Seventh Annual Educator Preparation Report Card Shows Continued Improvements Across High-Demand Endorsements
On Wednesday, the State Board of Education Released its seventh annual Educator Preparation Report Card, a tool that evaluates educator preparation providers (EPPs) in Tennessee, indicating steady improvements in the state’s key priority metrics like high-demand endorsements and teacher retention.
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.
“We are proud of the collaborative engagement that has helped inform improvements to the Report Card over the last seven years,” said Dr. Sara Morrison, executive director of the State Board of Education. “Through feedback from EPPs, districts, legislators, and the work of the Report Card Advisory Council, the Report Card has become a user-friendly tool for prospective candidates, school districts, and EPPs to support understanding of both the design and performance of licensure programs across the state.”
On the State Board’s first Report Card in 2016, just 22 percent of teacher candidates earned endorsements in high-demand areas such as special education, English as a second language (ESL), secondary science, and secondary math. However, the 2022 Report Card indicates 29.1 percent of teacher candidates earned one or more high-demand endorsements. This increase indicates that Tennessee’s EPPs are taking extra care to train more teachers in the subject areas of greatest need.
At the state level, the State Board of Education and the Tennessee Department of Education have taken steps to increase options for educators looking to teach mathematics, one of the state’s high-demand subject areas. Educators seeking endorsement in Middle Grades Mathematics 6-8 or in Mathematics 6-12 may now choose to submit scores on either a Praxis assessment or a National Evaluation Series (NES) assessment to demonstrate their content knowledge. In 2020, the State Board approved a new endorsement in Mathematics 6-10. Educators holding this endorsement may teach middle school math as well as Algebra I and Geometry.
In addition to gains in high-demand endorsements, teacher candidate diversity and retention have improved in recent years. Comparing the 2016 and 2022 Report Cards, the percentage of teacher candidates from racially and ethnically diverse backgrounds increased from 13.8 percent to 16.1 percent, while the percentage of new teachers retained for at least two years in Tennessee public schools increased from 91.1 percent to 94.2 percent.
The 2022 Educator Preparation Report Card also examines the number of Tennesseans completing educator training programs. After a few years of declining numbers, the number of teacher preparation program completers in Tennessee has remained consistent over the past two years. There were 3,019 Tennessee teacher preparation completers in the 2020-21 school year compared to 3,029 completers in the 2019-20 school year.
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.
“The Report Card covers three years, meaning some of the 2022 Report Card metrics were affected by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Erika Leicht, director of research for the State Board of Education and the Educator Preparation Report Card project manager. “For this reason, teacher evaluation data was not factored into EPPs’ Report Card ratings this year. We plan to resume using teacher evaluation data for Report Card ratings next year.”
Using the Report Card, prospective teachers can determine which educator preparation program best suits their career goals from the information provided about recent graduates’ employment and 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, gubernatorially and legislatively appointed 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.