November 2020 Committee on School Initiatives Item 7

Review of Proposed Amendments to 19 TAC Chapter 229, Accountability System for Educator Preparation Programs

November 20, 2020

COMMITTEE ON SCHOOL INITIATIVES: ACTION
STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION: ACTION

SUMMARY: This item provides the State Board of Education (SBOE) an opportunity to review the State Board for Educator Certification (SBEC) rule actions that would make amendments to 19 Texas Administrative Code (TAC) Chapter 229, Accountability System for Educator Preparation Programs. Chapter 229 establishes the performance standards and procedures for educator preparation program (EPP) accountability. The proposed amendments would provide for adjustments to the 2019–2020 Accountability System for Educator Preparation (ASEP) due to Governor Abbott's disaster declaration related to COVID-19; would include an accountability indicator for EPPs based on the improvement in achievement of students taught by beginning teachers; would provide an index for the determination of EPP accreditation status; and would provide updates to the ASEP manual.

STATUTORY AUTHORITY: Texas Education Code (TEC), §§21.041(a), (b)(1), and (d); 21.043(b) and (c), as amended by Senate Bill (SB) 1839, 85th Texas Legislature, Regular Session, 2017; 21.0441(c) and (d); 21.0443; 21.045, as amended by SB 1839, 85th Texas Legislature, Regular Session, 2017; 21.0451; and 21.0452.

TEC, §21.041(a), allows the SBEC to adopt rules as necessary for its own procedures.

TEC, §21.041(b)(1), requires the SBEC to propose rules that provide for the regulation of educators and the general administration of the TEC, Chapter 21, Subchapter B, in a manner consistent with the TEC, Chapter 21, Subchapter B.

TEC, §21.041(d), states that the SBEC may adopt a fee for the approval and renewal of approval of an EPP, for the addition of a certificate or field of certification, and to provide for the administrative cost of appropriately ensuring the accountability of EPPs.

TEC, §21.043(b) and (c), as amended by SB 1839, 85th Texas Legislature, Regular Session, 2017, require SBEC to provide EPPs with data, as determined in coordination with stakeholders, based on information reported through the Public Education Information Management System (PEIMS) that enables an EPP to assess the impact of the program and revise the program as needed to improve.

TEC, §21.0441(c) and (d), require the SBEC to adopt rules setting certain admission requirements for EPPs.

TEC, §21.0443, states that the SBEC shall propose rules to establish standards to govern the approval or renewal of approval of EPPs and certification fields authorized to be offered by an EPP. To be eligible for approval or renewal of approval, an EPP must adequately prepare candidates for educator certification and meet the standards and requirements of the SBEC. The SBEC shall require that each EPP be reviewed for renewal of approval at least every five years. The SBEC shall adopt an evaluation process to be used in reviewing an EPP for renewal of approval.

TEC, §21.045, as amended by SB 1839, 85th Texas Legislature, Regular Session, 2017, states that the board shall propose rules establishing standards to govern the approval and continuing accountability of all EPPs.

TEC, §21.0451, states that the SBEC shall propose rules for the sanction of EPPs that do not meet accountability standards and shall annually review the accreditation status of each EPP. The costs of technical assistance required under TEC, §21.0451(a)(2)(A), or the costs associated with the appointment of a monitor under TEC, §21.0451(a)(2)(C), shall be paid by the sponsor of the EPP.

TEC, §21.0452, states that to assist persons interested in obtaining teaching certification in selecting an EPP and assist school districts in making staffing decisions, the SBEC shall make certain specified information regarding educator programs in this state available to the public through the SBEC's Internet website.

The full text of statutory citations can be found in the statutory authority section of this agenda.

PREVIOUS BOARD ACTION: None.

BACKGROUND INFORMATION AND JUSTIFICATION: EPPs are entrusted to prepare educators for success in the classroom. TEC, §21.0443, requires EPPs to adequately prepare candidates for certification. Similarly, TEC, §21.031, requires the SBEC to ensure candidates for certification demonstrate the knowledge and skills necessary to improve the performance of the diverse student population of this state. TEC, §21.045, also requires SBEC to establish standards to govern the continuing accountability of all EPPs. The SBEC rules in 19 TAC Chapter 229 establish the process used for issuing annual accreditation ratings for all EPPs to comply with these provisions of the TEC and to ensure the highest level of educator preparation, which is specified in the SBEC Mission Statement.

At the December 2018 SBEC meeting, Texas Education Agency (TEA) staff presented several topics and received direction from the SBEC to inform potential rule changes to Chapter 229 in the future. At that time, TEA staff informed the SBEC that staff would be working to explore opportunities for adjustments to the comprehensive accountability system to increase consistency and transparency. In addition to SBEC input and direction, TEA staff have worked with stakeholders to solicit feedback regarding potential options for the SBEC's consideration.

