The best colleges for teachers

Most states (33) have at least one ‘Top Ranked’ program, leaving 17 states and the District of Columbia without a Top Ranked program in either elementary or secondary education.

“This finding suggests state and school district leaders in these states need to demand programs change to better meet their needs and, if necessary, look across their state borders for the best sources of well-trained teachers,” says NCTQ.

Of the 1,612 programs ranked in the Review—an increase of over a third from last year’s Review—NCTQ conferred Top Ranked status to 26 elementary and 81 secondary programs, accounting for only 7 percent of all programs. Fortunately, nearly two-thirds of the Top Ranked programs (68) are public, ensuring that aspiring teachers have high-quality, low cost pathways into teaching.

“With only 1 in 15 programs providing first-year teachers with solid preparation, it is clear we, as a nation, have a long way to go if we are going to do right by teachers as well as their students,” noted Kate Walsh, President of the NCTQ.

The top 10 national programs for elementary teaching:
1. Dallas Baptist University (TX) (undergraduate)
2. Texas A&M University (undergraduate)
3. Ohio State University (graduate)
4. Northwestern State University of Louisiana (undergraduate)
4. University of Dayton (OH) (undergraduate)
6. Louisiana State University (undergraduate)
7. University of Houston (TX) (undergraduate)
8. Miami University of Ohio (tie; undergraduate)
8. Eastern Connecticut State University (tie; undergraduate)
10. University of Texas at Austin (undergraduate)

The top 10 national programs for secondary teaching:
1. Western Governors University (UT) (undergraduate)
2. Lipscomb University (TN) (undergraduate)
3. Fort Hays State University (KS) (undergraduate)
4. College of William and Mary (VA) (graduate)
5. Furman University (SC) (tie; undergraduate)
5. Henderson State University (AR) (tie; undergraduate)
5. Miami University of Ohio (tie; undergraduate)
8. University of California San Diego (tie; graduate)
8. University of California Irvine (tie; undergraduate)
8. CUNY – Hunter College (NY) (tie; graduate)
8. Miami University of Ohio (tie; graduate)

More key findings from the 2014 Review include:

  • 94 institutions have a Top Ranked elementary or secondary program. Three institutions can boast 3 Top Ranked programs: CUNY – Hunter College, Miami University of Ohio and the University of Houston. States with the largest number of Top Ranked institutions include Ohio, Tennessee and Texas.
  • In their admissions processes, three out of four programs fail to insist that applicants meet even modest academic standards (a 3.0 GPA or scoring above the 50th percentile on the ACT or SAT).
  • Almost all programs (83 percent) do not provide even a basic orientation in effective reading methods to elementary and special education teacher candidates.
  • 93 percent of all programs fail to ensure that elementary teacher candidates receive the math preparation they need, and over 70 percent of undergraduate programs fail to ensure that elementary teachers take a single basic science course.
  • Only 20 percent of undergraduate elementary programs require a world history course; only 14 percent require candidates to develop deep knowledge of a subject by means of a concentration.
  • Only 35 percent of programs ensure that secondary teachers aren’t sent into classrooms with significant weaknesses in specific disciplines.

In addition to analyzing colleges and universities providing traditional teacher preparation, NCTQ rated, for the first time, secondary alternative certification providers. The results in this pilot study of some of the largest providers—almost half of which are located in Texas where alternative certification is particularly popular—were even weaker than for traditional programs.

NCTQ found their admissions standards to be too low; that efforts to assess subject matter knowledge are inadequate; and that there is too little training or support provided to candidates who are asked to hit the ground running in the classroom.

Only 1 provider out of 85 earned high marks (Teach For America, Massachusetts).

The full report is available here. NCTQ has identified steps states could take to make meaningful improvements to teacher prep (available here) and has provided guidance to districts on how to identify the best trained teachers (available here).

This story is from an NCTQ press release.

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