NCTQ ranks ‘best value’ teacher colleges

National ratings include affordability, teacher salary, classroom preparation.

teachers-nctqThe National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ) released its ‘Best Value’ ratings of colleges of education across the U.S. The ratings include a measure of quality that also factors in affordability, average teacher salary in each state, and the ability to prepare future teachers for the realities of the classroom.

Colleges of education listed as “Best Value” scored highest on a combination of quality and affordability factors, taking into account net price to attend school—including tuition, fees, and average financial aid awards—average teacher salary in that state and how well the school prepares future teachers for the realities of the classroom as shown on PathToTeach.

Western Governors University, City University of New York-Hunter College and City University of New York-Brooklyn College were recognized as the nation’s top three ‘Best Value’ colleges of education out of 1,100 education schools and programs examined nationally.

New York offers the highest number of high quality and affordable teacher preparation programs—capturing seven schools in the top 25 and half of the Top Ten spots. California and Louisiana each had three schools in the top 25.

Based on an A-F grading scale and standardizing measures to allow comparison (such as salaries adjusted for equivalent purchasing power), a total of 416 programs received a grade of A or B across 35 states. NCTQ has listed the top five “Best Value”schools in each state, although not all states had five schools and several had none. The full list can be viewed here on the NCTQ website.

“While there are an unlimited number of guides to help people buy products, from the right car to the right refrigerator, when it comes to picking the best college of education, one of the most important decisions one can make, people are left to fend for themselves,” said Kate Walsh, president of National Council on Teacher Quality. “We are pleased to empower future teachers so they can focus on student growth rather than worry about gaps in their own training or if they’ll be able to pay back a mountain of debt.”

Along with the top 25 ‘best value’ schools, NCTQ launched a new free search tool, Path to Teach, allowing any member of the public to quickly find meaningful, reliable information about the quality of over 1,100 schools of education that prepare over 200,000 new teachers every year.

Schools and programs included in the Best Value analysis range from undergraduate to graduate and those that specialize in elementary or secondary preparedness.

The Best Value colleges of education announcement comes on the heels of the release of a New America report concluding that when finding a teacher training program “some students faced difficulty locating important information” and a “lack of information or misinformation can hinder a student’s enrollment and graduation.”

Measures of quality on Path to Teach originated from the National Council on Teacher Quality, which grades teacher preparation institutions on a set of comprehensive standards identified by public school educators as the knowledge and skills every new teacher needs. The methodology was refined by a non-partisan group of leading education deans, professors and researchers and overseen by some of the nation’s leading economists and statisticians. The standards reflect best available research and best practices from high performing states and nations.

Measures of affordability used in the Best Value calculation came from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES):
• Data showing each institution’s average net price: According to NCES, institutional net price is defined as “the average yearly price actually charged to first-time, full-time undergraduate students receiving student aid at an institution of higher education after deducting such aid.” Net price provides students and families with an idea of how much a first-year, full-time undergraduate student who was awarded aid pays to attend a particular institution after grant or scholarship aid is subtracted from the published cost of attendance.
• Estimated 2013-2014 average annual salary of teachers in public elementary and secondary schools: Average salary in the state is considered a general predictor, as most graduates end up teaching in that state and often move schools over the courses of their careers.

Material from a press release was used in this report.

Laura Ascione

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