A national teacher-effectiveness organization rated all but one of Connecticut’s university-level education programs poorly in its first review of more than 1,000 programs across the country.
The one standout program, earning three stars from the National Council on Teacher Quality, is the Southern Connecticut State University graduate program in secondary education. About 100 programs nationwide received a three-star rating, or less than 10 percent.
The programs rated by NCTQ, along with its partner U.S. News & World Report, “prepare 99 percent of the nation’s traditionally trained new teachers.”
“Through an exhaustive and unprecedented examination of how these schools operate, the Review finds they have become an industry of mediocrity, churning out first-year teachers with classroom management skills and content knowledge inadequate to thrive in classrooms with ever-increasing ethnic and socioeconomic student diversity,” the report says.
The next-highest rated program in Connecticut is Eastern Connecticut State University’s undergraduate program in secondary education, earning 2.5 stars.
Two-star programs include Central Connecticut State University’s undergraduate elementary, ECSU’s undergraduate elementary and SCSU’s undergraduate secondary and graduate special education programs.
Programs rated 1.5 stars include CCSU’s undergraduate secondary, the University of Connecticut’s graduate elementary and Western Connecticut State University’s undergraduate secondary program.
One-star programs include undergraduate elementary at Sacred Heart University, undergraduate and graduate elementary at SCSU, graduate secondary at UConn and undergraduate elementary at WCSU.
“A program’s low rating does not suggest that many of its graduates don’t go on to become capable teachers,” the report says.
“What the low rating does suggest is that the program isn’t adding sufficient value, so that someone who wants to become a teacher would be better off investing time and tuition dollars elsewhere. In fact, there are undoubtedly plenty of great teachers who graduate from weak programs, perhaps because of innate capabilities, perhaps because they are lucky enough to be assigned to a talented classroom mentor during student teaching. But in weak programs, such positive outcomes are happenstance, not the norm.”
None of Connecticut’s programs received the bottom rank, a “consumer alert.” However, the Connecticut Council on Education Reform points out that NCTQ did not penalize Connecticut programs for failing to screen the mentors assigned to their student teachers because it is against state statute and that the ratings would have been “significantly lower without this exception.”
Only four programs received the top four-star rating. The top-rated programs are not necessarily expected, either, including Furman University, Lipscomb University, the Ohio State University and Vanderbilt University.
“Indeed, there are quite a few on our ‘Honor Roll’ that have little reputation outside their home states,” the report explains. “In many cases, these notable, renegade institutions are neither fancy nor high priced, just effective at adding value.”
The NCTQ report is the result of 10 pilot studies and was in development for eight years.