Polk County Itemizer-Observer
By Emily Mentzer
July 1, 2014
MONMOUTH — Western Oregon University’s undergraduate elementary education program came out “too low to rank” in The National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ) 2014 Teacher Prep Review.
The review is meant to rank teacher prep programs to provide a guide for future teachers, as well as states and universities, but the methods to the review have been called into question by officials at both WOU and at the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE).
WOU Dean of Education Mark Girod listed one of the many issues surrounding the review as the definitions for standards.
“The NCTQ is a self-appointed group that identified their own standards … and is now judging programs against those standards … based on whatever evidence they can find online or what the program voluntarily sends to them,” Girod said.
The data collection was incomplete, Girod added.
One example of incomplete data is that NCTQ only reviewed Western’s undergraduate elementary program, while WOU has eight programs for both undergrads and graduates, including a focus on special ed and early childhood.
“They are not conducting systematic reviews of programs in ways that would be useful for continuous improvement,” Girod said.
Sharon Robinson, president and CEO of the AACTE, said the review offers “largely unhelpful recommendations that are based on questionable methodology.”
In a statement on the AACTE’s website, she said the rankings have “as little to do with graduates’ readiness to teach as did last year’s system.”
Robinson said the data is misrepresented, with only 118 out of 1,127 institutions fully participating in the report.
Three programs at Oregon universities did get ranked in the review: Linfield College’s undergraduate elementary program, at No. 285, and Oregon State University’s undergraduate elementary (No. 327) and graduate secondary (No. 94) programs.
WOU continues to be an innovator in educator preparation, Girod said, noting there are so many jobs right now, Oregon may be heading into a teacher shortage.