Today, the National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ) released new ratings for 875 undergraduate elementary teacher preparation programs. The latest Teacher Prep Review found evidence that the nation's top programs--those that graduate teachers well versed in both evidence-based content and methods of teaching--are not all the nation’s best known elite universities, but include Purdue University, Louisiana Tech University, Texas A&M University, Taylor University (IN), and the University of Alaska Fairbanks.
Having last released ratings in 2014, NCTQ is able to report strong progress in some areas:
- Programs are doing a better job teaching reading instruction. Since 2006, NCTQ has focused on early reading instruction more than any other issue. Now we found the number of programs teaching research-based reading instruction is up to 39 percent, a sharp rise from 29 percent in 2014.
- Half of all selective programs also report diverse enrollments, showing that diversity and selectivity can go hand in hand. These 113 programs are recruiting new cohorts of teacher candidates who are more racially diverse than the institution at large or the state’s teacher workforce.
The new findings do little to quell the notion that teaching is an “easy major,” open to anyone who applies in many institutions. Only one quarter of the programs (26 percent) are sufficiently selective, generally admitting only the top half of college goers. However, a number of programs are taking it upon themselves to adopt tougher standards. At institutions lacking strong admissions requirements, the number of undergraduate elementary teacher prep programs which independently require at least a 3.0 GPA for admission has increased from 44 in 2014 to 71 today.
Other areas where programs can improve include:
This Review only analyzed undergraduate programs preparing elementary school teachers. Over the next two years, NCTQ will release updated ratings for undergraduate secondary, graduate and nontraditional elementary, graduate and nontraditional secondary, and undergraduate and graduate special education programs.