Today, the National Council on Teacher Quality released their first-ever review of U.S. teacher preparation programs.
This national study, which looked at more than 1,100 undergraduate and graduate programs across the country, is the first of its kind to evaluate and rank programs based on a variety of factors, including admissions selectivity, content preparation, skills preparation (including classroom management), the quality of student teaching and the use of outcomes and data.
Programs were rated between zero and four stars. Programs earning three or more stars were awarded a spot on the “honor roll.” Only 104 of the more than 1,100 programs national met that standard. On the opposite end of the spectrum, NCTQ also gave some programs a “consumer alert” warning. This indicates that the program rated so low that it received no stars when measured against their quality standards. Sadly, 163 programs received a consumer alert.
In New York, 84 institutions offering 203 undergraduate and graduate programs were included in the review. Eleven of those programs received a consumer alert. Even those programs that avoided the lowest ranking were in general poorly review, indicating that more often than not, teacher preparation programs are not providing novice teachers with either the content knowledge or the skills needed to enter the classroom and be successful. And both novice teachers and their students are paying the price for that failure.
The news for New York included some high points as well. Eight of the reviewed New York programs were awarded spots on the honor roll, earning three or more stars for the quality of their programs. CUNY’s programs at Hunter College not only has several highly ranked programs, but is the only institution in the review, in New York or nationally, that has three highly rated programs housed in the same institution. Hunter’s School of Education’s dean is Dr. David Steiner, the former New York Commissioner of Education, who is recognized in the acknowledgments “for being the first to identify viable methods for assessing the quality of teacher preparation programs.”
Here at NYCAN, we are committed to improving the quality of teacher preparation programs across the state. We know that having a highly effective teacher in the classroom is the most important factor influencing student achievement. And an important part of cultivating effective teachers is making sure those teachers themselves receive effective preparation and training.
Just as we are working with state leaders to ensure that there is accountability for schools, districts, teachers and school leaders, we are committed to working with policymakers to ensure that institutions of higher education, which produce the vast majority of teachers in the country, are accountable for their performance.
Ensuring rigorous admission into teacher preparation programs, setting a higher bar for certification after programs are completed, and linking programmatic approval and re-approval contingent on outcomes are all important steps New York can take to improve the quality of new teachers and set them up for success in their first years.
In the days and weeks to come, we look forward to further analyzing the results of this groundbreaking study, and further considering ways to use this information to improve the quality of schools in our state.