Wednesday, September 30, 2015

‘Best Value’ ratings of colleges of education across the U.S.

Today, the National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ) released its ‘Best Value’ ratings of colleges of education across the U.S.—the first time that a national education policy organization has conducted a comprehensive 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 this week 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.

About the National Council on Teacher Quality

The National Council on Teacher Quality is a non-partisan research and policy group committed to restructuring the teaching profession based on the belief that all children deserve effective teachers. We recognize that it is not teachers who bear responsibility for their profession's many challenges, but the institutions with the greatest authority and influence over teachers. To that end we work to achieve fundamental changes in the policy and practices of teacher preparation programs, school districts, state governments, and teachers unions. Our Board of Directors and Advisory Board come from a broad range of backgrounds and perspectives, and they all believe that policy changes are overdue in the recruitment and retention of teachers. More information about NCTQ can be found on the NCTQ website,  

2015 Top 25 ‘Best Value’ U.S. Colleges of Education

Western Governors University
CUNY - Hunter College
CUNY - Brooklyn College
CUNY - Hunter College
CUNY - York College
Fort Hays State University
Henderson State University
CUNY - Hunter College
Montclair State University
University of California - Los Angeles
University of California - Irvine
College of William and Mary
Northwestern State University of Louisiana
Southeastern Louisiana University
Lipscomb University
University of California - San Diego
CUNY - Hunter College
Austin Peay State University
University of Houston
University of Arkansas at Monticello
Northwestern State University of Louisiana
Utah Valley University
Texas A&M University
SUNY College at Old Westbury
University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma

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