“Teacher turnover is leading to a current teacher shortage as the supply of new teachers via traditional or alternative routes cannot keep up with the demand. This report by the Tennessee State Board of Education mirrors national trends on teacher preparation that not enough candidates are completing educator training programs to meet the growing demand for new teachers. The good news, more diversity, more are pursuing licensure in high-demand subjects is the takeaway, but the numbers are way down.” –JC Bowman
Latest Educator Preparation Report Card Shows Long Term Improvement in Tennessee
On Tuesday, the State Board of Education Released its sixth annual Educator Preparation Report Card, a tool that evaluates preparation providers (EPPs) in Tennessee, indicating progress on the state’s key priority metrics.
Previously produced by the Tennessee Higher Education Commission, the State Board redesigned the Educator Preparation Report Card in 2016 to become a user-friendly web-based resource for aspiring teachers, local school districts, and EPPs themselves. Since taking ownership of the Report Card, state-level data shows long-term positive trends in high-demand endorsements, teacher diversity, and second-year retention.
On the 2016 Report Card, just 22 percent of teacher candidates earned endorsements in high-demand areas such as special education, ESL, secondary science, and secondary math. However, the 2021 Report Card indicates 28 percent of teacher candidates earned one or more high-demand endorsements. During that same time period, the percentage of teacher candidates from racially and ethnically diverse backgrounds increased from 13.8 percent to 15.9 percent. Teacher retention also rose slightly, with the percentage of new teachers retained for at least two years in Tennessee public schools increasing from 91.1 percent to 92.9 percent.
“These positive trends reflect the intentional work of Tennessee’s EPPs,” said Dr. Sara Morrison, executive director of the State Board of Education. “It is through their efforts to recruit more diverse cohorts, encourage students to pursue licensure in high-demand subjects, and prepare candidates to teach in a variety of settings that we are moving in the right direction over time, even with ongoing challenges like the pandemic affecting many aspects of education.”
The 2021 Educator Preparation Report Card also shows a continuing decline in the number of Tennesseans completing educator training programs. There were 3,034 Tennessee teacher preparation completers in the 2019-20 school year compared to 3,702 completers in the 2014-15 school year, an 18 percent decrease. This decline resembles national trends seen in federal Title II Reports on teacher preparation.
To counteract the decline in educator preparation enrollment, Tennessee has launched several new pathways to the teaching profession over the last several years. In 2018, the State Board of Education approved a rule allowing local education agencies (LEAs) to become EPPs, expanding the district-level teacher pipeline. The Tennessee Department of Education also launched a statewide “Grow Your Own” initiative in 2019, which also expands local educator pipelines through tuition incentives and compensation for future educators.
Established in state law, the Educator Preparation Report Card is an annual report designed to track metrics across Tennessee’s public, private, and alternative EPPs. By assessing EPPs’ performance in teacher effectiveness, employment outcomes, and recruitment of diverse candidates, the State Board’s Report Card aims to ensure every Tennessee student is taught by a well-prepared educator.
Certain metrics in the Report Card, such as performance on licensure examinations and measures of teachers’ effectiveness in the classroom, are mandated in state law. Other metrics, such as candidate diversity and the percentage of candidates pursuing endorsements in high-demand fields, are included on the Report Card as key priorities highlighted by the State Board.
State law requires prospective educators in certain subjects and grade levels demonstrate proficiency in teaching literacy by passing an assessment. The Educator Preparation Report Card shares pass rate data on the required literacy assessment for educators seeking licensure in early childhood education, elementary education, middle grades, and special education. Prospective educators’ literacy assessment pass rate rose in 2021 to 97.3 percent from 96.5 percent in 2020. During the 2021 special legislative session on education, the Tennessee General Assembly built on this requirement in the “Tennessee Literacy Success Act,” and the Report Card will expand in the coming years to track new requirements related to literacy preparation.
Updates for the 2021 Educator Preparation Report Card include redesigned user tools such as new employment maps to better illustrate educator placement and new sorting options for academic, occupational, and school services personnel programs.
“The new features on this year’s Report Card are based on feedback we received from the Report Card Advisory Council, a diverse group of stakeholders that includes educator preparation faculty and staff, district leaders, advocacy organizations, a State Board member, and representatives from other state agencies,” said Erika Leicht, director of research for the State Board of Education and the Educator Preparation Report Card project manager. “We are hopeful that these features, along with updated data on EPP performance, will make the Report Card even more useful to a variety of audiences.”
Using the Report Card, prospective teachers can determine which educator preparation program best suits their career goals from the information provided about recent graduates’ success in the classroom. The Report Card serves local districts by informing their recruitment efforts. EPPs can use this information to identify areas of strength and challenge, particularly in comparison to other programs across the state. The Tennessee Department of Education also shares annual reports with each individual EPP to provide in-depth details that can drive program improvement.
Since the State Board of Education redesign in 2016, Tennessee’s Educator Preparation Report Card has served as a transparent reporting model for other states. Each year, the State Board of Education shares its best practices to guide other states that seek to develop their own educator preparation reporting systems.
To view the Educator Preparation Report Card, visit http://teacherprepreportcard.tn.gov. Additional information and archives of previous editions of the Report Card are available on the State Board of Education website at http://www.tn.gov/sbe.
The Tennessee State Board of Education is a ten-member, governor-appointed and legislatively confirmed board charged under the law with rulemaking and policymaking for K-12 education. Through a close partnership with the Tennessee Department of Education, the Board maintains oversight in K-12 implementation and academic standards.