SECOND PERFORMANCE REPORT RELEASED ON TEACHER EDUCATION PROGRAMS
Four of North Carolina's 47 teacher education programs received an exemplary rating and five received a low-performing rating in the second Performance Report on Teacher Education Programs for 1999-2000 released by the State Board of Education.
This report, required by the Excellent Schools Act, represents North Carolina's primary efforts to hold colleges and universities accountable for their role in preparing classroom teachers for their work in the state's schools. The first report of this kind, released in April, covered the 1998-99 school year and was considered to be a baseline report, without sanctions or rewards attached. A variety of sources of information - including graduate and employer surveys, test scores of prospective teachers and teacher education graduates and the percentage of graduates employed - was assembled to rate performance of each program.
Teacher education programs at Greensboro College, UNC-Asheville, UNC-Greensboro, and UNC-Pembroke received exemplary ratings. The five institutions designated as low-performing were: Barton College, Johnson C. Smith University, Pfeiffer College, Shaw University, and St. Augustine's College.
Each institution's teacher education program was rated according to three overall criteria: compliance with state and national accreditation standards, the quality of program completers (as measured through performance on professional tests and the Initial Licensure Program), and involvement with and service to public schools. Each program received points based on whether they met or exceeded each criterion, and scores were totaled.
Institutions receiving 135 or more points are designated as exemplary. Those earning less than 105 are designated as low performing. Low-performing institutions are required to submit plans to the Department of Public Instruction no later than Jan. 20,
2001, describing plans to improve their programs. Also, colleges and universities that fail to meet specific criteria will be required to submit a written plan to the Department of Public Instruction detailing how they plan to correct the deficiencies. The Department plans to conduct on-site reviews of programs that fail to meet specific criteria for two consecutive assessments.
"North Carolina must have not only a qualified, but also a high quality, teacher in every public school classroom in this state, and this report allows us to determine how well our colleges and universities are preparing teachers to enter the profession," State Board of Education Chairman Phillip J. Kirk Jr. said. "The most important element of this report may be the requirement that institutions identify ways to overcome deficiencies in their programs. The Board is very interested in finding ways to encourage each program to improve."
North Carolina is one of only a handful of states that have reporting of this kind at this time. The State Board of Education has the authority to approve or close teacher education programs in North Carolina.
State Superintendent Mike Ward said the issue of teacher education illustrated how important partnerships are for public education. "We depend on the private and public colleges and universities to prepare new teachers for the profession and to provide research and other important support for preK-12 education. At the same time, higher education depends on public schools to provide colleges and universities with prepared students too. This report is a good example of how all of us are working together toward the same goals. That is how North Carolina will become First in America in Education by 2010."
University of North Carolina President Molly Broad said that she was confident that the University Chancellors and their deans would carefully study the results of the IHE Performance Report and find ways to improve each University's performance in the future. "While we are pleased that three institutions were found exemplary and none were labeled low-performing, we recognize there are areas of needed improvement."
Broad also noted that "the deans of our education schools and the deans of arts and sciences are increasing their cooperative efforts to improve what our graduates know
and are skilled at doing as they graduate from our universities and begin their careers in public education."
"Private college and university teacher education programs fared well overall, although the report certainly identified areas that need to be addressed," Dr. A. Hope Williams, President, NC Independent Colleges and Universities, said. "The greatest challenge for small programs is measuring success rates on tests when there are small numbers of students. In those cases, the scores of only one or two students can make a significant difference. We are pleased that the reports continue to emphasize the essential role of private colleges and universities in North Carolina Teacher Education."
The IHE Performance Report is designed to increase standards for teacher preparation programs, and state educators at the university and public school levels say that is already happening as a result of this additional scrutiny.
Key findings include:
North Carolina institutions have reported a 14 percent increase in the number of undergraduate students enrolled full-time in teacher education programs, although the enrollment figures for minority teacher candidates has not changed appreciably. There are 5,988 full time teacher education students enrolled.
The grade point average for students admitted to teacher education programs remains significantly above the 2.5 required for admission to teacher education programs.
In all areas but two, in cases where the new specialty area Praxis II tests have been adopted, statewide performance on the exams improved. In these two areas, performance essentially was unchanged.
Institutions reported an approximately 30 percent increase in the number of lateral entry teachers enrolled in one or more classes leading to licensure. (This may reflect actual increases, but could reflect improved record keeping.)
To read the complete IHE Performance Report, go to the DPI Web site, http://www.ncpublicschools.org, and look under In the News. The state summary information is available there, as well as the individual institutions' reports.
For more information, please contact Dr. Kathy Sullivan, director, Division of Human Resource Management, NC DPI, 919.807.3355.
About the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction:
The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction provides leadership to 115 local public school districts and 126 charter schools serving over 1.5 million students in kindergarten through high school graduation. The agency is responsible for all aspects of the state's public school system and works under the direction of the North Carolina State Board of Education.
For more information:
NCDPI Communication and Information Division, 919.807.3450.