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NCTQ Releases Biannual Review of State Teacher Policy

NCTQ 2017 reportTo keep members informed, AACTE regularly monitors and reports on the activity of the National Council on Teacher Quality that could affect educator preparation programs. Visit our NCTQ resource page for additional information.

This week, the National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ) released its biannual review of state policies related to teacher quality, providing a status report on what the organization considers effective policies governing how teachers are selected, prepared, evaluated, and retained.

According to the 2017 State Teacher Policy Yearbook, many states have room for improvement in these policies, and despite recent progress on several fronts, NCTQ reports, many have stalled in their efforts to improve key policies related to educator quality.

The yearbook recommends various areas of improvement for states to consider:

  • Improve oversight of educator preparation programs. A common refrain from NCTQ is that states do not provide enough oversight of educator preparation programs. The yearbook encourages states to collect and publicly report program performance data—which NCTQ believes should include the performance of program alumni’s students in the classroom (using value-added modeling, or VAM) traced back to their preparation program. You may recall the recently rescinded federal teacher preparation regulations originally included a similar provision – one that was chastised as a misuse of the VAM data and an extension of the “test and punish” accountability model in PK-12 classrooms.
  • Invest in data systems to identify and address teacher shortages. NCTQ advocates for more robust state-level data reporting systems to help effectively identify and address local shortages.
  • Strengthen requirements regarding content knowledge for educators. NCTQ is specifically concerned about elementary reading and mathematics, secondary education, and special education (with particular attention to reading skills). To ensure adequate content knowledge in new teachers, NCTQ encourages states to require individually scored subject matter tests to demonstrate a candidate’s knowledge.
  • Increase the induction requirements for teachers who enter the classroom through alternative routes. Noting that such teachers often need the most support as new educators, NCTQ says states should ensure that alternative-route candidates are paired with a strong mentor teacher and receive intensive induction support.
  • Improve teacher compensation, particularly as a reward for high performance and for teaching in high-need fields, to incentivize teaching as a career choice for those who might otherwise consider a more financially lucrative career outside the classroom.

While the yearbook outlines several concerns with the current policy landscape, it is not all bad news from NCTQ. In a press release, NCTQ highlights what it sees as “three bright spots” where states have implemented sound policies:

  • Student teaching requirements are appropriately targeted to the grades and subjects the educators will be teaching.
  • Educators are evaluated across more than two rating categories.
  • Principals are rated on the effectiveness of their teachers as well as their instructional leadership in their school.

To find out how your state fared in NCTQ’s analysis, or to review the entire State Teacher Policy Yearbook, visit NCTQ’s website.

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Zachary VanHouten

Manager of Programs and Advocacy, AACTE