Proposed Amendments to Part 25 (Educator Licensure)
Subpart C (Approving Programs that Prepare Professional Educators in the State of Illinois): The primary change being proposed in Part 25 addresses the process to be used to approve educator preparation providers and programs (see Subpart C of the rules). Currently, institutions of higher education and other organizations that would like to offer a program leading to licensure must apply through the State Board for recognition, in addition to seeking approval of each educator preparation program for specific content areas or grade spans (e.g., such as elementary self-contained, kindergarten-through-grade 12 music, grade-9-through-12 mathematics, or Learning Behavior Specialist I) to be offered. Once recognized and its programs approved, each institution must submit annual program reports that provide data about candidates, instructional delivery methods (e.g., face to face, online, blended), test scores and other contextual information (e.g., program of study, fieldwork requirements, process by which data is used to modify programs). Currently, this process is required of all recognized institutions and organizations with approved educator preparation programs. Moreover, those institutions that concurrently undergo national accreditation must submit data to State Board staff as well as to the national accreditation organization.
Under the proposed amendments, an institution that has been recognized by the State Board may choose either to seek accreditation of its educator preparation provider and any programs that it will offer from the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (or "CAEP") or to participate in a State approval process that is similar to what is currently being implemented.
CAEP is the agency that resulted from the consolidation in 2013 of two long-time accrediting bodies, the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) and the Teacher Education Accreditation Council (TEAC). Currently, about 40 percent of Illinois' 58 approved educator preparation programs use the NCATE accreditation process, in addition to receiving approval under the State system. None participate in TEAC accreditation.
New Section 25.125 sets forth the procedure for seeking CAEP accreditation. Institutions that currently have NCATE accreditation may seek CAEP accreditation through an abbreviated process or may choose to instead use the State process for approving their programs. Other recognized institutions may choose to seek CAEP accreditation by notifying the State Board at least one year before they begin the CAEP process. Conversely, a CAEP-accredited institution that wishes to return to the State process must notify the State Board no sooner than six months following its most recent CAEP accreditation reauthorization. Finally, an institution seeking recognition for the first time will go through the State process to recognize its institution and educator preparation provider (see Section 25.115), and after being recognized for a period of one year or more may choose to seek the CAEP accreditation of its educator preparation provider and its programs.
While the State Board staff are recommending that the agency retain its approval process for educator preparation programs (see new Section 25.120), it proposes to use the CAEP processes and procedures for reporting and review of all programs – regardless of whether State approved or CAEP accredited – starting in 2018 (see new Section 25.127). The State Board will enter into a partnership agreement with CAEP to articulate the details once the administrative rules are filed and in effect. Programs that are currently NCATE accredited will benefit from the partnership since they will only need to participate in one process. State-approved programs will be held to the same high-leverage CAEP standards that were developed by practitioners in the field. Further, program success will be measure not only through assessing the quality of candidates' preparation (e.g., graduation rates, test results) but also by looking at data once the candidate is licensed and employed (e.g., performance evaluation results).
Subpart E: (Requirements for the Licensure of Administrative and Supervisory Staff): In response to a request from the field, staff are proposing to allow an exemption from passing the basic skills test for individuals seeking an administrative endorsement who received their initial teaching, school support personnel or administrative endorsement prior to implementation of the certification testing system on July 1, 1988. The exception responds to the difficulty some school districts indicated they are experiencing in attracting administrators or for currently employed teachers or school support personnel to pass each component of the TAP in order to qualify for an administrative endorsement. Starting July 1, 1988, any person seeking a teaching, school support personnel or administrative certificate was required to pass a test of basic skills if they had not already done so for the issuance of their initial or subsequent certificates.
Section 25.720 (Applicability of Testing Requirement and Scores): Section 25.720(b) allows candidates for licensure to choose between passing the Illinois test of basic skills (i.e., the Test of Academic Proficiency, or "TAP") or using a minimum composite score from ACT or SAT as evidence of having competency in basic skills. The rule currently relies on ACT's determination of a college-ready score and its determination of a concordant SAT score, as well as ACT's passing writing score, which uses a scoring rubric similar to the one TAP uses. ACT includes this information in charts on its website; therefore a cross-reference to those charts was included in the rule to allow ACT to update the scores without the State Board having to change its rules. Last year, however, ACT changed the writing portion of its test and how the assessment is scored. For this reason, it is proposed that the minimum scores be stated directly in the rule rather than relying on the charts located on ACT's website, which have not yet been updated. If ACT changes its scores in the future, then staff will conduct a rulemaking to update the scores used in Section 25.720(b).
Other changes being proposed in Part 25 would:
The proposed amendments were discussed with the State Educator Preparation and Licensure Board (SEPLB) at its meeting on March 4. The SEPLB recommended that the rulemaking be presented, as proposed, for consideration by the State Board of Education.
Initial Review by State Board of Education: March 2016