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Center Ideas: Using Data to Improve the Supply and Distribution of Quality Educators

The number of educator preparation program completers in WV declined 27% between 2008-09 and 2018-19, as shown by the most recent data from Title II Reports: National Preparation Data.  According to the U.S. Department of Education, West Virginia also has reported teacher shortages in many counties and subject areas ranging from Art to World Languages (available at U.S. Department of Education: Teacher Shortage Reports).

To better match supply to demand and assess whether West Virginia is recruiting and retaining enough qualified individuals into the teaching profession to educate all students, stakeholders need multiple sources of data that provide a comprehensive picture of the WV teacher labor market.

State educations agencies often rely on educator supply and demand reports, such as Supply and Demand for Public School Teachers in Wisconsin, to address questions about teacher shortages, including prevailing trends in teacher mobility and attrition, and how districts are responding to staffing challenges. For state-specific teacher shortage data within the past five years in all but eight states, see the 50-State Comparison provided by the Education Commission of the States. And, for a scan of state practices to learn from and “stoke creativity,” see Educator Supply and Demand Reports: Lessons for States.

However, periodic supply and demand reports often do not provide enough information about the potential productivity of specific preparation programs, and do not continuously monitor key performance metrics. States are exploring ways to strengthen collaboration between postsecondary education preparation providers (EPPs) and state education agencies to address some of these limitations. For example, in Using Educator Preparation Provider Data to Inform Program Approval and Improve Program Efficacy, representatives from the Tennessee Department of Education and EPPs discuss data tools for evidence-based program evaluation. The Tennessee Department of Education generates annual EPP performance reports based on several domains related to teacher candidates’ success, including candidate recruitment; employment and retention; candidate assessment; completer, employer, partner satisfaction, and completer effectiveness and impact.

Taking this approach one step further, a comprehensive educator supply and demand dashboard could provide specific, actionable data for state, district, and EPP decision-makers to help pinpoint shortage areas and potential sources of supply. A dashboard can visualize the geographic and content area supply and demand, and monitor progress toward addressing shortages. For example, a comprehensive dashboard constructed with the help of EPPs could track students with majors or pre-majors in shortage content areas, applications to EPP; EPP potential and actual productivity by specialty, geographic proximity to shortage areas, placement, and retention.

A dashboard can provide a systematic picture of supply. It could be coupled with demand projections from LEAs to identify geographic and content areas where efforts to increase supply are needed. For example, dashboards, see Introduction to Human Capital Management System Dashboards, provide a visual representation of the implementation and effectiveness of talent management processes related to recruiting, preparing, developing, and retaining educators and a summary of 12 steps to consider in developing dashboards.


For more information and support in developing data tools to inform EPP program efficacy, contact the Region 5 Comprehensive Center.