U.S. News & World Report and National Council on Teacher Quality Launch Comprehensive Review of Teacher Prep Programs

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U.S. News & World Report and the National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ) announce today the launch of a landmark survey.  The survey, supported in part by Carnegie Corporation of New York, will consist of more than 1,000 schools of education across the country. Unprecedented in its scope and comprehensiveness, the project will rate the quality of teacher preparation programs from which more than 200,000 new teachers graduate each year.

The new rating survey, to be published in the second half of 2012, will be useful for both consumers and policymakers.  Teacher education is a critical national issue, and preliminary data indicates that there are wide variances in the quality of programs. Aspiring teachers will be able to identify which programs will best prepare them for the classroom, and school districts will know where they should target their recruitment efforts for new hires. Education leaders, including university presidents, state superintendents of education and state legislators, will be able to evaluate best and worst practices across all 50 states.

"We now know beyond any shadow of a doubt that teacher effectiveness is the single biggest school-based contributor to learning," said Kate Walsh, President of NCTQ.  "Just like in every other profession, the quality of their training has a tremendous impact on how well teachers perform.  The only way we will meet the challenge of ensuring that all our country's students get the excellent teachers they deserve is to transform teacher preparation."

U.S. News has long ranked the graduate schools of education as part of its college and university ranking guides. The new teacher education review is a separate survey, which will be a more detailed examination of a wide variety of graduate and undergraduate programs.

"We want to know what teachers are being taught," said Brian Kelly, editor of U.S. News. "We're partnering with NCTQ because they've developed a great methodology to look deeply into these important institutions and compare them across the country."

U.S. News and NCTQ will award grades to each of the programs under review.  They will identify the top schools of education in the country as well as the institutions whose program designs fall so far below standard that they leave their graduates ill equipped to teach.

Programs will be rated by their performance on 17 different standards, which were developed by evaluating the highest caliber research on education, best practices from both the U.S. and foreign countries with excellent educational systems, and the advice of national experts across many subject areas.  The standards are calibrated for undergraduate and graduate levels, and can be applied to programs that prepare elementary, secondary and special education teachers.  

Program ratings will be derived from a digest of course materials (including course syllabi and textbooks) supplied by education schools themselves, as well as surveys and other publicly available information.

NCTQ honed its methodology for the national review by conducting a number of similar, smaller studies across the past decade, most recently of the teacher preparation programs of Texas and Illinois.  Those reports revealed the wide variability of the design quality of teacher training programs -- even within a single institution -- and have provoked calls for reform.

Funding for the project is provided by dozens of foundations across the country with principal funding provided by Carnegie Corporation of New York, The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation, Gleason Family Foundation, The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, Searle Freedom Trust, and The Teaching Commission.

About the U.S. News Media Group

The U.S. News Media Group is a multi-platform publisher of news analysis, research and rankings which includes the U.S. News & World Report magazines and guidebooks, the digital-only U.S. News Weekly magazine, and the company's websites, www.usnews.com and www.rankingsandreviews.com. Focusing on Health, Money, Education, Politics & Policy, Autos, and Travel, the U.S. News Media Group has earned a reputation as the leading provider of service news and information that improves the quality of life of its readers. 

About the National Council on Teacher Quality

Founded in 2000, NCTQ advocates for reforms in a broad range of teacher policies at the federal, state, and local levels in order to increase the number of effective teachers. NCTQ is a non-partisan research and policy organization dedicated to increasing public awareness about the current structure of the teaching profession and informing a comprehensive policy reform agenda.