Teacher Preparation Programs Must Raise the Bar


Reposted from the National Council on Teacher Quality 2014 Teacher Prep Report:

“The NCTQ Teacher Prep Review 2014 shows far more needs to be done to expand the pool of teachers properly prepared to meet the challenges of the contemporary American classroom. In the graphic below, the mountain of low achievers on the left overshadows the sliver of high achievers on the right, making the distribution resemble a steep dive more than a bell curve. Still, an upsurge in quality has begun. It is good news indeed to be able to report some movement, however spotty, given the many attempts to improve teacher preparation that never even got off the ground.

Of the 1,668 programs (housed in 836 institutions) ranked in the Review, only 26 elementary programs and 81 secondary programs make NCTQ’s lists of Top Ranked programs. Seventeen states and the District of Columbia are without a Top Ranked program in either elementary or secondary education. There is much more work to do to ensure that future teachers are ready to lead the classroom when they graduate. Among the Top Ranked programs are 68 programs housed in public institutions that offer aspiring teachers an opportunity to enter the profession without overloading themselves with debt. Indeed, the fact that the Top Ranked list is dominated by institutions not traditionally considered elite or “high status” is telling. A number of programs worked hard and at lightning speed (within the context of the normal pace of higher education) to achieve Top Ranked status this year. Ohio, Tennessee and Texas — the last state the site of our first comprehensive statewide study on teacher prep in 2010 — are the three states with the most Top Ranked programs.

Three out of four programs fail even to insist that applicants be in the top half of the college-going population, a modest academic standard. One encouraging sign: nine institutions raised their admission standards after the release of the first edition of the Review. This issue is also being tackled at the state level, with two states — Delaware and Rhode Island — requiring their programs to raise the bar on admissions. The related situation of a low bar for performance will be addressed in more depth this fall, when NCTQ releases a new examination of how common it is for candidates to complete teacher preparation earning much higher grades than their peers on the same campus.

Ten institutions had both an elementary and a secondary program on the lists of Top Ranked programs: Arizona State University, Miami University of Ohio, CUNY-Hunter College (NY), Dallas Baptist University (TX), Eastern Connecticut State University, Fort Hays State University (KS), Lipscomb University (TN), The Ohio State University (GO BUCKEYES!), the University of Houston (TX), and Western Governors University (UT).” 

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