Skip to Main Content

Educator Preparation Provider (EPP) Approval

All Tennessee educator preparation providers (EPPs), and the specialty area programs (SAPs) offered by EPPs that lead to licensure, must be approved by the State Board of Education (SBE). To be approved, all licensure programs must ensure that candidates have the opportunity to attain the knowledge and skills specified by the SBE, have clinical experiences in accordance with guidelines established by the SBE, and meet all other standards, procedures, and guidelines established by the SBE in Educator Preparation Policy 5.504 and SBE Rule Chapter 0520-02-04.

All EPPs must meet the standards adopted by the SBE to receive conditional and subsequent full approval to prepare candidates for licensure in Tennessee. The following types of organizations may apply for approval to serve as a Tennessee EPP:

  • Tennessee-based institutions of higher education (IHEs) authorized by the Tennessee Higher Education Commission (THEC) working in collaboration with at least one local education agency (LEA) with which the IHE has established a primary partnership
  • Tennessee-based education-related organizations (EROs) working in collaboration with at least one LEA with which the ERO has established a primary partnership
  • Tennessee LEAs or a consortium of Tennessee LEAs operating in good standing
  • Out-of-state provider that holds approval in a state other than Tennessee (requirements of out-of-state providers)

For more information on EPP/LEA partnerships, visit the Partnerships page. All EPPs must meet the standards adopted by the SBE to receive conditional and full approval to prepare candidates for licensure in Tennessee.

In order to be approved, all EPPs must meet the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) standards. EPPs may choose one of two pathways to demonstrate evidence of meeting these standards:

  • Engage in a national accreditation process through a CAEP conducted review, or
  • Engage in a state approval process through a review managed by the department.

Organizations seeking initial approval in Tennessee must have full state approval prior to seeking CAEP accreditation. Current Tennessee EPPs may use CAEP accreditation in lieu of the state approval process; however, the status of CAEP accreditation does not guarantee state approval. The State Board of Education has the sole responsibility for approving EPPs in Tennessee. The approval of Specialty Area Programs (SAPs) is the sole responsibility of the state board, informed by recommendations from the Tennessee Department of Education.

Conditional Approval (Aspiring EPPs) – organizations that are not currently approved to offer any SAPs in Tennessee must first seek conditional approval. Conditional approval is awarded based on a review managed by the department and approval by the state board. EPPs must submit a proposal that addresses each of the following:

  • Eligibility Requirements – must include documentation that meets the EPP eligibility requirements listed in Educator Preparation Policy 5.504 Appendix A;
  • EPP Framework – identifies how the EPP will address Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) Standards 1, 2, 3, and 5;
  • Primary Partnership – must include documentation of a primary partnership with at least one primary LEA partner (Educator Preparation Policy 5.504 Appendix C); and
  • SAP Proposal(s) – must include a proposal for each Specialty Area Program (SAP) or cluster of SAPs that includes an alignment of the program(s) with professional education standards and applicable specialty area standards (Educator Preparation Policy 5.504 Appendix B).

Full Approval (Current EPPs) – To maintain approval to prepare educators, all EPPs must engage in a comprehensive review. EPPs with conditional approval must engage in a comprehensive review within three to five years of receiving conditional approval. EPPs with full approval must engage in a comprehensive review every seven years. The comprehensive review process includes the following:

  • Pre-visit – EPP submits evidence for review as determined by guidance from the department;
  • Review team – Regardless of the selected pathway, the review will be conducted by a trained review team;
  • On-site visit – The review team will focus on specific evidence and metrics, required through guidance by the department;
  • Post visit – The Advisory Committee of Educator Preparation (ACEP) will review the materials and reports generated by the comprehensive review process, and recommend action relative to approval status to the department; and
  • Approval – The department will submit approval recommendations to the SBE.

Substantial Changes – Approved EPPs must report on substantial changes to the EPP or SAP(s), including changes to accreditation status, parent organizations, meaningful or significant changes to primary partnerships, the requirements for selection, structure of the program of study, clinical requirements, or candidate assessment systems.

Additional guidance is available for EPPs seeking to offer additional endorsement programs and post-baccalaureate initial licensure programs. For more information about the EPP review and approval process, view the Educator Preparation 5.504 or contact Martin.Nash@tn.gov.

Annual Reports

Each year, Tennessee EPPs submit information to the department for a report that provides information on a set of Tennessee-specific criteria, along with information required by CAEP. This data is used to create Annual Reports and includes information on five domains that each include multiple indicators related to the performance of the provider and each SAP or cluster of SAPs. There are two main components of the Annual Reports:

  • Insights Tool – This tool provides EPPs with actionable data (current and historic), at EPP, SAP cluster, and SAP levels. This tool allows EPPs to investigate and interact with multiple metrics across various domains and cohort years with detailed information to support continuous improvement. EPPs can use filters within the Insights Tool to disaggregate data by clinical type, endorsement area, or program type.
  • Performance Report – This report provides EPPs, the department, and review teams with data that can be used to inform approval recommendations during comprehensive reviews and inform the decision to conduct an interim review between cycles when and an EPP consistently falls below expectations.

For more information on the most recent Annual Reports, see the current Annual Reports for Tennessee Educator Preparation Providers Technical Guide. Annual Reports are accessible by EPPs through TNAtlas.