This piece is co-authored by Cory Koedel and Matthew Di Carlo. Koedel is an Associate Professor of Economics and Public Policy at the University of Missouri, Columbia.
The United States Department of Education (USED) has proposed regulations requiring states to hold teacher preparation programs accountable for the performance of their graduates. According to the proposal, states must begin assigning ratings to each program within the next 2-3 years, based on outcomes such as graduates’ “value-added” to student test scores, their classroom observation scores, how long they stay in teaching, whether they teach in high-needs schools, and surveys of their principals’ satisfaction.
In the long term, we are very receptive to, and indeed optimistic about, the idea of outcomes-based accountability for teacher preparation programs (TPPs). In the short to medium term, however, we contend that the evidence base underlying the USED regulations is nowhere near sufficient to guide a national effort toward high-stakes TPP accountability.
This is a situation in which the familiar refrain of “it’s imperfect but better than nothing” is false, and rushing into nationwide design and implementation could be quite harmful.