The Washington-based National Council on Teacher Quality and U.S. News and World Report, the publisher of the famous and much-debated college ratings, announced today that they are embarking on an ambitious project to review—and rate—teacher education offerings in all the nation's 1,400 schools of education.
Each school will be reviewed against 19 standards and graded on 17 of them. These standards have been revised and reduced in number since NCTQ did its review of Illinois and Texas education schools, essentially a "field test" for this larger project.
Alternative routes housed at institutions of higher education will be included in the review, but it won't include Teach For America or district-created programs that operate independently of ed. schools.
The groups are sending out letters to deans at all the schools seeking their participation in the review process. It's likely to be a difficult sell for some teacher-educators: NCTQ's Texas review was criticized by deans there even before the results came out.
In Texas, deans objected to the fact that the ratings were based on reviews of syllabuses and materials culled from websites rather than in-depth visits to schools. They argued that important topics might not be listed on such outlines. The forthcoming reviews are going to be based on a similar methodology, so anticipate more back-and-forth in this vein. (In fairness to NCTQ, ed. schools grumbled in the past about accreditation visits, too.)
Among other things, the reviews will focus on student-teaching, such as whether candidates are learning classroom-management skills; whether they are expected to take coursework or demonstrate expertise in their content area; and whether the ed. schools follow their graduates into classrooms to see how they're performing and survey them for feedback about how to improve programming.