At the May 2020 SBEC meeting, TEA staff presented draft rule text and the SBEC directed staff to solicit additional stakeholder input on issues related to public comment received regarding the weighting of ASEP Indicator 1b, certification examination results for non-PPR exams, and the indexing system. Staff hosted a meeting with stakeholders on May 15 and gathered feedback on these issues. Public testimony at the July 24, 2020 meeting voiced support for the amendments as proposed.

Following is a description of the topics for the SBEC's consideration for proposed amendments to 19 TAC Chapter 229 presented in the attachments. In addition to the detailed descriptions below, the proposed amendments would also remove outdated provisions related to the 2018–2019 academic year; would provide edits to the manual to address the 2019–2020 reporting year; would provide technical clean-up edits for clarification; and would provide relettering/renumbering to conform with the Texas Register style and formatting requirements.

§229.1. General Provisions and Purpose of Accountability System for Educator Preparation Programs.

Update on Scope of ASEP Manual

The proposed amendment to §229.1(c) would strike the reference to subsection (a) of §229.4 in favor of a broader reference to §229.4 as a whole to clarify that the relevant criteria, formulas, and calculations relevant to all of §229.4 are contained in Figure: 19 TAC §229.1(c).

ASEP Manual

The proposed changes to Figure: 19 TAC §229.1(c) would update the ASEP manual. Updates to the ASEP manual would provide transparency to the field as to the calculations used to determine accreditation statuses. These updates were developed in conference with the Data Working Group. The following is a chapter-by-chapter summary of the proposed changes to Figure: 19 TAC §229.1(c), the ASEP manual.

On the cover page and in the chapters, dates and years would be updated to align with the 2019–2020 reporting year. The table of contents would be updated to match the new page numbers and to be simplified for readability.

Chapter 1 would include a sentence in the About this Manual section describing the new content included in Chapter 9. The sections describing the Educator Preparation Advisory Committee and Educator Preparation Data Workgroup would be removed, as they are authorized by SBEC action, not by the ASEP manual.

Chapter 4 describes the calculations related to the appraisal of first-year teachers by administrators. A sentence noting the pilot year would be removed as it is not necessary for the purpose of the manual. In the Scoring Approach section, sentences describing the development of the scoring approach would be removed as they are not necessary for the purpose of the manual.

Chapter 5 describes the calculations related to the improvement in student achievement indicator. The existing placeholder text would be removed, and the description of how the indicator is calculated would be added. This would include an overview of the indicator, a description of the individuals included in the calculation, a description of the assessments included in the calculation, the scoring approach, special methodological considerations, and a worked example.

Chapter 6 describes the calculations related to the field supervision indicator. A sentence limiting the population would be removed as it is duplicative of rule text. The worked example would be updated to remove the observation date because it is not necessary for the example and to simplify future updates to the manual.

Chapter 7 describes the calculations related to new teacher satisfaction. A sentence noting the pilot year would be removed as it is not necessary for the purpose of the manual. Verb tense would be updated to agree with the pattern elsewhere in the manual.

Chapter 8 describes the calculations related to the EPP commendations. Language would be added to align with newly proposed 19 TAC §229.1(d).

New Chapter 9 would be added and would contain the calculations related to the ASEP Index system. This new chapter would include an overview of the ASEP Index system, a description of the calculation approach, a description of the weights, and a worked example.

At the May 1, 2020 meeting of the SBEC and in the May 15, 2020 stakeholder feedback session, there was discussion about the weighting of Indicator 1b, certification examination results for non-PPR exams. Weights within the ASEP Index have been developed based on stakeholder feedback over the past two years. There has been feedback from EPPs, including alternative certification programs and traditional undergraduate institutions, to adjust the weight of Indicator 1b. A plurality of feedback at the May 15, 2020 stakeholder meeting endorsed this recommendation, and subsequently the weight has been adjusted in the manual text. Additionally, at the May 1, 2020 meeting of the SBEC and feedback from stakeholders, there were concerns about the clarity of Chapter 5. The text was updated to better describe the individuals included and to use more consistent language throughout.

Limitation on Eligibility for EPP Commendations

The proposed amendment in §229.1(d) would clarify that EPPs that were under an active SBEC order or other TEA or SBEC sanction would be disqualified from receiving a commendation. This amendment would address comments received from the SBEC at the February 2020 meeting expressing concern that the SBEC sent mixed signals when it simultaneously commended a program that is sanctioned by the SBEC.

§229.4. Determination of Accreditation Status.

The proposed amendment to §229.4(a) would provide that the 2019–2020 academic year data for the performance indicators would be reported to EPPs but not be used for accountability purposes. The governor declared a state of disaster on March 13, 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic that caused many campuses, facilities, and services to close during the disaster period and impacted the collection of relevant data and the opportunity for EPPs to meet these accountability measures. This amendment would prevent EPPs from being subject to accountability ratings based on data from the 2019–2020 academic year, which are partial and incomplete. The proposed changes would also include a technical edit to clarify that paragraphs (1)–(5) of §229.4(a) set out the indicators on which EPP accreditation statuses are based.

