I'm getting lots of reaction to the national report critical of teaching training programs at colleges and universities. The report was done by the National Council on Teacher Quality. My story on the report can be found on the Inquirer's web site at http://www.inquirer.com/local/20130618_Area_teacher_training_programs_assailed__lauded.html. Promo code is X49T.


* From James Moran, vice chancellor for academic and student affairs, Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education.

  The release of the NCTQ report is the latest in a series of discussions on the quality of teacher preparation programs throughout the country. As with others, this group has selectively chosen a set of priorities against which to rate programs. Unfortunately they also extracted selected data to reach their conclusions,” commented Dr. James Moran, Vice Chancellor for Academic and Student Affairs for the State System of Higher Education.  “ Despite serious questions about the NCTQ methodology, PASSHE applauds the goal to hold teacher preparation programs accountable for their ability to develop candidates who are ready to ‘hit the ground running’ and facilitate the success of all students in the complex classroom of today.

 “The most recent demonstration of our commitment to this goal was the PASSHE Education Summit in May of 2013.  Organized by the Chancellors Office Academic and Student Affairs staff, PASSHE and its member universities attended three days of workshops and presentations focused on addressing the evolution of teacher preparation within the State to position our graduating students to be prepared for today’s classroom. Many of the issues raised within the NCTQ process were on the agenda and updated to reflect recent program revisions in the Commonwealth.  For example, changes from K-6 certification to a new P-4 and grades 4-8, have resulted in increased attention to reading in the early grades and to the success of English Language learners at all grades.

 “PASSHE’s Education Summit featured a presentation on Common Core Expectations from Ms. Kelli Wells from the General Electric Foundation--– a primary emphasis in the NCTQ rating system.  Representatives from national organizations and other states worked with PASSHE Education faculty and Pennsylvania Department of Education staff to strategize on how to improve the student experience, to better understand  Pennsylvania’s teacher and school evaluation systems, to improve our relationships working directly with school districts, to increase the diversity of our teacher workforce, and to enhance the appropriate use of technology in the classroom. 

 “The essence of our conference was to  ‘raise the bar’ for our students and for the students they teach. PASSHE universities - Bloomsburg, California, Cheyney, Clarion, East Stroudsburg, Edinboro, Indiana, Kutztown, Lock Haven, Mansfield, Millersville, Shippensburg, Slippery Rock and West Chester –are comfortable in being held accountable for our role in improving the success of the teachers and school leaders we prepare and for the success of the students they teach.  However, we insist that the measures used to evaluate our programs need to be valid and reliable. We know we must adjust to the ever-changing school environment and we are confident that our teacher candidates will be able to meet the increasing standards of performance.

 The Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education is the largest provider of higher education in the Commonwealth, with about 115,000 students. The 14 PASSHE universities offer degree and certificate programs in more than 120 areas of study. About 500,000 PASSHE alumni live and work in Pennsylvania.

 The state-owned universities are Bloomsburg, California, Cheyney, Clarion, East Stroudsburg, Edinboro, Indiana, Kutztown, Lock Haven, Mansfield, Millersville, Shippensburg, Slippery Rock and West Chester Universities of Pennsylvania. PASSHE also operates branch campuses in Clearfield, Freeport, Oil City and Punxsutawney and several regional centers, including the Dixon University Center in Harrisburg and the Philadelphia Multi University Center in Philadelphia.

* From Andy Porter, dean of the University of Pennsylvania's graduate school of education.

"The University of Pennsylvania's Graduate School of Education, ranked 7th in the nation by U.S. News & World Report, is committed to providing the best possible preparation for our nation's educators, and we are proud of our diverse and distinguished alumni. Although the NCTQ Teacher Prep Review rated only one of our many innovative teacher education programs, we welcome any data that can help us identify ways to improve. As a national leader in educational research, we look forward to continued national dialogue on the issues."

Here's a rundown of the reaction. First, a statement from the group that oversees accreditation of teacher preparation programs. The group's criteria differ from those used by the teacher quality council.

* Statement of James G. Cibulka, President of the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP)

"Much could be said about the details of NCTQ's Teacher Prep Review, which comes on the heels of the culmination of CAEP's Commission on Standards and Performance Reporting. While the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) is still examining the report, it is important to make clear how national accreditation differs from rating systems such as NCTQ.

Consensus on Rigorous Standards

In its work as the new unified national accreditor for educator preparation, CAEP will rely on rigorous standards that are built on a broad consensus across educator preparation stakeholders, data users, and policymakers.

CAEP accreditation will strengthen the quality of evidence measuring whether programs prepare effective teachers. It supports multiple measures. It judges programs by the impact that completers have on P-12 student learning and development. It requires providers to report their performance, discuss it with stakeholders, and use data to continuously monitor and improve their performance. The bar will be set high so that attaining accreditation status will be a meaningful achievement.

Leveraging Reform

CAEP accreditation is about leveraging other reform efforts to transform educator preparation in our nation. The CAEP Commission aligned its work with a variety of other efforts, including college- and career-ready standards, the new InTASC standards, the 2012 report by the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) Task Force on Education Preparation and Entry into the Profession, and other national reports related to education reform. Leverage points within the standards include:

Emphasizing P-12 student learning- Preparation must be judged by outcomes and impacts in the classroom.

Building partnerships and strong clinical experiences-Educator preparation providers must collaborate with schools and districts to prepare candidates who enter the classroom ready to help all students learn at high levels.

