Enhancing Colorado Data Systems: Linking Teachers to Preparation Programs

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Changes in student achievement as measured by standardized assessments are rapidly becoming a principal element for evaluating teaching quality. This approach is also increasingly being used as a fundamental component when evaluating the efficacy of teacher preparation programs offered at a variety of institutions of higher education (IHEs) (Boyd, Grossman, Lankford, Loeb, & Wyckoff, 2009; Goldhaber & Liddle, 2011; Noell & Burns, 2006; Sawchuk, 2012). Recent legislation in Colorado (SB 10-036 and SB 11-245) requires the Department of Higher Education (DHE) to track the outcomes of graduates of teacher preparation programs. Moreover, in April 2012, the U.S. Department of Education’s negotiated rule making panel met to discuss newly proposed regulations regarding Title II of the Higher Education Act and the Title IV TEACH grants. A contentious issue in the negotiations was the role student achievement test scores might play in evaluating teacher preparation program effectiveness. Since negotiators did not reach consensus, it is likely the U.S. Department will formally endorse the use of test scores to evaluate preparation programs (a decision is expected in November of 2012; Nelson, 2012). Following April negotiations, several education school leaders wrote letters to the panel expressing their concerns about the process of validly attributing student achievement gains to specific IHEs.