Press Releases & Statements
- 25 May 2012
For interviews, contact: Lisa Johnson
(May 25, 2012, Washington, D.C.) – The American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE) finds that the National Council on Teacher Quality's (NCTQ) latest report, What Teacher Preparation Programs Teach about K-12 Assessment, again illuminates the group's flawed research methodology and reflects its strong bias against higher-education-based educator preparation.
The report, issued as a precursor to NCTQ's national review of preparation programs with U.S. News & World Report, addresses an important matter that AACTE and its member programs regard as a major priority and on which they are working in earnest.
However, certain issues of methodology persist in this report. As with previous NCTQ materials, reviewing course syllabi will not reveal data sufficient to make the judgments rendered. During the clinical experience, for example, all candidates encounter numerous opportunities to engage with student achievement data, analyze instructional interventions and practice those interventions. These experiences may not be explicit in course syllabi, so NCTQ is speaking beyond the data. Further, the set of schools included in this analysis is not a representative sample of the nation's 1,400 schools, colleges and departments of education (SCDEs). Therefore, findings cannot be applied to programs that are not in the set studied. Despite these significant recurring flaws, NCTQ once again concludes that almost all SCDEs are not adequately preparing teacher candidates to use K-12 assessment data to improve classroom instruction.
AACTE members have repeatedly raised the issue that NCTQ's open bias against higher-education-based educator preparation should nullify its ongoing reports denouncing the profession. As education historian Diane Ravitch recently disclosed, the Thomas B. Fordham Foundation created NCTQ in 2000 as “a new entity to promote alternative certification and to break the power of the hated ed schools.” The U.S. Department of Education awarded NCTQ a $5-million grant in 2001 to launch the American Board for Certification of Teacher Excellence, an alternative certification program that aims to bypass teacher preparation provided through institutions of higher education. In 2005, the George W. Bush Administration provided funding to NCTQ to promote the policies of No Child Left Behind. Thus, NCTQ is not a neutral arbiter of educator preparation program quality.
AACTE maintains the position that valid and reliable indicators of teacher quality should be developed for use by educator preparation programs, and such work is well underway. The ability of candidates to apply technology, engage with parents and the community and use assessments to inform instruction are highly valued competencies, and surveys of new teachers and their employers confirm that teacher candidates are entering the field feeling much better prepared. Despite the best efforts of detractors, the profession continues to build on successes, acknowledge areas for growth and develop improvement and accountability strategies that are collaborative, effective and sustainable.
AACTE: Serving Learners
The American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education is a national alliance of educator preparation programs dedicated to the highest quality professional development of teachers and school leaders in order to enhance PK-12 student learning. The 800 institutions holding AACTE membership represent public and private colleges and universities in every state, the District of Columbia, the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and Guam. AACTE's reach and influence fuel its mission of serving learners by providing all school personnel with superior training and continuing education. For more information, visit www.aacte.org.