June 18, 2013
The recent National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ) report rating teaching preparation deserves close scrutiny. This report was developed by a Washington, DC based organization formed to promote alternative (non-university based) teacher preparation programs. According to Diane Ravitch, former US assistant secretary of education, NCTQ was founded to "promote alternative teacher certification and to break the power of the hated education schools." NCTQ developed and utilized its own criteria for the study. These criteria do not assess the quality of program graduates or the success of students subsequently taught by program graduates. The report was based solely on document analysis such as available course outlines, textbooks, syllabi and handbooks. The report utilized no quantitative or qualitative data such as student performance, employer and/or graduate surveys, test scores, licensure rates, constituent surveys, campus visits, or graduate placement and success. As a result, national teacher education organizations and teacher training programs across the U.S. view this report as fundamentally flawed in data methodology and results.
We at the University of Southern Indiana (USI) are proud of our teacher preparation programs and graduates. Teacher preparation at USI is seen as a university-wide effort in close cooperation with regional K-12 schools. Since its inception, USI has offered programs that focus on preparing expert practitioners who know their students, subject-area content, and current teaching practices. Through partnership with regional school corporations, teacher candidates participate in opportunities to develop through expertly mentored experiences in the P-12 classrooms. USI graduates excel as teachers, principals, and superintendents throughout the region and state. Teacher candidates at USI have ample opportunities to interact with both content and education faculty who are leading experts in their fields, many of whom are routinely asked to serve on national and international committees.
School corporations in southwest Indiana routinely hire and praise the high quality of USI graduates. USI faculty and administrators partner with P-12 school corporations for professional development and activities to maintain current, effective programs that address the needs of each school corporation. USI is committed to extensive clinical experiences beginning early in the teacher training program and is a leader within the state and nation in the development of a co-teaching model for student teaching. (Co-teaching is a teacher and teacher candidate working together with groups of students by sharing the planning, organization, delivery, and assessment of instruction, as well as the physical space. Both are actively involved and engaged in all aspects of instruction.)
USI regularly assesses and evaluates its teacher preparation programs and the effectiveness of its graduates. USI teacher preparation programs have been continuously accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) -- formerly the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE). CAEP is recognized by the US Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation as the entity to ensure and raise the quality of teacher preparation with rigorous standards and continual assessment procedures.
In short, I am proud of the job our faculty do in preparing teachers for positions in our schools. Our programs are nationally accredited and our graduates are well-prepared for their careers in teaching and school leadership. We will continue to see that our graduates meet our high standards for licensure, work in close partnership with regional school corporations to provide quality clinical experiences for our students, and remain current in the latest teaching and learning research and practice.
Dr. Scott A. Gordon, Dean
Pott College of Science, Engineering, and Education
University of Southern Indiana
We invite you to review the following documents that further make the case for taking a more critical look at the NCTQ report.
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