Exception for Inclusion of Candidates Certified on the Governor's Disaster Waiver

The proposed amendment in §229.4(a)(1)(B) would exempt candidates issued a probationary certificate without the appropriate certification exams under the governor's waiver from the calculation of the ASEP pass rates for the 2020–2021 academic year. This would keep EPPs from being held accountable for the test performance of individuals who have already completed the program long before they test, preventing EPPs from being able to require that the individuals have done sufficient preparation immediately prior to the examination to ensure success on the test.

Technical and Clean-up Amendments

Proposed amendments in §229.4(a)(2) and §229.4(a)(5) would delete outdated provisions designating the 2018–2019 academic year as report-only for data related to these indicators.

Proposed amendments to the definition of the performance standards in §229.4(a)(2), (3), (4)(B), and (5) would provide technical edits to clarify the performance standard for each of these indicators, combining the description of the methodology with the specific percentage required to pass into a single sentence to avoid confusion.

ASEP Indicator Based on Student Growth

A proposed amendment in §229.4(a)(3) would also update the rule text to implement the ASEP Indicator based on student growth. The relevant student-level calculations are completed as part of the Kindergarten–Grade 12 accountability ratings, and the relevant teacher and EPP calculations are described in Figure: 19 TAC §229.1(c). These amendments and methods would update the ASEP system to comply with the statutory mandate in TEC, §21.045(a)(3). Based on feedback from the SBEC and stakeholders, the wording in §229.4(a)(3) was updated for the July 24, 2020 meeting to stipulate that this indicator will become actionable only after two years of data after the 2019–2020 academic year have been available and reported to the field as “report only” data.

This indicator, the related methodology, the related performance standard, and the related timeline for implementation were developed in conference with the Indicator 3 working group, an ad hoc stakeholder group consisting of representatives from EPPs, educator organizations, representatives from higher education, and other nonprofit groups. TEA also conferred with the Data Working Group in the development of the indicator.

Determination of Accreditation Status

The proposed amendment to §229.4(b) would clarify that for the 2020–2021 academic year, the recommended accreditation status would be the more favorable outcome of the index system described in the proposed new §229.4(b)(1)(A)–(D) or the existing system, relettered to §229.4(b)(2)(A)–(D) for each EPP.

Proposed new §229.4(b)(1) would clarify that beginning in the 2020–2021 academic year, the relevant calculations for the ASEP Index system are contained in the ASEP manual, Figure: 19 TAC §229.1(c), and in compliance with SBEC rules and the TEC. This would provide transparency to the field and policymakers in how the accreditation statuses are assigned.

Proposed new §229.4(b)(1)(A)–(D) would prescribe the new system of the determination of accreditation status assignment. The proposed rule sets 80% of possible points as threshold score for Accredited—Probation status as suggested by stakeholders and in an effort to ensure that the index system created a similar number of programs on Accredited—Probation status to the number on Accredited—Probation status in the current system. The proposed rule sets 85% of possible points as the threshold score for Accredited—Warned status in response to stakeholder comment and to identify programs that are in danger of slipping into Accredited—Probation status in coming years without introducing additional challenges for programs that are effectively engaged in improvement. Specifically, the proposed amendments are as follows.

  • New §229.4(b)(1)(A) would assign an EPP a status of Accredited if they meet the standard of 85% of the possible points for the academic year in the ASEP Index system.
     
  • New §229.4(b)(1)(B) would assign an EPP a status of Accredited—Not Rated prior to the accumulation of data necessary for determining a rating.
     
  • New §229.4(b)(1)(C)(i) would assign an EPP a status of Accredited—Warned if they accumulate 80% or more but less than 85% of the possible points for the academic year in the ASEP Index system.
     
  • New §229.4(b)(1)(C)(ii) would maintain the current provisions now reflected in proposed renumbered §229.4(b)(2)(C)(ii) that states an EPP may be assigned a status of Accredited—Warned for violations of rule, order, and/or statute.
     
  • New §229.4(b)(1)(D)(i) would assign an EPP a status of Accredited—Probation if they accumulate less than 80% of the possible points for the year in the ASEP Index system.
     
  • New §229.4(b)(1)(D)(ii) would maintain language of proposed renumbered §229.4(b)(2)(D)(ii) stating that an EPP may be assigned a status of Accredited—Probation for violations of rule, order, and/or statute.

