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

Editor’s note: This is the second of six blog articles exploring data on program entry and exit requirements from the latest available (2014) federal collection mandated by Title II of the Higher Education Act. The data include 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 second of six blog articles that explore federal data on educator preparation program entry and exit requirements. Taking a different angle from the last blog, this article looks at admissions requirements by frequency to identify which ones are most common.

The annual Title II collection asks providers 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.”

Undergraduate-Level Requirements

For the 2012-2013 academic year, most providers reported using some combination of these 15 criteria for entry to programs. Among the 53 alternative IHE-based providers reporting in the undergraduate category, applicants’ overall GPA was the most common requirement for program entry, with transcript and credits following closely. Other selection criteria were utilized less frequently.

For alternative non-IHE-based undergraduate providers, the entry requirements were less clear because most programs were offered at the graduate level.

Among traditional providers at the undergraduate level, 85% required GPAs, 79% required transcripts, 77% required credits, 62% required professional-coursework GPAs, and 59% required a recommendation. ACT and SAT scores were not used as frequently.

Graduate-Level Requirements

At the graduate level, a transcript was the most requested entry requirement for IHE-based alternative providers, with GPA, credits, and recommendations ranking second, third, and fourth. Transcript, subject area, credits, and interview were the most utilized criteria for non-IHE-based programs. For graduate-level traditional programs, transcript and general GPA were the most frequently used entry requirements.

The entry requirements can be grouped into three main categories: academic record (transcript, GPA, credits, content GPA, professional GPA, subject area), disposition (essay, recommendation, interview, fingerprint, background check), and general skills (basic skills test, SAT, ACT, Other). Of these categories, academic record has the most required criteria, followed by disposition and then general skills.

While providers vary in their approaches to admissions criteria, they appear to use largely similar indicators to predict candidate success in their academic performance. Of course, it is unclear what relationship these entry requirements might have with candidates’ later performance as classroom teachers. The next blog will look at the information collected under Title II on program exit requirements, which may have more relevance on teachers’ actual classroom performance.

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Yupin Bae