The National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ) recently released its latest ratings for 717 undergraduate programs that prepare high school teachers, including ratings for seven programs in Utah.
The University of Utah ranks among the top 2% of the over 700 programs analyzed NTCQ that ranked as a “Top Tier Secondary Teacher Prep Programs” by NCTQ. The 16 programs that achieved “Top Tier” status have solid admission standards, provide sufficient preparation in each candidate’s intended subject area, and show them how best to teach that subject. Many also do well in evaluating candidates on how to manage a classroom and providing and ensuring the high quality of practice opportunities.
Teacher Prep Programs in Utah
While Utah has no other program in the top ten percent, the following Utah programs rank in the top half among all institutions:
- University of Utah (99th percentile)
- Brigham Young University (81st percentile)
- Utah Valley University (76th percentile)
- Southern Utah University (64th percentile)
- Dixie State University (57th percentile)
- Weber State University (49th percentile)
- Utah State University (46nd percentile)
Western Governors University is among institutions who fell in the bottom half, thus did not receive a ranking. Westminster College did not have sufficient data to receive a ranking. More information on Utah programs is available here.
Key National Findings
As for overall performance of the 700+ programs, a common problem cited by NCTQ is the weak content preparation provided to science and social studies teacher candidates. However, among Utah institutions all programs receive A’s and B’s in both their science and social studies preparation of teachers. 43 percent of programs across the country struggle to prepare teachers who will be qualified to teach the subjects under the umbrella of either science or social studies. For example, even though history is the subject most teachers with general social studies certification will be asked to teach, one out of five programs requires minimal to no history courses of their candidates.
Adequacy of content and methods coursework by subject area
The University of Utah and Utah Valley University are the only Utah high school teacher training programs that, according to NCTQ, require adequate content and methods coursework in all four primary subject areas – english, math, science, social studies (Western Governor’s University is the only Utah-based institution that doesn’t offer teacher certifications in all four content areas). Only 42 percent of programs nationally succeed at teaching future teachers both the content and teaching methods for their subject.
Other Key Findings that Highlight the Quality of Utah’s Teacher Prep Programs:
- A quarter of all programs nationally do not offer a course in the best ways to teach a specific subject. However, all evaluated programs in Utah require teacher candidates to take such a methods course in their subject area.
- There are early signs of some programs becoming more selective in their admissions, but it is still the case that 44 percent of programs nationally set the bar too low for who gets into their programs. However, in Utah, 86 percent of programs draw the majority of their students from the top half of the college-going population. For a list of programs’ selectivity rank in each state go here.
- Among sufficiently selective programs, half also meet diversity goals, including two in Utah — Brigham Young University and the University of Utah. For a list of selective and diverse programs in each state, go here.
- Only 6 percent of programs nationally pay sufficient attention to the quality of student teaching by establishing an expectation that only skilled teachers should be allowed to mentor a future teacher and requiring student teachers to be regularly observed by program staff. However, in Utah, one quarter of evaluated programs take both of these steps. The University of Utah and Western Governors University are the only institutions who receive top marks for their strong student teaching efforts. For a list of programs with strong student teaching in each state go here.
- Fewer than half of all programs (44 percent) evaluate teacher candidates on their use of the most effective strategies for managing classrooms while student teaching. Of the Utah programs that could be evaluated on classroom management, the University of Utah, Utah Valley University and Western Governors University receive top marks in ensuring that future teachers have this critical feedback on classroom management. For a list of programs that score well on classroom management in each state, go here.
Read the full Landscape report from NCTQ here.