From Inside Higher Ed

U.S. News & World Report has announced that it will start a new system of ranking teacher education programs, largely using the methodology of the National Council on Teacher Quality, and focusing on such measures as the selectivity of the admissions process, how well teachers are trained to teach certain subjects, and the quality of classroom management skills. The council's full methodology may be found here. The council did a preliminary ranking last year of Texas teacher education programs – and some of those programs questioned the methodology (although others praised the study for raising key issues). Sharon P. Robinson, president of the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education, released a statement saying that the group would "welcome and support" good research to evaluate the quality of teacher education programs. But she also said that "we have continually been disappointed with NCTQ’s methodologies. NCTQ has produced several reports over the years focused on measuring program inputs through public document reviews rather than measuring the actual outputs of programs through sound research methods.... Should the U.S. News & World Report/NCTQ project continue to employ NCTQ’s standard methodologies, it will undoubtedly only result in creating more questions for policymakers and the public rather than provide necessary accurate and meaningful answers about preparation programs’ effectiveness."

From Learning First Alliance
by Charlotte Williams

Over the past several years, many in the education industry have debated the significance of master’s degrees for teachers, and often also whether this higher degree warrants more pay. Many blogs have commented on this issue, including Education Week blogs, university blogs, and newspaper blogs.

The American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE), a member of the Learning First Alliance, is also contributing to the conversation. Their website currently highlights the controversial issue of the relationship between teacher master’s degrees and student classroom success.

They note recent comments by Bill Gates and U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan that little current evidence suggests a positive correlation between the two, and that therefore we should question the efficacy of master’s degrees and the validity of rewarding them monetarily. Two organizations - the Higher Education Consortium for Special Education and the Teacher Education Division of the Council for Exceptional Children - have responded by writing letters to these two influential public figures, pointing out an IES- supported 2010 study on special education teachers in Florida that found a positive correlation between advanced degrees and student improvement, especially in math.

AACTE on Twitter