Last week, the Delaware Department of Education released the first reports on educator preparation programs. As a reminder, the reports were put into place per Senate Bill 51, passed in 2013, requiring that “Education preparation programs administered by institutions of higher education shall collaborate with the Department to collect and report data on the performance and effectiveness of program graduates. At a minimum, such data shall measure performance and effectiveness of program graduates by student achievement. The effectiveness of each graduate shall be reported for a period of 5 years following graduation for each graduate who is employed as an educator in the State. Data shall be reported on an annual basis. The Department shall make such data available to the public.”
In addition to being a bipartisan bill, it was lauded by national and local experts in the field.
The report cards assess programs across six domains:
- Recruitment—the diversity of incoming program candidates within programs, as well as the performance of incoming candidates on the SAT
- Candidate Performance—the performance of program candidates on general content assessments and performance assessments* required for certification
- Placement—the rate at which program graduates get a job in Delaware schools within one year of graduation from the program, and the rate at which candidates get a job in a school designated as “high-need” by the department of education
- Retention—the rate at which program graduates continue teaching in Delaware beyond year one (or three)
- Graduate Performance—the performance of program graduates on the statewide teacher evaluation framework (DPAS-II), separated out by:
- the student improvement component
- observation scores
- student growth (for educators with math, English, science and social studies DCAS scores)
- overall evaluation scores
- Perceptions*—surveys from program graduates on their satisfaction and level of preparedness from their program and surveys from LEAs on the preparedness of graduates from a particular program
This is a new effort informed by federal and state policy and this first iteration has generated some criticisms from the teacher preparation programs as to the strength of the metrics used, but our hope is that the state and these institutions continue to refine the information and their uses in the years ahead.
But the rationale for providing some version of this information is really important. Teachers matter. They are the most important in-school factor driving student achievement. And these new teachers are the pipeline for the second most important in-school factor to a child’s education: our school leaders. Moreover, Delaware spends a large portion of its $1.5 billion education budget on the people working in our schools, so it makes sense to try to determine how we can make sure our educators are ready to go when they enter our schools. Again, the details of the metrics may need ongoing refinement, but the concept makes sense.
On Wednesday, the Vision Coalition of Delaware will host its annual conference on education. This year’s conference will focus on Student Success 2025 which the coalition released in September. The report provides six core areas of recommendations to improve Delaware’s schools, including Educator Support and Development. Within those recommendations are several on making sure that new teachers are adequately prepared for “day one” in the classroom, and that educator preparation programs work more closely with K-12 schools to create alignment and continuous improvement for preparation programs. These data are a catalyst to jumpstart those recommendations. We encourage you to join the conversation at Clayton Hall on Wednesday.
*Data on candidate performance assessments and perception surveys were not available for the 2015 report cards.