Raising and assuring candidate quality-From recruitment and admission, through preparation, and at exit, educator preparation providers must prepare an education workforce that is more able and more representative of America's diverse population.

Including all providers-Unlike NCTQ, CAEP will apply its standards and quality assurance process to all providers, not only those in higher education. This will promote excellence and innovation across the entire system of educator preparation.

Transparency of Process and Outcomes

Transparency is one of CAEP's hallmarks. In contrast to NCTQ, CAEP sets clear expectations for the use of evidence in its decisions and gives educator preparation providers the opportunity to respond before final decisions are made.

The process for setting CAEP standards also has been transparent. The CAEP Commission meetings were open to the public, and there was a public review period during which education stakeholders including not only those from preparation programs, but also P-12 educators, parents, prospective teachers, policymakers, and more, provided feedback for the Commission to review in its final revisions.


As a national accreditor, CAEP must meet the standards of two approval bodies - the Council for Higher Education Accreditation and the U.S. Department of Education.

CAEP will require educator preparation providers to follow their completers into their first years of practice to determine a positive impact on P-12 student learning. Data will be reported annually and publicly, and will be used to require the continuous improvement of preparation programs.

CAEP is poised to work with states and educator preparation providers in using accreditation to ensure that P-12 students are prepared to compete in today's global economy."

* St. Joseph's University, which received honor roll status for one of its programs, also took issue with the study in a statement.

Saint Joseph's University did not participate in the June 2013 NCTQ Teacher Prep Report, because its research is based entirely on analysis of documents. It does not include credible sources such as site visits, interaction with faculty and teacher candidates, or any concrete evidence or data on the actual performance of the K-12 teachers prepared by Saint Joseph's University. The NCTQ standards and survey methodology differ substantially from those of NCATE and TEAC, the two leading national accrediting organizations. These organizations use multiple criteria that are focused on the outcomes of preparation programs. By contrast, the NCTQ data are inherently flawed, relying largely on inputs such as admissions procedures, textbooks assigned, and the structure of student teaching experience.

The Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities (AJCU) education deans and chairs share the belief that the NCTQ report does not represent well-grounded analysis and criticism. Instead the report provides a vehicle for presenting conclusions that were reached before the study began, conclusions that are at best dubious and suspect. Those conclusions likely will be well received by the major foundations that support NCTQ, an example perhaps of getting what one paid for.

The AJCU continues to strengthen teacher education programs at their respective institutions as they affirm their commitment to academic excellence and social justice. NCTQ's efforts will not inform or interfere with that work. As a Jesuit Institution, we concur with AJCU Education deans and chairs. Saint Joseph's University is dedicated to preparing exemplary teachers, educational leaders, and educational researchers. The Education departments collaborate with colleagues across the University, local school districts, and educational leaders to promote a vibrant intellectual community. These departments have been commended by the Pennsylvania Department of Education for preparing reflective teachers and educational leaders committed to academic excellence, social justice, and democratic principles.

Saint Joseph's University is committed to continuous improvement based on reliable assessments validated by the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE).

* From Temple University's interim dean of education, James Earl Davis.

Temple's College of Education did not participate in the review process. Since its founding in 1919, the College has maintained a commitment to the rigorous preparation and development of professional educators. We continue to be an important source for producing high quality teachers and researchers who advance professional practice in education.

Also, here are full responses from two other local schools mentioned in the report.

* Holy Family University, Sister Maureen McGarrity, provost

"Along with a large number of other colleges and universities across the country, Holy Family University elected not to participate in NCTQ's research project because their data collection methodology is questionable. We are not confident that their data represent accurate and valid results concerning the quality of teacher preparation programs. Holy Family University stands by our faculty and the outcomes they have consistently produced."

* Richard Stockton College, Claudine Keenan, dean of education.

1. Stockton does NOT have a graduate initial certification program. Stockton's new teacher program is an UNDERGRADUATE program.

2. Their "standards" were not shared in advance with the schools they OPRA/sunshine/FOIA'd. The web site underwent a complete renovation last week. Literally. They never asked "standards-based questions" for which Stockton could have supplied public, prominent and ACCURATE information. Instead, they simply DEMANDED syllabi, no questionnaire, no hint at methodology, standards or scoring. Instead, they hired "scorers" who incorrectly INFERRED by the absence of, say, admissions criteria on SYLLABI - that these do not exist. This is simply WRONG.

3. Stockton does require GPA and minimum literacy test scores for program entry. Criteria are prominently, publicly displayed on the college's web page: question 1 and eligibility link on http://intraweb.stockton.edu/eyos/page.cfm?siteID=84&pageID=13

4. Early reading is a required course in every Elementary curriculum path: http://intraweb.stockton.edu/eyos/page.cfm?siteID=84&pageID=72

4. The Common Core has only JUST NOW become New Jersey's curriculum. Stockton sent NCTQ syllabi that indicated we teach BOTH the current (they requested syllabi back in 2011, before common core) AND the Common Core because we knew it was coming. Their scoring is wrong here as well.

5. Stockton prides itself on its equity program, requiring at least one practicum or student teaching placement in a high needs (DFG AB) school. This is also in Stockton's publicly posted handbooks: http://intraweb.stockton.edu/eyos/page.cfm?siteID=84&pageID=12

6. On that same web page, Stockton also has ALL the required feedback forms that exceed the NCTQ standard for which we received no stars.

* Check back for more updates as reaction comes in.