FAQs: Test Scores in NCATE Accreditation
As of September 1, 2013, CAEP will no longer be accepting Intent to Seek forms or new precondition reports. EPPs that are interested in CAEP accreditation should seek information related to CAEP eligibility.”

Jump to "The 80 Percent Rule" Q&A

Precondition 5.2 Q&A 

What is Precondition 5.2?

Does Precondition #5 apply to all educator preparation providers (EPPs) or only to EPPs applying for accreditation for the first time?

What is the difference between the revised Precondition #5.2 and the "80 percent" requirement in Standard 1?

How can I find out if my state has set a pass rate?

What is the difference between a cut score, a pass rate, and a state pass rate?

What happens if my EPP falls below the state pass rate?

What tests are included in the state pass rate?

What if my state does not require licensure tests?

What if my EPP has only few (less than 10) program completers?

How does NCATE know my EPP's pass rate?

What if the data posted on the Title II website are outdated and we have more current data available?

What happens if my EPP's pass rate drops below the state pass rate one year but rebounds the next?

What happens if we are unable to demonstrate a pass rate that meets or exceeds the state required pass rate?

How much time will we have to submit the report to the ARPA committee if the percent of candidates passing the state licensure test fall below 80 percent?

What information should be included in the reports written to the ARPA committee?

What is Precondition 5.2?
Precondition 5.2 requires educator preparation providers (EPPs) seeking accreditation to submit its most recent Title II report that shows the summary pass rate on state licensure tests. In states with educator licensing examinations and required pass rates, the unit’s summary pass rate must meet or exceed the required state pass rate. To meet Precondition 5.2, an online EPP must report its summary pass rates in a table that indicates each state in which completers take licensure tests. The table must include the state pass rate for each state and the percent of the EPP’s completers who passed the test in each state.

Does Precondition #5 apply to all educator preparation providers (EPPs) or only to EPPs applying for accreditation for the first time?
This precondition applies to all NCATE EPPs - precandidates, candidates, and accredited - located in states that require a state licensure test. In addition, NCATE expects all accredited EPPs to continue to meet all preconditions at all times. EPPs applying for accreditation for the first time must submit documentation for all preconditions before a visit can be conducted. EPPs continuing their accreditation are not required to resubmit the documentation for preconditions; their Title II reports will indicate that state pass rates continue to be met. For online programs, assessment data on candidates must be disaggregated for program and unit review by the states in which candidates take the state licensure test.

What is the difference between the revised Precondition #5.2 and the "80 percent" requirement in Standard 1?
Precondition 5.2 applies to all exams that individual states use for licensure. The precondition is based on the pass rate that an individual state requires. The "80 percent" requirement applies only to content examinations that are required for Standard 1. It requires an 80 percent pass rate across all programs.

 

Precondition 5.2

80 Percent Rule

Which exam does it apply to?

All exams required by the state and reported in the summary pass rate on the Title II website

Content exams required by the state

Which states does it apply in?

All states that require one or more exams for licensure and have set a mandatory pass rate for those exams

All states that require content exams for licensure

How many candidates must pass to meet NCATE requirements?

Pass rate determined by the state, which could be higher or lower than NCATE's 80 percent

80 percent of candidates across all programs

How can I find out if my state has set a pass rate?
Check with your State Education Agency to learn if your state has set or is planning to set a state pass rate. Another source is the Title II Website.

What is the difference between a cut score, a pass rate, and a state pass rate?
A cut score is the score that individual candidates must make on an exam in order to pass it. Cut scores are usually set by state education agencies and vary from test to test and from state to state. A pass rate is the percentage of candidates that successfully pass the exam by scoring at or above the cut score. A state pass rate is the expectation that the state sets for the percentage of candidates from a given EPP that must pass exams.

What happens if my EPP falls below the state pass rate?
If the percent of candidates at your EPP who meet or exceed the state’s cut score falls below the state’s expected pass rate, NCATE will require your EPP to submit a report to its Annual Report and Preconditions Audit (ARPA) committee. The report should refute the veracity of the Title II data or include more recent data that indicate compliance with state requirements. See Q14 and Q15 of this document for further details on the report. Guidance on the preparation and submission of the report is also available.

