June 12, 2018

William J. Mathis: (802) 383-0058, wmathis@sover.net
Marilyn Cochran-Smith: (617) 552-4591, cochrans@bc.edu
Great Lakes Center: (517) 203-2940, greatlakescenter@greatlakescenter.org

Review: 2018 Teacher Prep Review, National Council on Teacher Quality

EAST LANSING, Mich. (June 12, 2018) — The National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ) recently released its 2018 Teacher Prep Review. The report examines whether U.S. teacher preparation programs are aligned with NCTQ's standards. This alignment, the report insists, will produce teachers "not only ready to achieve individual successes, but also [ready] to start a broader movement toward increased student learning and proficiency."

Aimed at prospective "consumers" of teacher preparation programs, the report reviews 714 post-baccalaureate teacher preparation programs. These are labeled: "graduate" or "traditional" (n=567 programs); "alternative-route" or "internship" (n=129 programs); and, "residency" (n=18 programs).  The report rated teacher preparation programs using internally developed input-based standards that were applied to syllabi and course documents.

Marilyn Cochran-Smith of Boston College, Elizabeth Stringer Keefe of Lesley University, Wen-Chia Chang of Boston College, and Molly Cummings Carney of Boston College assessed the report for Think Twice Review, a project of the National Education Policy Center (NEPC), funded by the Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice.

Their key finding is that the NCTQ report does not distinguish differences between university programs and alternative routes by failing to account for broad shifts in the field of teacher education that are nuanced, hybridized, and dynamic.

In addition, the reviewers found the report to have multiple logical, conceptual, and methodological flaws.

  • The report ignores accumulating evidence that there is little relationship between the NCTQ's ratings of a program and its graduates' later classroom performance.
  • Its methodology, which employs a highly questionable documents-only evaluation system to judge and rate preparation programs, is a maze of inconsistencies, ambiguities, and contradictions.
  • The report perpetuates a simplistic dichotomy between university programs and alternative routes, ignoring that researchers have suggested for years there is as much or more variation within each of these categories as there is between them.

In their conclusion, the authors contend that the latest NCTQ report on teacher prep programs provides another example of misleading, confusing analysis which "Ultimately . . . offers little guidance for consumers, policymakers, or practitioners."

Find the Think Twice Review on the web:

Find the 2018 Teacher Prep Review, National Council on Teacher Quality here:

Think Twice, a project of the National Education Policy Center (NEPC), provides the public, policymakers and the press with timely, academically sound reviews of selected publications. The project is made possible by funding from the Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice.

You can also find the review on the NEPC website:

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The mission of the Great Lakes Center for Education Research & Practice is to support and disseminate high quality research and reviews of research for the purpose of informing education policy and to develop research-based resources for use by those who advocate for education reform.

Visit the Great Lakes Center website at http://www.greatlakescenter.org/