Few college teacher prep programs considered ‘top-tier’ by NCTQ …

Dive Brief:

  • Only 16 out of 717 undergraduate programs specializing in teacher preparation were labeled ‘top-tier’ in a new report from the National Council on Teacher Quality, with the organization saying that these programs had solid admission standards and offered strong preparation, according to Campus Technology.
  • Half of the top-tier programs were private, with the other half being public colleges or universities. The sizes ranged from Ohio Wesleyan University, which graduates about 20 teachers each year, to Arizona State, which boasts about 800 teacher grads each year.
  • According to the NCTQ report, a primary problem among the schools that did not qualify as top-tier were “a lack of content preparation for science and social studies teacher candidates,” though the report did note that most undergraduate teacher prep tracks had strong preparation in English and math.

Dive Insight:

The possibility that many of the undergraduate teacher preparation programs may not be preparing educators well is unwelcome news as public schools nationwide continue to face a teacher shortage. A lack of preparation in science education is particularly troublesome, as U.S. Department of Education data found that science was a high-need field in schools serving low-income students
— though the data also finds a need for better mathematics instruction in these schools. Inadequate preparation could also be one of the reasons behind the low rates of teacher retention as opposed to recruitment. Educators may be recruited and begin work in the field, only to decide against continuing when they find themselves unprepared for the rigor and specifics of a teaching career.

With the report finding only 6% of institutions assume educators will continue to receive mentorship from skilled educators and consistent performance reviews underlie the fact that there is an assumption that in the early years of their career, when they are most in danger of leaving the workforce, educators will not be able to depend on strong support and mentorship. This only increases the need for support systems like teacher residencies, which may offer more direct opportunities for guidance than alternative-credentialing programs.

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