The ARPA committee will review the report and recommend to the Unit Accreditation Board that (1) no further action be taken or that (2) the UAB review the EPP's accreditation status. For further details regarding the UAB review, see The Use of Test Scores in NCATE Accreditation.

What tests are included in the state pass rate?
The licensure tests required by the state.

What if my state does not require licensure tests?
The Precondition does not apply to EPPs in states that do not require state licensure tests. Only a few states do not require prospective educators to pass a licensure test.

What if my EPP has only few (less than 10) program completers?
When an EPP has fewer than 10 program completers in one year, NCATE requires test data for completer of the program to be aggregated over the past three years. For Title II purposes, states do not report pass rates when an EPP has fewer than 10 completers per year.

How does NCATE know my EPP's pass rate?
NCATE relies on the summary pass rates posted for your EPP on Title II website for information regarding provider pass rates. The data in this website is usually several years old. Therefore, EPPs are asked to present their most recent data for the offsite review in a continuous improvement option and the onsite visit.

What if the data posted on the Title II website are outdated and we have more current data available?
The most recent data should be included in the report that your EPP will be asked to write for its offsite review in a continuous improvement option and the onsite visit. If an additional report on pass rates is requested for review by NCATE's Annual Report and Preconditions Audit (ARPA) committee, the most recent data should be presented. After an EPP shows official evidence that it meets or exceeds the state pass rate, no further action will be taken.

What happens if my EPP's pass rate drops below the state pass rate one year but rebounds the next?
In this case, an EPP is allowed to report its licensure test results over the past three years and make the case that the most recent data is not an aberrant.

What happens if we are unable to demonstrate a pass rate that meets or exceeds the state required pass rate?
NCATE's Annual Report and Preconditions Audit committee will recommend that the Unit Accreditation Board review your EPP's accreditation status. The UAB could require additional documentation by its next meeting that shows that at least 80 percent of the EPP's candidates in the last round of testing have passed the state licensure test. If less than 80 percent of the candidates continue to not meet the state test, the UAB may require a focused visit within a year.

How much time will we have to submit the report to the ARPA committee if the percent of candidates passing the state licensure test fall below 80 percent?
Reports are submitted for consideration at the ARPA committee meetings, usually held in February and September. Reports are due approximately four weeks before the ARPA's scheduled meeting. NCATE will notify EPPs of the exact due date on which reports must be submitted.

What information should be included in the reports written to the ARPA committee?
If data from the Title II website are either inaccurate or outdated, the report should indicate this fact. If data are outdated, the EPP should provide more current data. If the data are inaccurate, the EPP should provide corrected data. The data should be documented by official reports from the testing company and/or the state. If the data on the Title II website are accurate and up-to-date, the EPP should verify this.


"80-Percent Rule" Q&A

What is the "80 percent requirement"?

Do policies regarding the 80 percent rule apply to all educator preparation providers (EPPs)?

What tests are included in the calculations?

What data does NCATE use to determine whether Standard 1 is met?

What if my state does not require content examinations for licensure?

Where can I learn more about NCATE’s policy on the use of state licensure test results in the accreditation process?

What does NCATE mean when it says that 80 percent is "a necessary but not sufficient condition" for meeting Standard 1?

What if less than 10 program completers from my EPP took content area exams?

What data should be provided to BOE members when they come for the visit?

What cohort of students should be included in our pass rates? What is the annual reporting period?

Is the requirement for content tests only in areas that NCATE conducts national program reviews?

Does the 80 percent rule apply to other tests required for licensure/ certification, such as the Praxis I or the Praxis PLT?

Does the 80 percent rule apply only to program completers or does it apply to all candidates who take the test, regardless of whether they entered our programs?

How does NCATE define program completers?

Is there any consideration for small programs that have less than 10 candidates taking the specialty area exams?

How will NCATE know my EPP’s pass rate?

How will examinations for advanced-level programs such as school administration and school psychology be included in the overall pass rate for the EPP?

Where are references to this policy written in the standards?

How will NCATE count graduates who may fail the exams the first time that they take them, but pass the exams on the second time?

