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Project on Educator Effectiveness and Quality (PEEQ) Developing Student Achievement Measure for Program Accountability

The U.S. Department of Education (DoE) recently announced new initiatives that focus on reforming the country’s teacher preparation programs. The administration’s plan outlined in the DoE’s Our Future, Our Teachers report is based on one underlying statement from U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan – “if we succeed in recruiting, preparing, and retaining great teaching talent, we can transform public education in this country.”

Texas is actually in the second year of its own reform initiatives and joins Louisiana and Tennessee as states changing how they hold teacher/educator preparation programs (EPP) accountable. Legislation, passed in 2009 as SB174 (now TEC § 21.045), calls for a new accountability system for educator preparation programs in the state of Texas. The accountability system includes four standards: 1) the passing rate on state certification examinations; 2) appraisals of beginning teachers by school administrators; 3) the achievement or growth in achievement of students taught by beginning teachers for the first three years following certification; and 4) the quality of the field supervision program.

Dr. Cynthia Osborne, Director of the Project on Educator Effectiveness and Quality (PEEQ), believes that Secretary Duncan’s plan is a step in the right direction.

“It is actually a confirmation of the work we are already doing in the state of Texas,” said Dr. Osborne. “Determining how EPP’s graduates are influencing student achievement can help improve the quality of the pipeline of new teachers in the state. We have an opportunity to develop an integrated accountability system that holds EPPs accountable for training teachers to do the things that teachers will ultimately be held accountable for doing. ” The Texas Education Agency (TEA) hired PEEQ to fulfill standard 3 of SB174.

PEEQ’s specific task for Texas is to develop a comprehensive metric to assess the influence of an EPP’s graduate on student achievement during their first three years in the classroom. The metric will include measures of growth in student performance, as well as observations of teachers in the classroom. PEEQ’s goal is for the metric to be comprehensive, useful, reliable, valid, and transparent. Addressing key issues with the state and stakeholders, especially issues around data access and quality, is essential.

“We’ve been working closely with stakeholders throughout the entire process and the feedback has been positive,” said Dr. Osborne. “With any new accountability system, there is apprehension, but the institutions here see a genuine opportunity to improve their educator preparation programs. We plan to provide them with information that will allow them to strengthen their programs, not just tell them if they are high or low performing.”

The Project on Educator Effectiveness and Quality is an initiative of the LBJ School of Public Affairs’ Center for Health and Social Policy. The PEEQ leadership team includes Dr. Cynthia Osborne, Dr. Jane Lincove, and Dr. Paul von Hippel. Dr. Osborne is the Director of PEEQ and is an Associate Professor at the LBJ School of Public Affairs. Dr. Lincove is the Co-Director of PEEQ and an Assistant Professor at the LBJ School of Public Affairs. Dr. Paul von Hippel is a Faculty Research Associate on PEEQ and an Assistant Professor at the LBJ School of Public Affairs.