March 23, 2017

Marilyn Cochran-Smith, (617) 552-4591,
Daniel J. Quinn, (517) 203-2940,

Multiple unsupported, unfounded claims limit report on raising the bar for teacher admissions

EAST LANSING, Mich. (Mar. 23, 2017) — In a recently issued report, the National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ) advocated raising the bar for entry into teacher preparation programs as a means to improve teacher quality across the country. The report, Within Our Grasp: Achieving Higher Admission Standards in Teacher Prep, reviewed the academic requirements at 221 institutions in 25 states, and argued for boosting entry requirements. An academic review of the report released today finds the report to be problematic and lacking research to support its claims.

A team of reviewers, led by Boston College's Marilyn Cochran-Smith, reviewed the report for the Think Twice think tank review project. Think Twice, a project of the National Education Policy Center (NEPC), is funded in part by the Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice. Also contributing to the review were Megina Baker, Wen-Chia Chang, M. Beatriz Fernández, and Elizabeth Stringer Keefe.

The reviewers are part of Project TEER (Teacher Education and Education Reform), which is a collaborative research group interested in the intersection of teacher education policy and practice, on one hand, and neoliberal education reform, on the other.

According to the reviewers, the report suggests that raising the bar through higher admission standards for teacher education programs will improve teacher quality. Unfortunately, the report does not provide sufficient supports for its assertions or recommendations.

Additionally, the review find the report fails to adequately address claims regarding:

  1. The impact on teacher diversity of raising admissions requirements for teacher candidates;
  2. The public perceptions of teaching and teacher education; or
  3. Attracting more academically able teacher candidates.

The review team concludes that the report ignores a large body of research and offers little guidance for policymakers or institutions seeking to use the information.

Find the review on the GLC website:

Find Within Our Grasp: Achieving Higher Admissions Standards in Teacher Prep at:

Think Twice, a project of the National Education Policy Center, 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.

The review can also be found on the NEPC website:

Dr. Cochran-Smith
is the Cawthorne Professor of Teacher Education for Urban Schools and Director of the Doctoral Program in Curriculum and Instruction at the Lynch School of Education, Boston College.

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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.

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