SREB Commission Issues Recommendations for Teacher Preparation Data Systems

A commission made up of college of education deans, state legislators, university presidents, heads of postsecondary systems, state and district superintendents, and leaders of nationwide organizations has released a report presenting recommendations for state policy related to teacher preparation data systems. This Teacher Preparation Commission of the Southern Regional Education Board, a nonprofit organization that works with states to improve public education and support state policy makers, is charged with developing and identifying state recommendations to improve teacher preparation programs.

More Than the Numbers – Teacher Preparation Data Systems: State Policy and Recommendations, the Commission’s first report, focuses on how to build strong statewide data systems for teacher preparation drawing on policy models in three states – Louisiana, North Carolina, and Tennessee. In Louisiana, the report acknowledges the work of the Board of Regents and the Louisiana Teacher Preparation Program Dashboard for promoting data in a more accessible and transparent way. In North Carolina, the report praises the University of North Carolina Educator Quality Dashboard. In Tennessee, the State Board of Education, Tennessee Department of Education, and Tennessee Higher Education Commission redesigned the state’s Teacher Preparation Report Card to provide an interactive tool for aspiring teachers. Other practices that the report praises are data systems’ ability to follow teachers through their careers, focus on outcome measures, break down data “silos,” and make data more accessible.

“Educator preparation program leaders in Oklahoma have been working for years with leaders of the various state education agencies to develop such a system,” said one education dean on the Commission, James Machell of the University of Central Oklahoma. “It has taken years to gain traction for this effort for many reasons, including those associated with concerns associated with data privacy and identity protection. For the first time this year Oklahoma has a data sharing agreement in place that will enable state education leaders, including those associated with educator preparation programs, to collect data on new teacher performance that can be used as part of our system for continuous improvement.”

The report also offers three recommendations on how other states should improve their data systems:

  1. States should synthesize data for teacher education from various state and local agencies
  2. States should disseminate data widely, tailored to the needs of specific audiences
  3. States should use data to empower change

The Commission’s recommendations closely mirror those of the Council of Chief State School Officers’ recent report (see this article).

“Even though there seems to be a consensus around the notion of implementing such practices, caution should be used in determining the uses for the data contained within such systems,” Machell said. “Many continue to have grave reservations about how such a system could be used to base judgments and employment decisions regarding educator effectiveness solely on measures that are readily available yet not valid and reliable, including isolated student achievement test scores.”

The Commission’s member roster is available here.

Download the report (PDF) here.

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Aaron Goldstein

Manager, State Policy & Relations