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JTE Coeditor: NCTQ Appraisal of Journals Based on Narrow View of Teacher Prep Research

The National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ) published an article in last week’s Teacher Quality Bulletin that criticized journals with a teacher education focus for not publishing enough articles on “core techniques and skills.” Targeting AACTE’s Journal of Teacher Education (JTE) in particular, the authors report that “only” 11% of the articles published in JTE in the past 5 years address this topic. JTE Coeditor Fran Arbaugh of Pennsylvania State University sent the following response to the article’s authors:

Dear Ms. Greenberg,

As a Co-Editor of the Journal of Teacher Education (JTE), I read with interest your co-authored article (with Kyla McClure) titled “Don’t Judge These Teacher Ed Journals by Their Titles,” which was recently published in a NCTQ Teacher Quality Bulletin. As I looked at the table of article categories that you developed for JTE, I thought to myself, “Those categories make sense and the percentages look reasonable.” I’ve copied below the published description of the scope and aims of JTE

As editors, we aim to achieve a strategic balance among the areas of preservice and in-service teacher education practice, policy, and research, bringing those areas to bear on one another in challenging and productive ways. We offer a forum for diverse work of teacher education researchers (university and non-university based), teacher education practitioners (e.g., university, state, district, community college), and policy makers at all levels. Linking research and practice is paramount in our vision for the JTE.

The Journal of Teacher Education provides a vital forum for considering practice, policy, and research in teacher education. It examines some of the most timely and important topics in the field, such as:

  • New Teacher Education Standards
  • Assessing the Outcomes of Teacher Education
  • Preparing Teachers to Meet the Needs of Diverse Populations
  • Teacher Education in a Global Society
  • The Research Base for Teacher Education
  • Accountability and Accreditation Issues
  • Collaborating with Arts and Sciences Faculties
  • Recruiting a More Diverse Teaching Force and Teacher Education Faculty
  • School-Based and Partnership-Based Teacher Education
  • Alternative Approaches to Teacher Education
  • High Stakes Testing for Teachers and Students
  • Leadership in 21st Century Schools of Education
  • The Changing Demographics of Schools and Schooling 

As you can see, our focus at JTE is much broader than “Building candidates’ practical skills directly related to the classroom,” so it does make sense that only 11% of our published articles fell into this category in your table.

I am more concerned, however, with the list of journals in your second table, with the first column title of “Teacher Ed Journal.” Based on my knowledge of the scope and aims of these journals, I think that you have included a number of journals that have a focus other than teacher education (i.e., Journal of Learning Sciences, Teachers College Record). These journals would very rarely publish articles with a focus on teacher education, as such articles fall outside of their scope. Calling these journals “Teacher Ed Journals” is a mistake and one that I think you should seek to correct in a subsequent article in your newsletter.

Also misleading is the characterization of a number of the other journals on this list as “Teacher Ed Journals.” Many of the other journals that you have listed in this table do publish research articles focused on teacher education, but only as a small percentage of a much broader scope (i.e., Learning and Instruction, Journal of Teaching in Physical Education, Journal of Research in Science Teaching, Research in Science Education, Research in the Teaching of English, Reading Teacher), so it is not at all surprising that the percentage of articles dedicated to teacher education in these journals is small. Teaching and Teacher Education also has a broader scope than just teacher education, so the fact they they publish non-teacher-education-focused articles is not surprising.

Lastly, you are missing two major publication venues for mathematics teacher education research Journal of Mathematics Teacher Education and Mathematics Teacher Educator, and one major publication venue in science teacher education research, Journal of Science Teacher Education.

I provide these comments with the hope that in any future analyses like the one you conducted for this article, you would seek to include a more complete and correct list of journals that do publish research conducted in the field of teacher education.

Dr. Fran Arbaugh
Associate Professor of Mathematics Education and Curriculum & Supervision
The Pennsylvania State University
Immediate Past-President, Association of Mathematics Teacher Educators
Co-Editor Journal of Teacher Education

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