Survey looks at teacher prep programs
September 18, 2023
The August 2023 meeting of the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing was attended by ACSA CTC Liaison Doug Gephart, who filed the following report.
High-quality teacher preparation is a critical building block for an effective and stable teacher workforce. In California, the Commission on Teacher Credentialing currently oversees teacher preparation programs at more than 100 institutions, and these programs graduate approximately 10,000 teacher candidates per year. While the number of graduates is relatively high, many students in California continue to be taught by teachers who have not had the benefit of full preparation. In 2016-17, the number of substandard credentials issued in the state outpaced the number of new preliminary credentials issued to teachers. The state has since invested in new program models to stem shortages and strengthen preparation along with subsidies to offset tuition and living expenses for teacher candidates.
In 2016, the CTC also implemented a new accreditation framework including new program standards and new outcome measures to raise the knowledge and expertise of new teachers despite the continuing challenge to increase the number of fully credentialed teachers. As part of this effort to address the shortage of fully credentialed teachers, the CTC began administering surveys to all teacher candidates completing approved programs who were applying for their preliminary teaching credential. The purpose of the surveys was to identify both successes of existing programs as well as areas the commission can address to close the credential completer gap. Survey responses are trending to the positive as reflected in the summary data as follows:
  • The pool of recently prepared graduates has increased in size and racial/ethnic diversity.
  • The majority of completers rate their preparation programs highly.
  • Teacher residencies now prepare about 10 percent of new teachers.
  • Completers who participated in residencies were the most likely to rate their programs as highly effective, closely followed by those who participated in student teaching.
  • Most multiple subject completers and education specialists (i.e., special education teachers) reported having substantial preparation for teaching reading, writing and math.
  • Quality and effectiveness of teacher preparation programs is critical to growing the number of fully prepared teachers.
  • Lower-rated programs, intern programs and institutes of higher education, tend to offer less rigor and fewer opportunities to learn critical content and less-supported clinical experiences.
  • Greater exposure to experience actual practice leads to greater confidence in readiness to teach.
Clinical experiences are critical and are related to overall perceptions of preparedness to assume responsibilities. Not all teacher and administrator candidates have access to high quality preparation programs. Improvement in the quality of all pathways through implementation and enforcement of the CTC’s programs standards and accreditation framework is essential to ensure greater continuity among all preparation programs.
It is this liaison’s opinion that the Achilles’ heel of preparation programs lies within the effectiveness or lack of effectiveness of accountability generated through implementation of the accreditation process. While the commission does complete an accreditation of programs at least every seven years, the process does not result in a level of rigor and accountability requiring weaker preparation programs to strengthen their programs. Academic freedom among institutions of higher education does not justify the lack of compliance with teacher and administrator standards, and the CTC is the only body that can effectively hold the institutions accountable.
Roadmap to Education Careers Initiative
The Roadmap to Educational Careers Initiative has the goal of helping to guide and explain pathways for individuals interested in a career in education. This initiative is a direct response to the teacher shortage affecting all parts of California and bolsters the governor’s ongoing efforts to support education in the state. To date, the state’s investment to support educational careers includes, but is not limited to, grant investments of $350 million to support Teacher Residency Programs; $184 million to support Residency Programs specifically for school counselors; expanded funding of an additional $125 million to expand the California Classified School Employees Teacher Credentialing Programs; and $20 million to support development of additional Integrated Undergraduate Teacher Preparation grants. Given these historic and significant targeted investments in teacher recruitment and guidance into the profession, the Certification Division has identified four primary goals to support these efforts:
Goal 1: Provide education career counseling and support – Provide direct, individual and personalized counseling on navigating the certification process to help a diverse population of individuals understand and meet the requirements to become educators in California’s public schools. To achieve Goal 1, the Certification Division has created a new avenue of communication in which prospective educators will be able to get direct, personalized and in-depth assistance navigating entry into teaching through enhancements to live chat and establishing education career counseling.
