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The Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education

Update on Educator Preparation

Members of the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education and the Board of Higher Education
Jeff Wulfson, Acting Commissioner, Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
Carlos E. Santiago, Ph.D., Commissioner, Department of Higher Education
January 12, 2018

This memorandum provides context on educator preparation policy, practice and outcomes in the Commonwealth. The mission of the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education's (ESE) Educator Preparation team is to ensure that educator preparation results in effective educators ready to support the success of all students. To achieve this goal, DESE authorizes Sponsoring Organizations (SOs) to endorse individuals for a Massachusetts initial or professional license. Sixty-nine SOs are currently approved by ESE, using an outcomes-based approach, to prepare teachers, specialist teachers, professional support personnel, and administrators. The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education's authorizes a range of SOs to operate preparation programs, including public and private institutions of higher education, school districts, collaboratives, and non-profits - all of whom are expected to meet the same expectations and undergo the same processes for review. DESE and the Department of Higher Education collaborate on educator preparation issues, particularly when the state universities are involved, to ensure educators are well prepared to promote college and career readiness, access, and success for all students in the Commonwealth. The Departments are also working together to identify scalable strategies to diversify the educator pipeline in Massachusetts.

The tables below provide specific educator preparation data for Massachusetts public universities with approved preparation programs. Table 1 provides completion and employment data for the three most recent years of data. Table 2 focuses on the diversity of teacher completers and faculty within each institution. A few points are worth highlighting:

  • Together, the State University and University of Massachusetts systems produce nearly 40 percent of the teachers initially employed in Massachusetts one year after completing a preparation program.
  • Enrollment in these teacher preparation programs is becoming increasingly diverse. The 2016-2017 data show an increase in the percentage of candidates of color completing an initial teacher preparation program in all but two of the public universities. The most dramatic increases, relative to the prior three year average, occurred at UMass Dartmouth and UMass Lowell.
  • The public universities produce about one-third of the administrator program completers each year.
  • Bridgewater State University is the largest producer of STEM teacher program completers annually (averaging around 40 completers, or roughly 7 percent of all STEM completers each year). UMass Boston, UMass Amherst, UMass Dartmouth, Westfield State, Worcester State, Salem State, UMass Lowell and Framingham State (in that order) are also among the top providers, producing at least 10 STEM completers each year.

Table 1: Completion and employment data for initial teacher completers from Massachusetts public universities in 2012-2013 through 2014-2015.

2012-2013 to 2014-15
Initial Teacher Completers
Total Number of CompletersMA Employment
(First year after completion)
Average AnnualTotal in 3 year PeriodNumber EmployedPercent Employed
Bridgewater State University3741,12286177%
Fitchburg State University11434227580%
Framingham State University14744034879%
Massachusetts College of Art22673045%
Mass College of Liberal Arts (MCLA)22673654%
Salem State University18054144482%
Westfield State University19658842773%
Worcester State University10431225180%
State University Total3,47927% of MA employed completers
UMass Total1,39711% of MA employed completers

Table 2: Diversity data for initial teacher completers and faculty from Massachusetts public universities.

 Percent of Non-White*
Initial Teacher Completers
2015-2016 Faculty Data
 2012-2012 to 2014-20152016-2017Total FTEPercent Non-WhiteAverage Faculty/Candidate Ratio
Bridgewater State University3%6%6810%23 to 1
Fitchburg State University1%4%4110%15 to 1
Framingham State University3%4%1911%18 to 1
Mass College of Liberal Arts (MCLA)1%5%1010%15 to 1
Massachusetts College of Art7%0%166%12 to 1
Salem State University6%4%333%13 to 1
Westfield State University1%5%5426%15 to 1
Worcester State University7%11%2129%34 to 1
UMass/Amherst7%10%6118%6 to 1
UMass/Boston17%18%3123%15 to 1
UMass/Dartmouth2%15%3116%10 to 1
UMass/Lowell2%12%1631%10 to 1

Additional Context

Since 2012 when the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education amended the Regulations for Educator Licensure and Preparation Program Approval (603 CMR 7.00), DESE increased attention to educator preparedness. Rigorous, high quality standards Download PDF Document were set for educator preparation, noting a shift to an outcomes-focused and evidence-based orientation to ensure SOs are meeting expectations and preparing educators to be fully ready on day one. Results of the last three cycles of review can be found at Continuous Improvement Efforts.

As a result of these efforts gaining national recognition, in 2015, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation awarded DESE a $3.98 million grant to deepen and extend the impact of educator preparation work in the Commonwealth. Massachusetts was the only state awarded funding through this opportunity. The Elevate Preparation: Impact Children (EPIC) initiative supports a number of projects that are intended to:

  • Deepen and extend the quality of field-based experiences. This includes:

  • Better collect and share data for continuous improvement. This includes:

    • Developing the Educator Preparation Annual Snapshot Download PDF Document of the most instructive data for every sponsoring organization in the Commonwealth
    • Developing new and more robust Edwin Analytics Reports
    • Facilitating Formative Feedback Reviews by an external evaluator and supporting and studying our organizations' subsequent continuous improvement efforts

  • Improve partnerships between SOs and PK-12 schools and districts. This includes:

All of our public universities are engaged in one or more of these efforts. Salem State University, for instance, has taken part in some way in each of the projects listed - either receiving funding or direct DESE support or serving in an advisory role to ESE. With funding for EPIC ending this June, DESE remains committed to continue advancing these goals in the field to improve the quality of novice educators and as a result improving teaching and learning for students in our K-12 schools and districts.

Additionally, the Department of Higher Education is supporting teacher preparedness in two ways:

  • Math readiness
    • Teachers need to master subject content knowledge and pedagogical content knowledge in mathematics. The Department of Higher Education is working with its 28 undergraduate-serving institutions to identify an appropriate mathematics sequence for elementary educators. Staff from DESE are involved with these efforts, which in turn will help support educator preparedness.
  • Elementary educator pathways
    • The Department of Higher Education, in partnership with institutions of public higher education, has developed Associate to Baccalaureate (A2B) pathways for over forty majors. The elementary education pathway was part of the A2B work and will be rolled out in Fall 2018. Foundational courses common to all programs include Introduction to/Philosophy of/Foundations of Education, Multicultural Education, Language and Literacy, and a mathematics sequence for future elementary educators. Each course will have a fieldwork component and outcomes will be aligned with the 2015 Professional Standards for Educational Leaders adopted by the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education.

Lastly, the Department of Higher Education has resubmitted a grant proposal to the National Science Foundation to receive Noyce funding to support diversifying the STEM teacher pipeline by creating a 2-to-4 year pathway for STEM majors to earn a bachelor's degree in STEM and a preliminary license to teach.

Looking Ahead

DESE and DHE will continue to collaborate in this work, to sustain and build on the accomplishments of the past five years. Effective educator preparation is a critically important strategy for improving outcomes for Massachusetts students and can help close persistent equity gaps. DESE is committed to modeling the use of data for continuous improvement, understanding the emerging research around educator preparation both in our state and nationally, and seeking additional resources to advance innovative work. DHE is committed to strengthening math readiness for elementary educators, building elementary educator A2B pathways, and diversifying the STEM teacher pipeline. Through these collaborative efforts, Massachusetts should continue to be a leader in educator policy and preparation.

Last Updated: January 17, 2018
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