Title II of the Higher Education Act (HEA): Teacher Preparation Report

            Title II, Section 207 of the Higher Education Act (HEA) Amendments of 1998 requires states that receive HEA funds and institutions that offer teacher preparation to students who receive federal financial assistance to prepare annual reports on teacher preparation and licensing.  The Office of Public Instruction as the state's teacher licensing authority is responsible for preparing the reports in Montana.  The first Institutional Teacher Preparation Accountability Report Cards were due to OPI on April 9, 2001.

Title II has public disclosure requirements for institutions of higher education in sections 207(f)(1) and 207(f)(2). Section 207(f)(1) provides that institutions subject to the new national reporting system, i.e., those with a teacher preparation program enrolling students receiving federal assistance under the HEA, must report annually “to the State and the general public” certain information:

·        the pass rate of program completers on assessments required by the state for teacher licensure or certification,

·        the statewide pass rate on those assessments, and

·        other basic information on their teacher preparation program, all of which is explained in the Department’s Reference and Reporting Guide (see especially pages 43-47).

Section 207(f)(2) further requires institutions report this information “through publications such as school catalogs and promotional materials sent to potential applicants, secondary school guidance counselors, and prospective employers of the institution’s program graduates.”  Together these provisions mean that each institution must, upon submitting its required report to the state each year:

make information in the current report available to the public whether via copies of the report, press releases, Web site postings; and

include the current report information in/with publications sent to potential applicants, guidance counselors, or prospective employers of the institution’s program completers. information should be included in any materials routinely sent to potential applicants, guidance counselors, and prospective employers.

 

In most states, candidates for teacher licensure or certification are required to sit for a national examination upon completion of a teacher education program.  These scores are taken into account along with transcripts and institutional endorsement by the state agency involved in the licensure process.  In Montana, there is no comparable post-baccalaureate/pre-licensure "exit" examination required. 

 

Instead, students seeking admission to teacher education programs at Montana institutions take basic skills tests prior to their admission into any of the eight teacher education programs.  The paper/pencil version of the test is the Praxis I Pre-Professional Skills Test (PPST), and the computer-based version of the same test is Praxis I Computer-Based Test. These tests, produced by the Educational Testing Service, measure basic skills in reading, writing and math.  Because of the way Montana uses the PPST, our colleges and universities will have uniformly high "pass rates" in the federal Report Card as compared with other states where the exit exam is used.  According to the OPI Teacher Education Accreditation Specialist, the majority of states do use the exit examination approach or are moving to it.