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

Editor’s note: This is the third of six blogs 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.

Although critics sometimes claim that educator preparation programs have few or no requirements for admission and completion, federal Title II data say otherwise. In this article, we explore the number of exit requirements reported by different types of providers at the undergraduate and graduate levels. (See our recent blogs about the number and frequency of various entry requirements.)

As noted in the first blog of our series, the Title II survey provides 15 options for providers to indicate their entry and exit criteria:

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 Exit Requirements

Although most IHE-based alternative programs serve graduate students, 53 of the 472 providers of these programs reported having exit requirements for undergraduates. On average, they reported using 7.8 of the listed criteria for program completion. Among non-IHE-based alternative providers, just five reported having exit requirements for undergraduates (again, most of these programs are at the postbaccalaureate level). Three of these providers were state departments of education, and the other two were Teach for America and the Career and Technical Ed Teacher Prep Program. Their average number of exit criteria was the lowest, with 3.8 requirements per provider.

The greatest proportion of undergraduate program providers was in the “traditional” category. Some 90% (1,343 out of 1,497) of traditional providers reported at least one exit requirement for undergraduates. Out of the 15 choices, the average provider had 7.9 completion criteria.

Graduate-Level Exit Requirements

At the graduate level, 85% of IHE-based alternative providers reported at least one exit criterion. The average was 7 requirements. Among non-IHE-based alternative providers, fewer reported exit requirements, and the distributed pattern shows a cluster toward a lower number of criteria: 28 of the providers reported having four requirements, and the average provider used five requirements. About 70% of traditional providers reported having as least one exit requirement at the graduate level, with an average of eight requirements per provider; 40% of the institutions reported between six and eight requirements. 

Graduation or program completion for prospective educators depends on many factors, including students’ academic performance, the rigor of their preparation inside and outside the professional program, effectiveness of clinical training, and various exit exams. Title II data provide an overview of what providers expect of candidates as they exit programs and enter the workforce.

The next blog in our series will look at which requirements are most commonly used to screen prospective educators at program exit.

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Yupin Bae