NEPC Review: NCTQ Report Rife With Flaws in Logic, Methodology

To keep members informed, AACTE regularly monitors and reports on the activity of the National Council on Teacher Quality that could affect educator preparation programs. Visit our NCTQ resource page for additional information.

The National Education Policy Center (NEPC) has released a scathing assessment of the latest Teacher Prep Review by the National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ).

The analysis for NEPC, conducted by Boston College’s Marilyn Cochran-Smith and other members of Project TEER (Teacher Education and Education Reform), finds a dearth of research undergirding NCTQ’s 2018 Review.

“To support the report’s conclusions about teaching practice, including the assertion that all mentors should be pre-screened and all candidates frequently observed, the report relies on a single nearly 10-year old study, which is its only reference to a peer-reviewed article,” the authors note (p. 7). “It is problematic that the report does not account for the existing research on how varying features of clinical experience contribute to teacher candidates’ development or the emerging body of research on teacher residency programs and/or practice-based teacher education, especially given that the report lauds residency programs.”

The authors also cite the inadequacy of NCTQ’s “controversial and widely critiqued” methodology of relying on a review of written documents to assess program quality. “It is not possible to produce valid, accurate, and usable assessments of the quality of teacher preparation programs (or courses) based on syllabi and documents alone without also gathering other data through participant and faculty surveys, site visits, and other means that get at what programs actually do and how participants actually experience them,” they write.

The standards that were developed by NCTQ to evaluate teacher preparation programs also face criticism in the NEPC assessment, which notes the inconsistencies in which they are applied in both the latest Review and previously released versions.

Noting the many challenges of the NCTQ Review, the NEPC authors conclude that it “offers little to consumers seeking information about program quality or to program leaders interested in improvement” and ignores the innovations and improvements under way in teacher preparation programs throughout the country.

For more information on the NEPC assessment, visit its website.

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Zachary VanHouten

Manager of Programs and Advocacy, AACTE

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