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NCTQ Criticizes Admissions Standards for Teacher Prep

A new report released this week by the National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ) calls for stronger admissions standards for teacher preparation programs. Casting blame for “a low bar for entry” on states, the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP), and individual programs, NCTQ claims that raising admissions requirements (such as minimum GPA and ACT or SAT scores) would increase not only the quality but also the number of candidates entering the profession.

The report, which is the latest in NCTQ’s series of State Teacher Policy Yearbook Reports, dismisses concerns from the field that higher admissions requirements could exacerbate teacher shortages and the workforce diversity gap. Instead, while acknowledging “there are no perfect admissions criteria,” the report makes a case for setting a high bar for program entry—saying it would in fact attract more students. Citing a report that found 58% of college students are deterred from majoring in education because of perceived low admissions standards, NCTQ concludes that “higher standards, not weaker ones, are key to recruiting more high-quality teacher candidates.” (Of course, the same report also found that many students shied away from teaching because of low pay. