NAICU Washington Update

Lots of Failing Grades in NCTQ Student Teaching Report

July 27, 2011

Last week, the National Council on Teacher Quality released its most recent study on student teaching, which will feed into NCTQ's bigger rankings project.  Few of the programs examined received a passing grade, which has fueled criticism of the group's methodology.

The study looked at 134 student teaching programs across all states - two to three in each state, including both public and private institutions.  The student-teaching elements of the programs then were rated on 19 standards.  The report, which addresses just the top five standards, found that only 7 percent of the programs were "model" on all five, and that 75 percent were "weak."

The study also found that the not enough qualified teachers are willing to mentor student teachers, and that many of the programs didn't place student teachers with effective mentors, relying too heavily on school districts in placing student teachers.  NCTQ standards call for an effective mentor to have three qualities:  experience, instructional effectiveness, and mentoring ability.  Out of the 134 programs reviewed, only 12 percent met the standard.

The NCTQ assessment will be used to determine letter grades to appear in U.S. News and World Report rankings.

As quoted in the New York Times, NCTQ President Kate Walsh said, "This is shaping up to be quite a battle royale, not just between the education schools and us, but between K-12 education and higher ed, since state school officers want this information, but education schools are fighting it."

In a statement entitled "NCTQ Student Teaching Report Misses the Mark," the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE) charges that "NCTQ uses self-derived standards and methodologies to make simplistic assumptions about a complex, dynamic and evolving component of educator preparation - clinical practice," and concludes that "NCTQ has presented a report based on regressive values that do not genuinely inform either educator preparation or the public's interests."

The full report can be downloaded from the NCTQ website, with the summary ratings for all programs included appearing on page 34.

Also available on the NCTQ site is video of the three-hour program at which the report findings was released, which includes an overview of the findings followed by two panels -- one with representatives from "model" programs, followed by a five-person panel offering criticism of and support for the methods NCTQ is using in its rankings project.