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NCTQ Reviews Math-, Reading-Teacher Prep in 3 States

Wyoming, Utah, and New Mexico get the National Council on Teacher Quality's green-eyeshade review of their teacher-preparation programs. The Washington-based group rates the programs on their degree of selectivity, exit standards, and how well they prepare teachers to teach reading and mathematics, according to principles laid out in two earlier reports.

(Those reports, it should be noted, were a bit controversial in and of themselves. For example, the council asserted that reading pedagogy should align with the 2000 National Reading Panel report findings, better known as "scientifically based reading research.")

NCTQ is mostly underwhelmed with what's going on in those states, citing lax state oversight as part of the problem. None of the states has high entry standards for programs, NCTQ officials write. Nor do the states have high exit standards, in the organization's view, with the states requiring licensing tests that lump together math and reading with other subjects (or don't cover them in enough depth), so a candidate could miss a lot of questions in one of those areas and still be granted a certificate.

Per state regulations, I'm reminded of something that a source told me today. "In the education field, we tend to conflate arduous processes with rigorous processes," he said.

As for content, the majority of the programs studied didn't meet NCTQ's guidelines for preparing teachers to teach reading and math. But programs at Western Governors University in Utah (an online, competency-based rather than credit-based program), the University of Utah, and the University of New Mexico did pass muster in those areas. The report spells out a couple of areas where those programs could still be strengthened, particularly for the teaching of algebra and middle school math.

Stay tuned, the council should have other states' reports coming out in the future.

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