BILL ANALYSIS SENATE COMMITTEE ON EDUCATION Gloria Romero, Chair 2009-2010 Regular Session BILL NO: AB 2086 AUTHOR: Coto AMENDED: June 16, 2010 FISCAL COMM: Yes HEARING DATE: June 23, 2010 URGENCY: No CONSULTANT: Kathleen Chavira SUBJECT : Licensing Exam Passage Rates KEY POLICY ISSUE Should postsecondary educational institutions be required to provide information on how to obtain license examination passage rates for its graduates, as a condition of participation in the Cal Grant Program? SUMMARY This bill expands the requirements that must be met by all postsecondary educational institutions for purposes of participation in the Cal Grant Program to include a requirement that would provide information on where to access license examination passage rates for the most recently available year for graduates of its programs if that data is electronically available through the Internet website of a state licensing or regulatory agency, as specified. BACKGROUND Current law authorizes the Cal Grant Program, administered by the California Student Aid Commission (CSAC), to provide grants to financially needy students to attend college. These grants are awarded to assist with the costs of a program of study that results in the award of an associate or baccalaureate degree or certificate requiring at least 24 semester units or the equivalent, or that results in AB 2086 Page 2 eligibility for transfer from a community college to a baccalaureate degree program. Current law provides that a "qualifying institution" for purposes of participation in the Cal Grant Program, must be one of the following: 1) A California private or independent postsecondary educational institution that participates in the Pell Grant program and at least two of the following: a) Federal Work-Study. b) Perkins Loan Program. c) Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant Program. 1) A nonprofit institution headquartered and operating in California that: a) Certifies to the CSAC that 10 percent of its operating budget, as demonstrated in an audited financial statement, is expended for institutionally funded student financial aid in the form of grants. b) Demonstrates the capacity to administer the funds. c) Is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, or is regionally accredited and was deemed qualified to participate in the Cal Grant Program by CSAC for the 2000-01 academic year. d) Meets any other state-required criteria adopted by regulation by the CSAC in consultation with the Department of Finance. 1) Any California public postsecondary educational institution. ANALYSIS AB 2086 Page 3 This bill : 1) Modifies codified legislative intent language regarding the California Education Information System. Specifically it: a) Declares that data from the California Education Information System will allow teacher candidates to make informed decisions about choosing a teacher preparation program by providing aggregate information on the effectiveness of teacher preparation programs and the related academic proficiency of specified subgroups. b) Declares the Legislature's intent that, to the extent practicable, the Student Aid Commission and the California Department of Education facilitate institutional compliance with the reporting requirements around licensing passage rates required by the bill. 1) Expands the requirements that must be met by a California postsecondary educational institution in order to participate in the Cal Grant Program to include the requirement that the institution provide information on where to access license examination passage rates for the most recently available year from graduates of its program for which passage of a state licensing exam is required, if the data is available electronically through the internet website of a state licensing or regulatory agency. 2) Authorizes the requirement in (2) to be met by placing a link to this data on the Internet website where an institution's enrollment and application or other program information is distributed to prospective students. 3) Assigns responsibility for certification of compliance with this requirement to the postsecondary educational institution. AB 2086 Page 4 4) Makes other technical and conforming changes. STAFF COMMENTS 1) Need for the bill . According to the author, California currently has no easy public way to compare the effectiveness of professional preparation programs in postsecondary institutions of higher education. The purpose of this bill is to make students, parents, taxpayers, policy makers, and employers aware of whether or not the institutions and programs they attend, support, and/or finance are effective in terms of student learning and imparting of the skill necessary to be successful in the workplace. This bill ensures that one measure of the effectiveness of a postsecondary education program, license exam passage rates, is made publicly available by postsecondary institutions. 2) Other information requirements ? AB 48 (Portantino, Chapter 210, Statutes of 2009) established the Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education (BPPE) to provide for the approval, regulation, and enforcement, and reporting requirements for private postsecondary educational institutions. Among other things, these institutions are required to provide information on completion rates, placement rates, license examination passage rates, and salary and wage information. This information must be disclosed to prospective students on a School Performance Fact Sheet, to the BPPE in an annual report, and be made publicly available on the BPPE web site by June 30, 2010. Under federal law, institutions that participate in Federal Title IV student aid programs are required to report information to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) for incorporation into the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS). Although the collected information is made publicly available, staff notes that license exam passage rates by institution are not currently collected or reported. AB 2086 Page 5 Staff further notes that, while private postsecondary institutions operating in California are already required to provide license exam passage rates to students and the public, this bill would impose a means for imposing a similar, but new, requirement on California's public postsecondary institutions. 3) Do licensing entities provide this information ? The Department of Consumer Affairs consists of more than 40 boards, bureaus, committees, commissions, and other programs that set minimum standards of competence, education, and skills for an array of professions and vocations. These entities regulate diverse industries including, but not limited to, nursing, cosmetology, contracting, automotive repair, engineering, and psychology. These regulatory boards and bureaus license, register, certify, permit, or approve individuals or businesses according to qualifications established by legislation and regulations. This bill makes its disclosure requirements contingent upon whether the state licensing or regulatory agency makes this information available via its website. It is unclear how many of these licensing entities currently make license exam passage rates by school of graduation publicly available in this manner, if at all. 4) Disconnect for teacher credentialing programs . This bill was recently amended to modify intent language regarding the California Education Information System and the requirements of the bill as they apply to teacher preparation programs. Teacher credentialing programs are typically post-baccalaureate programs and ineligible to participate in the current Cal Grant Program. The Cal Grant T program, specifically designed to help post-baccalaureate students pursue their initial California teaching credential, no longer accepts applications since, due to severe budget constraints, the Governor and Legislature have not provided funding for these awards since the 2002-2003 academic year. AB 2086 Page 6 Additionally, while the goal of providing information on the effectiveness of these programs is worthwhile, it is questionable whether exam passage rates are useful for this purpose. Not all teachers take the same examinations. Because of the various pathways into the teaching profession (all meeting the same standards) teachers can meet requirements by exam, coursework, or proxy (as with CBEST). Currently, through its accreditation system, CTC reviews and evaluates the effectiveness of teacher preparation programs. Under the system, all teacher preparation programs, including those that are district-based, provide information on an ongoing basis about candidate competence and program effectiveness. Programs must submit biennial reports to the CTC that include an analysis of candidate competence data and the improvements made to the program based on that data. Based on those reports, CTC identifies programs that need technical assistance or monitoring, which includes at least one site visit every 7 years. Staff recommends the bill be amended to delete the most recent amendments to Education Code 10600 and to instead insert the following: "The Legislature finds and declares that it is important that policy makers and teacher candidates have access to information on the quality of teacher preparation programs. It is also the intent of the Legislature that the quality indicators include the extent to which teachers are prepared to work effectively with all students including, but not limited to, English Language Learners, special education and socio-economically disadvantaged students. It is the intent of the Legislature that as the California Education Information System is implemented over time, access to public information already available on various measures of the quality of teacher preparation programs be available in electronic format and be accessible to the extent practicable through downloadable pages and reports AB 2086 Page 7 accessible to the public in a consolidated manner." SUPPORT Board of Behavioral Sciences California State Student Association EdVoice OPPOSITION None received.