licensure requirements on teacher education curricula and to examine the conditions under which tests are used. Given currently available data on the impact of initial licensure tests on teacher education programs, it is unclear whether and under what conditions licensure tests can and do improve teacher education.

HOLDING STATES AND HIGHER EDUCATION INSTITUTIONS ACCOUNTABLE

In 1998 Congress amended Title II of the Higher Education Act (HEA) to promote teacher quality in two ways (P.L. 105–244). Teacher quality enhancement grants were authorized for states and for partnerships including at least an institution of higher education and a high-need school district. Additionally, public reporting and accountability requirements were established for states receiving funds authorized by the law and for institutions of higher education with teacher preparation programs enrolling students receiving aid under the HEA.

The law has several purposes (see Box 7–1). The overriding purpose is to improve student achievement. To this end, the federal government seeks improvement in the preparation of prospective teachers and the quality of professional development for current teachers. The law also holds institutions of higher education with teacher preparation programs accountable for preparing teachers who have the necessary teaching skills and content knowledge. Additionally, it encourages efforts to recruit qualified individuals into teaching, including those now in other occupations.

The teacher quality enhancement grants for states and partnerships may be used to address the purposes of Title II in several ways. States are permitted to use the funds for implementing reforms to hold institutions of higher education with

BOX 7–1 Title II Purposes

  • Improve student achievement.

  • Improve the quality of the current and future teaching force by improving the preparation of prospective teachers and enhancing professional development activities.

  • Hold institutions of higher education accountable for preparing teachers who have the necessary teaching skills and are highly competent in the academic content areas in which the teachers plan to teach, such as mathematics, science, English, foreign languages, history, economics, art, civics, government, and geography, including training in the effective uses of technology in the classroom.

  • Recruit highly qualified individuals, including individuals from other occupations, into the teaching force.

SOURCE: Higher Education Reauthorization Act, 1998.



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