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Entry Requirements for Teacher Preparation Programs: A Look at Title II Data

Editor’s note: As AACTE moves from collecting information through the Professional Education Data System (PEDS) to tapping other nationally available data sources on educator preparation, we will be providing periodic data snapshots from these sources. The following article presents data from the latest available (2014) federal collection mandated by Title II of the Higher Education Act, which includes 1,497 providers of “traditional” programs based in institutions of higher education (IHEs), 472 providers of IHE-based alternative programs, and 201 providers of non-IHE-based alternative programs.

This is the first of six blog articles that will explore the Title II data on educator preparation program admission and completion requirements. Teacher quality is an ongoing concern, and the field of teacher preparation plays an important role as the profession’s entry point. Contrary to some beliefs that preparation programs have few or no requirements for entry and exit, the data show that most providers have many and varied criteria for prospective educators at the beginning and end of their preparation programs. This blog series aims to help affirm the common criteria and explore others that are not as well-known.

Before candidates can begin their professional training by entering a preparation program, most of them have to meet a set of “gatekeeper” criteria that programs use for selecting prospective candidates. The annual Title II survey collects data about 15 common admission requirements, including the applicant’s subject area, transcript, overall grade-point average (GPA), content GPA, professional GPA, credits, scores on ACT/SAT/basic-skills tests, essays, interviews, recommendations, fingerprint and background checks, and “other.”

Entry Requirements Recognized in Title II Collection

ACT Essay Professional GPA
Background Fingerprint Recommendation
Basic Skills GPA SAT
Content GPA Interview Subject Area
Credits Other Transcript

Undergraduate-Level Entry Requirements

During the 2012-2013 academic year, 53 of the 472 IHE-based alternative providers reported at least one undergraduate entry requirement out of the 15 possible choices. Ten providers had 12 criteria for entry, and another eight providers had 10 criteria. On average, prospective candidates had to meet nine entry requirements to enter an undergraduate IHE-based alternative program.

Out of 201 non-IHE-based alternative providers, only four reported their entry requirements for undergraduates. Among these, candidates had an average of seven admission requirements.

As for traditional programs, 90% (1,345 out of 1,497) of the providers reported at least one entry requirement at the undergraduate level. Of these, about 200 providers each reported 8-10 requirements. Candidates entering traditional undergraduate programs had to meet nine different criteria on average.

Graduate-Level Entry Requirements

At the graduate level, 399 (out of 472) IHE-based alternative providers responded with their entry requirements. Among these institutions, 69 had nine requirements for admission into a program and 55 had 10 requirements. For the non-IHE-based alternative providers, 49 (out of 201) also reported nine criteria for entry. Among traditional providers, 974 (out of 1,497) reported their graduate entry requirements. On average, graduate-level candidates had to meet 11 requirements to enter an IHE-based alternative teacher preparation program, nine requirements to enter a non-IHE-based program, or nine requirements to enter a traditional preparation program.

These data show that a major portion of alternative programs are at the graduate level, and a great percentage of candidates at both undergraduate and graduate levels are attached to IHEs. The traditional providers often had more entry requirements than the two alternative categories at both undergraduate and graduate levels.

Although the data provide a look at the quantity of entry and exit criteria by individual provider, it is difficult to determine the general quality of each type of program. The next blog in our series will explore which admissions requirements are most common among the various provider types.

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Yupin Bae