Improving Teacher Preparation: Building on Innovation

Improving Teacher Preparation: Building on Innovation

Great Teachers Matter

Collage of photos of teachers working with students

Providing all children in America with the opportunity for a world-class education is critical for their success and the success of our nation, and every child deserves a great teacher.

Teachers in the top 20% of performance generate 5-6 more months of student learning each year than low-performing teachers. Source:

Students Learn More from Effective Teachers

We need to give schools the resources to keep good teachers on the job, and give teachers the flexibility to teach with creativity and passion.

Recruiting, preparing, developing and supporting great teachers has a direct impact on the learning and success of America’s students. Research confirms that the most important in school factor in a student’s success is a strong teacher, and excellent teachers are especially important for our neediest students. And strong teacher preparation programs lead to better learning for students.

Yet today, far too many teachers report they are unprepared when they first enter the classroom after completing their teacher preparation program. And institutions that prepare teachers lack the feedback needed to identify where program graduates go to teach, how long they stay, and how they perform in the classroom.

Recognizing that need, educators and states are working to drive needed improvements in teacher preparation, and by extension, the quality of teaching. Through new proposed regulations, the Department aims to build on and support these efforts for greater transparency, accountability, and program improvement.

These Proposed Regulations Will:

  • Build on innovative state systems and progress in the field to encourage all states to develop their own meaningful systems to identify high- and low-performing teacher preparation programs across all kinds of programs, not just those based in colleges and universities.
  • Ask states to move away from current input-focused reporting requirements, streamline the current data requirements, incorporate more meaningful outcomes measures and improve the availability of relevant information on teacher preparation.
  • Reward only those programs determined to be effective or better by states with eligibility for TEACH grants, which are available to students who are planning to become teachers in a high-need field and in a low-income school, to ensure that these limited federal dollars support high-quality teacher education and preparation.
  • Offer transparency into the performance of teacher preparation programs, creating a feedback loop among programs and prospective teachers, employers, and the public, and empower programs with information to facilitate continuous improvement.

States would have primary responsibility and significant flexibility in designing their systems and evaluating program performance.

High Quality Teacher Preparation Matters: According to one study that compared the impact of the top-performing teacher preparation program to lowest-performing program, the impact on student learning gains in mathematics from teacher preparation was considerably greater (1.5 times greater) than the impact of poverty. Source:

Key Indicators

States would report annually on the performance of each teacher preparation program, including alternative certification programs, based on indicators that include at least:

  • Employment outcomes: New teacher placement and three-year retention rates, including in high-need schools
  • Teacher and employer feedback: Surveys on the effectiveness of preparation
  • Student learning outcomes: Effectiveness of new teachers as demonstrated through measures of student growth, performance on state or local teacher evaluation measures that include data on student growth, or both, during their first three teaching years
  • Assurance of specialized accreditation, or evidence that a program produces candidates with content and pedagogical knowledge and quality clinical preparation, who have met rigorous entry and exit requirements.
Collage of photos of teachers working with students

Priorities Aligned with the Field

Key provisions of proposed regulations and how they compare to the standards set by the Council for the Accreditation of Education Preparation (CAEP)

Proposed Regulations CAEP
Student outcomes: Academic Gains among K-12 students
Employment outcomes: Job placement and retention, including in high-need schools
Customer satisfaction: Surveys of program graduates and their principals
Program review and accreditation based on content/pedagogical knowledge, high quality clinical proactive, and rigorous entry/exit requirements
Multiple performance levels resulting from review and accreditation
Flexibility to states and providers in developing multiple measures of performance

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