Is the 80 percent pass rate on content exams the only evidence required to meet the content knowledge element at the acceptable level?

Can Standard 1 be met without an 80 percent pass rate on content area examinations?

What is the difference between the "80 percent rule" and Precondition #5.2?

What if fewer than 80 percent of candidates pass a content exam in one subject area, but more than 80 percent pass the content exams overall?

What is the "80 percent requirement"?
The "80 percent rule" refers to requirements in Standard 1 for Elements 1a (Content Knowledge for Teacher Candidates) and 1e (Professional Knowledge for Other School Professionals). The rubrics at the acceptable level require 80 percent of the unit's program completers to pass the content examinations required for state licensure by a state. For national recognition, 80 percent of a program's completers must pass the state licensure test. Please note that some states require submission of program reports to SPAs and others do not.

Do policies regarding the 80 percent rule apply to all educator preparation providers (EPPs)?
Policies regarding the 80 percent rule apply to all EPPs in states that require the successful completion of content examinations as part of their licensing requirements.

What tests are included in the calculations?
Content tests include state licensing exams in academic content areas such as English, mathematics, French, and music, as well as exams in early childhood education and elementary education. In addition, content tests include state licensing exams for other school professionals such as school counselors, school psychologists, and school administrators.

What data does NCATE use to determine whether Standard 1 is met?
EPPs should present their most recent licensure test data by program in their exhibit rooms. An aggregated pass rate across all programs should also be provided. Summaries may be provided in the institutional report (IR). Data on tests for other school professionals, school personnel, which are not available on the Title II website, should be gathered and aggregated by EPPs from the respective testing companies.

What if my state does not require content examinations for licensure?
If your state does not require content examinations, you will not be held to the 80 percent rule. Your EPP will have to gather data from other assessments to demonstrate that your program completers have the necessary knowledge in the content areas.

Where can I learn more about NCATE's policy on the use of state licensure test results in the accreditation process?
See The Use of Test scores in NCATE Accreditation on the NCATE website. This document contains information about Precondition 5, and requirements for Standard 1 and national recognition of programs.

What does NCATE mean when it says that 80 percent is "a necessary but not sufficient condition" for meeting Standard 1?
"Necessary but not sufficient" means that without an 80 percent pass rate, Standard 1 cannot be met. Eighty percent is therefore a necessary condition of meeting the standard. However, an 80 percent pass rate alone is not enough to meet the Standard. Other types of data are required to demonstrate content knowledge, and the other types of knowledge, skills, and dispositions outlined in the Standard. An eighty percent pass rate is therefore not sufficient to meet the Standard.

What if less than 10 program completers from my EPP took content area exams?
If the combined number of program completers who took content area exams is smaller than 10, then you will have to aggregate all of the program completers who took the exam over the course of the last accreditation cycle (or the period for which the exam has been required) or since achieving candidacy or two years, whichever is longer. 

What data should be provided to BOE members when they come for the visit?
EPPs should present state licensure test results for the past year. If in the most current year, an EPP has fewer than 10 scores to report, the EPP should present aggregated data over the past three years.

What cohort of students should be included in our pass rates? What is the annual reporting period?
If your visit occurs prior to the 2010-2011 academic year, EPPs should use the cohort from the most recent annual Title II reporting period to report pass rates. This information is posted on the Title II website. "Annual reporting period" refers to the reporting period for the data posted on the Title II website each October. This period, and thus the data, is based on the previous year's test results. If the EPP has the data that it submits to the state for Title II reporting purposes in April and this data is more current than that posted on the Title II website, then the EPP can present that information and the BOE should use it to determine if the EPP is meeting the 80 percent pass rate.

Is the requirement for content tests only in areas that NCATE conducts national program reviews?
The 80 percent rule applies to all content exams linked to state licensure whether or not NCATE has approved standards of specialty professional associations for purposes of national program review.

Does the 80 percent rule apply to other tests required for licensure/certification, such as the Praxis I or the Praxis PLT?
The 80 percent rule applies only to content tests that are required for licensure. Tests that focus on pedagogy such as PLT or basic skills such as Praxis I are not included. However, the results on tests of pedagogy may be reported in response to other Standard 1 elements and in the national program report. Results of basic skills tests could be reported in the response to transition points such as admission in Standard 2.

