Report: UD, Miami prepare teachers well

Some in higher education question research by national teacher quality group

The University of Dayton and Miami University got rave reviews this week from a controversial group that rates how well schools of education prepare teachers for the profession.

The National Council on Teacher Quality rated UD’s elementary education program for undergraduates as the fourth best elementary education program in the United States. Miami got the best overall ratings of any school nationwide, with all three of its programs — undergraduate elementary education, undergraduate secondary and graduate secondary — rated in the top 10 nationally.

“We are pleased with this high ranking because NCTQ is a nationally recognized group that advocates for increased accountability in teacher preparation,” said Kevin Kelly, dean of UD’s School of Education and Health Sciences. “However, we put more emphasis on measures such as the Ohio Educator Performance Reports published annually by the Board of Regents.”

Miami did not announce the glowing rankings on its website or issue a press release. When contacted by this newspaper, university officials declined to comment. Last year, Miami’s education dean Carine Feyten called the NCTQ rating process “fundamentally flawed.”

Many in the higher education industry disagree with how NCTQ reviews colleges. The national Council on English Education argues that many of NCTQ’s standards are not research based, with little explanation of why those standards are valid.

NCTQ President Kate Walsh said those explanations are on her group’s website. NCTQ does not visit campuses to observe instruction, instead ranking schools by reviewing admission standards, class syllabi, textbooks, student teaching protocols and more. They use that data to judge whether colleges meet a set of standards that NCTQ designed “to capture what it takes to get teachers ready for the classroom on Day 1,” according to Walsh.

NCTQ’s report was very critical of schools of education in general, ranking 694 elementary education programs in its bottom two levels, and only 96 in its top two levels.

“In most institutions, the teacher educators don’t believe it is their job to really train new teachers,” said Walsh, sister of Ohio Senate Education Committee chair Peggy Lehner, R-Kettering. “They don’t teach them how to teach reading, how to manage a classroom, how to do lesson-planning, how to use data from assessment. These very practical steps are largely not taught.”

Kelly said UD’s faculty deserves the credit for the NCTQ recognition because of their work with preschool to high school partners, adding that Board of Regents data show that “students of UD teacher education graduates learn at or above expected rates.”

NCTQ rated Cedarville University’s undergraduate elementary education program 22nd in the nation, and both of Ohio State’s graduate education programs in the top 20. Wittenberg’s undergraduate programs were ranked 88th (elementary) and 127th (secondary), while Wright State and Central State saw their programs ranked in the middle of the pack, between 203rd and 312th.

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