The Emergence of High-Stakes Accountability Policies in Teacher Preparation: An Examination of the U.S. Department of Education’s Proposed Regulations

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Using a sociological framework this article explores the emergence and possible consequences of the 2015 U.S. Department of Education’s proposed federal regulatory policy on teacher education programs and alternative route providers. After describing the key features of the policy, we examine the research literature looking for evidence of the merits of accountability policies in improving teacher education and preparation quality and outcomes. Although there is some research evidence that increased accountability measures may indeed contribute to improving the quality and outcomes of teacher education and preparation, the conditions under which this happens are not straightforward. While the stated aim of the regulatory policy, to ultimately advance student learning, finds widespread support in the education community, research evidence points to a number of validity problems with the overall policy. Of particular concern is the policy’s attempts at establishing a direct link between teacher preparation and two of the regulations’ suggested outcomes, namely graduates’ employment and pupil achievement. The policy as conceived could negatively impact program norms and resources and undermine the development of teachers’ human, cultural, and social capital. We discuss the accreditation challenges that the policy is likely to confront and implications for the future of teacher education and preparation accountability. 


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How to Cite
Tatto, M. T., Savage, C., Liao, W., Marshall, S. L., Goldblatt, P., & Contreras, L. M. (2016). The Emergence of High-Stakes Accountability Policies in Teacher Preparation: An Examination of the U.S. Department of Education’s Proposed Regulations. Education Policy Analysis Archives, 24, 21.
Author Biographies

Maria Teresa Tatto, Michigan State University

Maria Teresa Tatto, Ed.D., is an Associate Professor of Educational Policy, Curriculum, Instruction, and Teacher Education at Michigan State University. Her research is characterized by the use of an international-comparative framework to study the impact of educational reform on educational systems, particularly teacher education, teaching, and learning. Her other research interests include the influence of early childhood education on improved knowledge levels for children living in disadvantaged communities, the development of effective policies to support the education of children of migrant workers in the U.S., and the role of values education on citizenship formation. Her work combines the use of quantitative and qualitative approaches and methods. She has done research in Mexico, Sri Lanka, and several countries in Latin America and has served as a consultant to the World Bank and USAID for the governments of the Dominican Republic, Columbia, Guatemala, Mexico and Peru. She is currently the director and principal investigator of two large scale international studies funded by the U.S. National Science Foundation, the Teacher Education and Development Study in Mathematics, or TEDS-M, and FIRSTMATH a study of the characteristics of novice teachers who are effective teachers of mathematics in primary and secondary school across several contexts and countries.

Corey Savage, Michigan State University

Corey Savage is a PhD student in educational policy at Michigan State University. His research interests focus on issues of teacher quality generally. Currently, his work focuses on disentangling opportunities to learn in teacher training and analyzing their impacts on a variety of outcomes.

Wei Liao, Michigan State University

Wei Liao is a PhD student in the department of teacher education at Michigan State University. His research revolves around comparative and international education with an emphasis on the relationship between educational policy and teacher quality in China and the United States.

Stefanie L. Marshall, Michigan State University

Stefanie L. Marshall is a PhD student in educational policy at Michigan State University. Her research focuses on the role of school principals in implementing the Next Generations Science Standards. Stefanie’s research interests also include issues around race and equity in science education.

Paul Goldblatt, Michigan State University

Paul Goldblatt is a PhD candidate in educational policy at Michigan State University. His area of interest is in student success and retention, focusing on students of color

Leonardo M. Contreras, Michigan State University

Leonardo Medel Contreras is a PhD student in the Program in Mathematics Education (PRIME) at Michigan State University. His research focuses on teachers' mathematical content and pedagogical knowledge. He is also interested in educational policy and how it relates to social processes and equity.