Does the 80 percent rule apply only to program completers or does it apply to all candidates who take the test, regardless of whether they entered our programs?
The 80 percent rule applies only to program completers.

How does NCATE define program completers?
NCATE has adopted the following Title II definition of program completer: A person who has met all the requirements of a state-approved teacher preparation program. Program completers include all those who are documented as having met such requirements. Documentation may take the form of a degree, institutional certificate, program credential, transcript, or other written proof of having met the program's requirements. In applying this definition, the fact that an individual has or has not been recommended to the state for initial certification or licensure may not be used as a criterion for determining who is a program completer.

 Is there any consideration for small programs that have less than 10 candidates taking the specialty area exams?
Units that have less than 10 candidates taking specialty area exams must present aggregated data over the course of the accreditation cycle, or for first-time EPPs , since the EPP achieved candidacy or two years, whichever is longer.

How will NCATE know my EPP's pass rate?
Board of Examiner teams will rely on information provided by the EPP. EPPs are asked to present data from the Title II website regarding their academic content area pass rates. In addition, EPPs are asked to provide data on tests not included in the Title II data, such as tests for school psychologists and counselors.

How will examinations for advanced-level programs such as school administration and school psychology be included in the overall pass rate for the EPP?
NCATE makes two accreditation decisions, one for initial teacher preparation programs and one for advanced programs, which includes other school professionals. A similar dichotomy is required for licensure test data. The Board of Examiners team will review test scores for initial teacher preparation programs and another set of data for the other school professional programs. The data for initial level programs can come directly from the Title II website. Data for the advanced level programs must be aggregated and summarized by the EPP to demonstrate an overall 80 percent pass rate.

Where are references to this policy written in the standards?
In Unit Standard 1, the rubrics to the elements on content knowledge for teachers and other school professionals include an 80 percent pass rate at the acceptable proficiency level.

How will NCATE count graduates who may fail the exams the first time that they take them, but pass the exams on the second time?
In accordance with Title II reporting, only the last test counts if the test is taken more than once within a given reporting cycle. If the same tests are taken after the reporting cycle, then the scores will be factored into the each EPP's pass rates on a three-year update cycle, required by Title II.

For scores on tests not included in the Title II reporting, EPPs should count repeating test-takers in a similar way.

Is the 80 percent pass rate on content exams the only evidence required to meet the content knowledge element at the acceptable level?
No, in addition to the 80 percent pass rate, EPPs are expected to present multiple measures to demonstrate that candidates have gained the content knowledge necessary to help all students learn.

Can Standard 1 be met without an 80 percent pass rate on content area examinations?
No, Standard 1 cannot be met without an 80 percent pass rate on content area examinations unless your state does not require licensure tests of content knowledge. An 80 percent pass rate is a necessary but not sufficient condition of meeting Standard 1.

What is the difference between the "80 percent rule" and Precondition #5.2?
Precondition 5.2 applies to all exams that individual states use for licensure. The precondition is based on the pass rate that the individual states require. The "80 percent rule" applies only to content examinations. It is based on a national expectation of 80 percent passage, not a state requirement.

 

Precondition 5

80 Percent Rule

Which exams does it apply to?

All exams required by the state and reported in the summary pass rate on the Title II report

Content exams required by the state

Which states does it apply in?

All states that require one or more exams for licensure and have set a mandatory pass rate for those exams

All states that require content exams for licensure

How many candidates must pass to meet NCATE requirements?

Whatever the state-required pass rate is

80 Percent Rule

What if fewer than 80 percent of candidates pass a content exam in one subject area, but more than 80 percent pass the content exams overall?
The 80 percent rule in the Unit Standards applies to the unit and not to individual programs. Programs may have different pass rates, some above and some below 80 percent. But overall, in order for Standard 1 to be met 80 percent of the candidates in across all programs must pass the state test at both the intial teacher preparation and advanced levels. To have a program nationally recognized. hat 80 percent of the candidates in the specific program (e.g., English language arts or elementary education) must pass the state test.


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