NEPC Review: 2018 Teacher Prep Review (National Council on Teacher Quality, April 2018)
NCTQ released its 2018 review of U.S. teacher preparation programs. Employing open-records requests and online searches, the report ranks 567 graduate teacher preparation programs, 129 alternative route programs, and 18 residencies on practice, knowledge and admissions. The report seeks to determine if the teacher preparation programs are aligned with NCTQ’s standards. Such alignment, the report insists, will produce teachers “not only ready to achieve individual successes, but also to start a broader movement toward increased student learning and proficiency.” However, the report determines that most programs are not aligned with its standards. Accordingly, it finds “severe structural problems with both graduate and alternative route programs that should make anyone considering them cautious.” However, the report has multiple logical, conceptual, and methodological flaws. Its rationale includes widely critiqued assumptions about the nature of teaching, learning, and teacher credentials. Its methodology, which employs a highly questionable documents-only evaluation system, is a maze of inconsistencies, ambiguities, and contradictions. Further, the report ignores accumulating evidence that there is little relationship between graduates’ classroom performance and NCTQ’s ratings. Finally, the report fails to substantively account for broad shifts in the field of teacher education that are nuanced, hybridized, and dynamic. Regrettably, the report exacerbates the dysfunctional dichotomy between university programs and alternative routes and offers little guidance for policymakers, practitioners, or the general public.