The Department of Education (ED) yesterday proposed rules regarding teacher preparation program accountability under Title II of the Higher Education Act. These proposed rules also impact institutional eligibility to participate in the Federal TEACH Grant Program. Comments on the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) are due on or before February 2, 2015.
The affected Title II requirements are those that produce institutional and State “report cards” on teacher preparation programs. The institution must report data to the State and the public, and the State must report information to ED and the public.
ED’s stated intent is to “address shortcomings in the current system by defining the indicators of quality that States will use to assess the performance of their teacher preparation programs, including more meaningful indicators of program inputs and program outcomes, such as the ability of the program’s graduates to produce gains in student learning….”
ED believes that its “existing reporting framework has not ensured sufficient quality feedback to various stakeholders on program performance. States must report on the criteria they use to assess whether teacher preparation programs are low-performing or at-risk of being found to be low-performing, but it is difficult to identify programs deserving of recognition or in need of remediation or closure because few of the reporting requirements ask for information indicative of program quality.”
Title II assessments would determine eligibility for participation in the TEACH Grant program, which requires participating institutions to provide “high-quality” teacher preparation programs. The NPRM proposes to define “high-quality” and to limit TEACH Grant eligibility only to programs that states have identified as “effective” or higher. Many other terms related to teacher preparation programs would be defined by these proposed rules. The proposed rules would establish requirements related to the indicators States must use to report on teacher preparation program performance and requirements related to the areas States must consider in identifying low-performing and at-risk teacher preparation programs. The NPRM also proposed actions States must take with respect to low-performing programs and programs at risk of becoming low-performing.
The NPRM makes other changes to the TEACH Grant program, including the agreement to serve. Currently, a TEACH Grant recipient must complete his or her service obligation by teaching in a field that is identified as “high-need” at the time the recipient begins teaching in that field. Under the proposed rules, teaching service performed on or after July 1, 2010, would also count towards satisfying the service obligation if the field was identified as high-need when the grant recipient signed the agreement to serve or received the TEACH Grant, even if that field subsequently loses its high-need designation.
The proposed rules also establish a minimum percentage of TEACH recipients who complete at least one year of the service obligation within three years after completing the program, as a requirement for science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM) programs to continue to participate in the TEACH Grant program.
For full details, be sure to read through the preamble as well as the actual proposed rule language.
Publication Date: 12/4/2014