state’s goals around the Read to be Ready campaign.

“We are excited to announce the collective improvement as a state on the latest report card,” said Dr. Katherine McEldoon, the project manager for the Educator Preparation Report Card. “Data from the last three report cards show a clear trend of momentum. Eighty-four percent of our educator preparation providers increased their total score since the last report card. The progress in student growth is especially heartening.”

 For over 10 years, T.C.A. § 49-5-108 has required the state to report on the effectiveness of teacher preparation programs each year. When the State Board launched the redesigned Educator Preparation Report Card in 2016, it was with the goals of providing user-friendly information for local school districts, prospective teachers and educator preparation providers in mind.

Since overseeing the production and release of the report card, the State Board has adapted the report card into a user-friendly online tool with specific metrics and additional resources to provide more context about each program provider. These changes were based on feedback from education stakeholders that encouraged increased transparency and improved awareness for education preparation providers, local school districts, prospective teachers and the general public.

 Local districts can utilize the Report Card to inform student teaching and hiring decisions by learning more about an applicant’s education preparation provider. Prospective teachers can determine which educator preparation program best suits their career goals from the information provided about recent graduates’ success in the classroom. Education preparation providers themselves can use this information to identify areas of strength and challenge, particularly in comparison to other programs across the state. In addition, the Tennessee Department of Education shares annual reports with each individual education preparation provider to provide in-depth details that can drive program improvement.

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