SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE), alongside stakeholder groups statewide, launched a new interactive report today that provides a holistic view of all approved educator preparation programs within colleges and universities in Illinois. The Illinois Educator Preparation Profile supports continuous improvement in preparation programs to advance toward the goals of diversifying the teacher workforce and better meeting school districts’ needs.
At the state level, the Illinois Educator Preparation Profile indicates overall commendable scores for preparation programs with strengths in mastery of teaching skills and persistence in the profession. The Profile identifies the placement of candidates in high-need school districts and the recruitment and support of diverse candidates as areas for improvement. The Profile reinforces ISBE’s initiatives to promote partnerships between school districts and institutions of higher education and recruit more educators of color.
“Our Illinois Educator Preparation Profile system has been years in the making, and I am tremendously thankful to each person whose ideas and feedback brought this tool to life,” said State Superintendent of Education Dr. Carmen I Ayala. “The Profile gives us an opportunity both to recognize programs that are producing the diverse and learner-ready teachers our students need and to use data as a tool for continuous improvement. The data show us that we are on the right track with our strategies to strengthen and diversify the teacher pipeline. Several states use data reporting systems to advance the work of educator preparation programs within their state. Our Illinois Educator Preparation Profile builds on those best practices and offers the most detailed, easiest to navigate, and most transparent visual data tool in the country.
Fifty-two colleges and universities in Illinois offer more than 700 approved teacher preparation programs. Illinois’ educator preparation programs prepare teachers in 49 endorsement areas and produce an average of 5,000 teachers every year. The Illinois Educator Preparation Profile contains individual reports for each program, as well as a statewide overview. ISBE will update the Profile annually.
ISBE embarked on this significant effort to advance the work of educator preparation programs by improving data collection, sharing, and reporting starting in 2016 with the Partnership for Educator Preparation (PEP). This team of stakeholders, including principals, district leaders, higher education experts, and teachers from across the state, met regularly with ISBE to collaboratively shape this new improvement and accountability system.
ISBE and the PEP designed the Profile with potential educators and school district hiring managers in mind. They worked closely with colleges and universities to pilot the collection and reporting of data, leading to the release of the first report today.
What the data tell us
The Illinois Educator Preparation Profile organizes program information into four domains: Candidate Selection and Completion, Knowledge and Skills for Teaching, Performance as Classroom Teachers, and Contribution to State Needs. A domain may have up to four indicators, each of which has a minimum standard and a state target on a 100-point scale.
The state-level data provide insight into the overall strengths of Illinois’ educator preparation system and where policymakers can focus efforts to improve. It's also important to note that data vary greatly between programs and between institutions. The data in the first report show Illinois is on the right track with its efforts to strengthen and diversify the teacher pipeline through a focus on equity and partnerships between school districts and institutions of higher education.
Illinois’ strengths include:
- General Teaching Skills: Illinois’ edTPA maintains high standards for entry into the profession and ensures all candidates have demonstrated competencies in Planning, Instruction, and Assessment. The minimum standard is 80 percent, and the state target is 100 percent. Overall, 98 percent of candidates pass the edTPA. The edTPA is completed by candidates while they are student teaching.
- Mastery of Teaching Subjects: The requirement that educators pass a content test to obtain licensure ensures teachers have the necessary knowledge of their subjects on day one in the classroom. The minimum standard is also 80 percent, with a state target of 100 percent. Overall, 99 percent of candidates pass a content test. A content test is required for teachers to begin student teaching.
- Demonstrated Teaching Skills: This metric is based on teachers’ annual evaluations, which show that Illinois’ educators on average receive overwhelmingly satisfactory ratings. Again, the minimum standard is 80 percent, and the state target is 100 percent. Ninety-seven percent of individuals who complete an Illinois preparation program and are teaching in an Illinois public school earn a proficient or higher rating on their teacher evaluation.
- Persistence in High-Needs Schools: This metric is based on first-year teachers staying in the profession. The minimum standard is 33 percent, and the state target is 67 percent. Only 50 percent of individuals who complete an Illinois preparation program and teach in a high-needs school persist for three or more years. While we are meeting the minimum standard, we do have room to grow.
Illinois’ areas for improvement include:
- Placement: We are encouraging partnerships between institutions of higher education and high-need school districts to create pathways for educators into high-need areas. The minimum standard is 67 percent, and the state target is 100 percent. Overall, 73 percent of individuals who complete an Illinois preparation program are placed in an Illinois public school within one or two years after they complete it.
- ISBE’s $5 million Education Career Pathways Grant and $1.5 million Teacher Residency Planning Grant support partnerships between institutions of higher education and high-need school districts to create pipelines for educators into high-need areas.
- Diverse Candidates and Diverse Completers: These two metrics evaluate the racial/ethnic diversity of candidates who enroll in each preparation program and whether students who identify as members of a diverse subgroup (by race/ethnicity, Pell Grant eligibility, and/or first-generation college student) are completing programs within the standard program length. The minimum standard for diverse candidates is 10 percent, and the state target is 50 percent. Only 23 percent of individuals who enroll in a preparation program identify as a person of color. The diverse completers indicator minimum standard is 67 percent, and the state target is 100 percent. Only 84 percent of diverse completers complete within the standard program length.
- ISBE's Diverse and Learner-Ready Teacher initiative will work with all programs over the next few years to develop and implement recruitment and retention plans for candidates of color, beginning with a landscape analysis this fall.
ISBE will continue to iterate on the Profile in partnership with the key stakeholders to adjust benchmarks, add data, and make the tool as complete and useful as possible. For instance, the 2020 Illinois Educator Preparation Profile Contribution to State Needs domain only considers the placement and persistence of teachers in Illinois public schools. Future releases of IEPP will include program completers who work outside the public school system in Illinois.
ISBE thanks the Joyce Foundation for its support of the Illinois Educator Preparation Profile and the Partnership for Educator Preparation.