Evaluating Texas Educator Preparation Programs

The Texas Comprehensive Center assisted the Texas Education Agency in developing tools to evaluate educator preparation programs and the readiness of future teachers.

Tools to Evaluate Teacher Preparation

The Texas Comprehensive Center (TXCC) at SEDL assisted the Texas Education Agency (TEA) in developing one of four components for evaluating educator preparation programs. The collaborative team also included representatives from the Assessment and Accountability Comprehensive Center (AACC) and the National Comprehensive Center for Teacher Quality (NCCTQ). This team developed process and survey instruments to measure how prepared future teachers are for the classroom. The measures focus on the ability of new teachers to use data to inform instruction, to integrate technology into instruction, and to work with English language learners and students with disabilities.

Two survey instruments were developed: one for principals of beginning teachers and one for teachers graduating from preparation programs. To ensure buy-in from the field and the utility of the results, the team obtained feedback from stakeholders at each step of the development process. This task involved holding eight meetings with 26 principals as well as representatives from 28 educator preparation programs and four professional associations within the state.

teacher with young student

During the first year of the project, the survey instruments were piloted with all Texas districts. TXCC and AACC staff used the pilot results to analyze how valid and reliable the questions and the overall instruments were. Then, in partnership with the NCCTQ, stakeholders, TEA, and the LBJ School of Public Affairs, the team further refined the instruments and developed decision rules to determine how the data would be used for accountability purposes. The results will be provided to each educator preparation program as well as published on a public consumer information website in Fall 2012.

Better Educator Preparation Programs

"The survey is incredible. Not only does the survey align with current law, it aligns with practices that are current and research-based and identifies what we needed to identify, which is saying a lot about a survey."

Lead TEA staff member

As a result of this project, educator preparation programs in Texas will have fair, reliable, and valid instruments—which they helped develop—for evaluating how prepared their graduates are to enter the classroom. The instruments will also enable state education agencies to hold the institutions accountable for the quality of their programs. Furthermore, through the consumer information website, the general public, parents, and future educators will be able to access information about the quality of each educator preparation program in Texas.

Based on the success of the project, TEA requested assistance from the TXCC in refining the process for on-site visits to monitor educator preparation programs; work has begun on this project. Once this new component is complete, the state plans to add it to the accountability system for educator preparation programs. At that point, a portfolio of five components will be in place to evaluate educator preparation programs in Texas.