Goal 2: Improve credential information web resources – Improve upon and/or expand the commission’s existing candidate guidance resources on how to complete preparation requirements and apply for licensure. Two key tools to help achieve this goal include a Basic Skills Calculator Tool, an interactive tool that outlines the eight options to meet the Basic Skills Requirement to help people understand the multitude of options available for meeting the Basic Skills Requirement. Another helpful tool is the Career Pathways Wizard Tool, which guides users to additional information related to earning the desired credential, along with resources for finding and contacting a commission-approved teacher preparation program when appropriate.
Goal 3: Improve messaging and outreach to promote the profession – Emphasizing messaging about the value of becoming a teacher and the multiple options and pathways available for candidates to meet credential requirements. Creating new, attractive and easy-to-access informational web pages with a more user-friendly focus and tone to be more accessible, more approachable and more inviting to read. Education Partner Collaborations with WestEd and the California Department of Education will use resources to jointly produce an inclusive guide on candidate funding options, including but not limited to state grant funding provided through the commission, the Student Aid Commission and the CDE.
Goal 4: Further upgrade the commission’s web-based systems – Improve upon the commission’s existing web-based systems to help expedite credential processing and ensure that potential educators can navigate the credentialing process seamlessly and quickly.
Child Development Permit Workgroup plan
The Child Development Permit Matrix serves as a foundational reference for ECE licensing requirements. The commission currently issues six levels of Child Development Permits: 1) Assistant; 2) Associate Teacher; 3) Teacher; 4) Master Teacher; 5) Site Supervisor; and 6) Program Director. Each permit level has its own set of issuance requirements that build from one level to the next, authorizing the holder to perform different levels of service in state-subsidized Child Care and Development Programs. The executive director appointed 26 individuals from higher education, county offices of education, education agencies, and public and private child development centers to serve on the Child Development Permit Workgroup, including an ACSA representative.
The workgroup will focus on the following questions:
  1. How should the current permit structure be revised to ensure that early childhood educators, early childhood education program administrators, and after-school care providers holding a school-age permit authorization are adequately prepared for their job roles?
  2. How can the state best monitor and ensure quality preparation of ECE workforce within the resources available?
  3. How should the TPEs be reorganized to align with the proposed new Child Development Permit?
The plan for the workgroup is to hold seven meetings from August 2023 to April 2024. The initial August 2023 meeting will be in person at the commission office and the subsequent meetings will be virtual. The public is invited to participate in the virtual meeting of the workgroup.
Literacy Performance Assessment pilot study
Criteria for the selection of institutions to participate in the Literacy Performance Assessment pilot study are currently being considered by the Commission on Teacher Credentialing. The pilot will include Multiple Subject (MS), Education Specialist Mild to Moderate Support Needs (MMSN) and Extensive Support Needs (ESN), and potentially PK-3 Early Childhood Education (ECE) Specialist teacher preparation programs. The Literacy Performance Assessment is intended to replace the currently adopted Reading Instruction Competence Assessment (RICA) as called for in Senate Bill 488. The new education code section requires the commission to ensure that by July 1, 2025, an approved Teaching Performance Assessment (TPA) for preliminary multiple subject and education specialist candidates will assess all candidates for competence in instruction in literacy.
The new Literacy Performance Assessment would replace Cycle 2: Assessment Driven Instruction in the California Teaching Performance Assessment. Candidates from preparation programs passing the CalTPA would meet both the RICA and TPA requirements for earning a credential. Twenty-nine institutions have expressed interest in participating in the pilot study and are requesting that the commission waive the RICA requirement for candidates who successfully complete and meet a minimum passing standard for the Literacy Performance Assessment during the pilot study.
To qualify for the pilot study, institutions will have to meet the following criteria:
  1. The institution is in good standing with the commission, and its preliminary Multiple Subject, Education Specialist and PK-3 teacher preparation programs meet all standards.
  2. The preliminary Multiple Subject, Education Specialist, Education Specialist low incidence, and PK-3 teacher preparation program is determined to be teaching TPE Domain 7 content.
  3. The institution agrees to fully participate in the pilot study.
  4. The institution contributes to an appropriately diverse pool of pilot participants that includes different types of programs (MS, MMSN, ESN, DHH, VI, ECSE, and PK-3) and program pathways.
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