Note: State data tracking systems may eventually provide helpful information on which preparation programs produce effective teachers.
A 1999 study by the Educational Testing Service (ETS) shows that graduates of NCATE-accredited colleges of education pass ETS content examinations for teacher licensing at a higher rate than do graduates of unaccredited colleges. In fact, teacher candidates who attend NCATE colleges boost their chances of passing the examination by nearly 10 percent. NCATE-accredited institutions produce proportionally more qualified teachers than unaccredited institutions.
ETS profiled the academic ability of those seeking a teaching license by determining the number of candidates who passed the licensing exam, PRAXIS. ETS divided the candidates into two groups for a part of the analysis: graduates of accredited and unaccredited institutions.
ETS examined 270,000 candidates between 1995 and 1997 who took PRAXIS II in the content area they planned to teach, and who had also taken the SAT or ACT. PRAXIS is designed by ETS and administered in 34 states. Of all candidates who took the exam, 91 percent of those graduating from NCATE accredited institutions passed, while only 84 percent of those graduating from non-NCATE institutions passed.
The difference in the scores of those who are graduates of NCATE-accredited institutions and those who are not is statistically significant; moreover, it makes a difference in practical terms. The results show that NCATE institutions produce a higher percentage of candidates who can pass state licensing exams. If graduates of non-NCATE institutions had passed the licensing exam at the same rate as NCATE graduates, approximately 7,500 more candidates would have qualified for a state teaching license. In a time of high demand for qualified candidates, this result would make a difference to school districts looking for qualified teachers.
Arthur E. Wise, NCATE president, says, “The study shows that NCATE institutions add value to their candidates’ education. NCATE institutions start with candidates with similar qualifications to those in unaccredited institutions, but produce better results. This study provides an impetus to those institutions seeking NCATE accreditation, provides an additional mark of distinction for those that have achieved accreditation, and provides additional information for state policymakers interested in improving the quality of teacher preparation in their states.”
Drew H. Gitomer, Director of Research for Teaching and Learning at ETS and co-author of the study, says, "the profession is delving into some of the complex questions about the factors that produce effective teachers. Data from our study represents an initial step in addressing NCATE accreditation as an accountability mechanism in teacher preparation…It appears that students who enter institutions with NCATE-accredited programs have a higher likelihood of meeting licensing requirements than do students with similar college admissions scores from non-accredited institutions."
You can order a copy of the study from ETS for $15 through its Web site or by calling (609) 734-5458. You may also order the report by mail from ETS at the following address:
"The Academic Quality of Prospective Teachers"
The Teaching and Learning Division
Educational Testing Service
Mail Stop 15-D
Princeton, NJ 08541