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Education
An in-depth look at our region's emerging economic, social, political and cultural identity.

Study Finds Teacher Prep Program Ratings Flawed

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 A national organization that biennially rates teacher preparation programs across the country was itself evaluated by UNC Chapel Hill researchers. The outcome was not so good.

  For the past year, UNC researchers looked at how well teachers in North Carolina perform who graduated from schools whose teacher education programs received high ratings from the National Council on Teacher Quality. The report released this week found little connection between NCTQ's ratings and teacher effectiveness. Kevin Bastian, director of UNC Chapel Hill’s Teacher Quality Research Initiative  oversaw the study. 

“There’s not a strong relationship between the NCTQ overall program rating for teacher prep programs and how well teachers are performing in their first couple of years in the profession in North Carolina," Bastian said.

The study looked at 124 North Carolina teachers who graduated from programs highly-rated by NCTQ. It found 15 were more effective in raising student test scores, five were less effective and no difference was noted for 104 of them.

“In North Carolina, a lesson to be drawn is if teacher preparation programs are interested in advancing the quality of their programs and the quality of their graduates, trying to raise their scores on these NCTQ standards doesn’t seem like the right course of action,” Bastian said

NCQT officials, who collaborated with UNC on the study, say the findings will help them improve the methods they use to rate teacher prep programs in their 2016 assessments. Some education experts have criticized the group in the past for not going deep enough in its’ evaluations and relying too heavily on course descriptions and syllabi.