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North Carolina Teacher Quality Tracked in New Dashboard

EQD_Enrollment_Trends copy.pngThe University of North Carolina unveiled this week a new "Educator Quality Dashboard," part of a comprehensive effort by the 17-campus public system to improve teacher preparation in the state.

The interactive online tool includes information on everything from prospective K-12 teachers' enrollment in colleges of education to retention and job placement rates, all searchable by institution, academic content area, and more.

Among the findings driving the effort: Enrollment in the state university system's 15 colleges of educations has plummeted by 27 percent over the past five years. 

"It forecasts a crisis of supply and demand for us in the next year or two," said Alisa Chapman, the vice president for academic and university programs for the UNC system, in an interview.

"Obviously, this is very concerning to us."

The hope is that putting forward robust information to the public will spur smarter policy decisions and increase accountability for decisionmakers.

One key audience for the new dashboard: A council of deans of the UNC system's colleges of education, which meets up to eight times a year. Chapman, who convenes the group, said member universities are already acting upon the troubling enrollment information. After extensive market research involving prospective education-school candidates (including high school and community college students, university students who are undecided about their majors, and military personnel), the colleges are in the midst of revamping their recruitment and enrollment plans.

K-12 policymakers, lawmakers, researchers, and the general public are also expected to make use of the dashboard, Chapman said.

"I think it makes [those audiences] more informed and certainly more engaged," she said, adding that university officials have already faced a new level of scrutiny and public questioning based on the data.

There are about 100,000 K-12 classroom teachers working in North Carolina, about 35 percent of whom are prepared through the UNC system, Chapman said.

The dashboard is the result of a year-long effort by a subcommittee on "Teacher and School Leader Quality" convened by the University of North Carolina's Board of Governors. Other recommendations from the group included increased collaboration between colleges of education and arts & sciences in the UNC system, better partnerships between colleges of education and K-12 school systems, and redesigning teacher and principal preparation programs.

The dashboard was created using visual analytics software from Cary, N.C.-based company SAS.

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