Proposed amended and renumbered §229.4(b)(2) would retain the current accreditation status assignment provisions based on the performance standards described in §229.4(a) and in compliance with SBEC rules, orders, and/or TEC, Chapter 21. Per proposed §229.4(b), this method for the determination of accreditation statuses would be assessed in the 2020–2021 academic year, and the recommended accreditation status for the EPP would be the more favorable outcome of this method or the index method in proposed new §229.4(b)(1). The proposed amendment in §229.4(b)(1)–(4) would be renumbered to subsection (b)(2)(A)–(D) for technical formatting purposes.

The proposed amendment would also renumber §229.4(b)(5) to §229.4(b)(3) for technical formatting purposes.

Proposed new §229.4(b)(4) would provide an accreditation status of Not Rated: Declared State of Disaster for the 2019–2020 academic year for all EPPs. This status is based on the governor's declaration of disaster on March 13, 2020, due to COVID-19. This new status would limit the impact of test center closures, local educational agency (LEA) closures, and survey waivers on EPP accreditation statuses. The proposed new subsection would also prescribe that the 2019–2020 Not Rated: Declared State of Disaster status shall not interrupt consecutively measured years or next most recent years and would not be included in any count of years related to the ASEP system. Additionally, the proposed new subsection would prescribe that the ASEP status that each EPP was assigned by the SBEC for the 2018–2019 academic year would be the operative accreditation status for purposes prescribed in 19 TAC Chapter 228, Requirements for Educator Preparation Programs.

The attachments reflect the proposed rule text changes.

SBOE Review of Proposed SBEC Rules

Under the TEC, §21.042, the SBEC must submit a written copy of each rule it proposes to adopt to the SBOE for review. The SBOE may reject the proposed rule by a vote of at least two-thirds of the members of the SBOE present and voting but may not modify a rule.

FISCAL IMPACT: No changes have been made to this section since published as proposed. The TEA staff has determined that there is no additional fiscal impact on state or local governments and that there are no additional costs to entities required to comply with the proposal.

LOCAL EMPLOYMENT IMPACT: No changes have been made to this section since published as proposed. The proposal has no effect on local economy; therefore, no local employment impact statement is required under Texas Government Code (TGC), §2001.002.

SMALL BUSINESS, MICROBUSINESS, AND RURAL COMMUNITY IMPACT: No changes have been made to this section since published as proposed. The proposal has no direct adverse economic impact for small businesses, microbusinesses, or rural communities; therefore, no regulatory flexibility analysis, specified in TGC, §2006.002, is required.

COST INCREASE TO REGULATED PERSONS: No changes have been made to this section since published as proposed. The proposal does not impose a cost on regulated persons, another state agency, a special district, or a local government and, therefore, is not subject to TGC, §2001.0045.

TAKINGS IMPACT ASSESSMENT: No changes have been made to this section since published as proposed. The proposal does not impose a burden on private real property and, therefore, does not constitute a taking under TGC, §2007.043.

GOVERNMENT GROWTH IMPACT: No changes have been made to this section since published as proposed. The TEA staff prepared a Government Growth Impact Statement assessment for this proposed rulemaking. During the first five years the proposed rulemaking would be in effect, it would not create or eliminate a government program; would not require the creation of new employee positions or elimination of existing employee positions; would not require an increase or decrease in future legislative appropriations to the agency; would not require an increase or decrease in fees paid to the agency; would not create a new regulation; would not expand, limit, or repeal an existing regulation; would not increase or decrease the number of individuals subject to its applicability; and would not positively or adversely affect the state's economy.

PUBLIC BENEFIT AND COST TO PERSONS: No changes have been made to this section since published as proposed. The public benefit anticipated as a result of the proposed amendments would be an accountability system that informs the public of the quality of educator preparation provided by each SBEC-approved EPP. There is no anticipated cost to persons who are required to comply with the proposal.

DATA AND REPORTING IMPACT: No changes have been made to this section since published as proposed. The proposal would have no new data and reporting impact.

PRINCIPAL AND CLASSROOM TEACHER PAPERWORK REQUIREMENTS: No changes have been made to this section since published as proposed. The TEA staff has determined that the proposal would not require a written report or other paperwork to be completed by a principal or classroom teacher.

PUBLIC COMMENTS: In accordance with the SBEC rulemaking process, a summary of comments received by the SBEC on its proposed rules is shared with the SBOE under separate cover prior to this SBOE meeting.

MOTION TO BE CONSIDERED: The State Board of Education:

Take no action on the proposed amendments to 19 TAC Chapter 229, Accountability System for Educator Preparation Programs.

Staff Members Responsible:
Ryan Franklin, Associate Commissioner, Educator Leadership and Quality
Mark Olofson, Director, Educator Data and Preparation Program Management
LaCole Foots, Data Analyst, Educator Data and Program Accountability

Attachment I:
Text of Proposed Amendments to 19 TAC Chapter 229, Accountability System for Educator Preparation Programs

Attachment II:
Figure: 19 TAC §229.1(c)