The National Center for Teacher Quality’s report, Teacher Prep Program Review 2013, garnered much media hype with proponents hailing the report as a call to action to reform teacher preparation, and detractors questioning the report’s methodology and accuracy of its findings.
CEC falls into the latter camp. Here’s why.
CEC agrees that a close examination of teacher preparation programs must occur if our nation is going to have qualified, well-prepared candidates to enter into the teaching profession. So far, we are on the same page as NCTQ.
But where we disagree is how to go about evaluating a teacher preparation program.
Evaluating teacher preparation programs is challenging, if done correctly. For years, CEC has evaluated the country’s special education teacher preparation programs. NCTQ’s methodology of reviewing course syllabi on websites to determine the effectiveness of a program is an antiquated approach that CEC stopped using over a decade ago.
Using this faulty methodology, NCTQ found, of the 1,200 programs they were able to “evaluate”:
- Four programs -- .33% -- earned four stars – the highest number of stars;
- 105 programs -- 9% -- earned three stars or higher;
- 1 in 7 programs earned a “Consumer Alert” (less than one star).
As for the 59 special education teacher preparation programs reviewed:
- 9 programs received a “Consumer Alert” (less than one star)
- 17 programs received one star
- 11 programs received 1.5 stars
- 16 programs received 2 stars
- 5 programs received 2.5 stars
- 1 program received 3 stars
CEC’s evaluation of teacher preparation programs includes performance data that describe how well program candidates master the skills and knowledge for safe and effective professional practice, which has raised the bar for special education teacher preparation programs. CEC and its Teacher Education Division (TED) have partnered with the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) and other national associations to inaugurate new accreditation standards that will move teacher preparation forward in the 21st century.
It’s time to have a discussion about improving teacher preparation programs, but CEC believes this conversation must be rooted in a factual, accurate evaluation of programs. Click here to read CEC’s full statement written together with its Teacher Education Division.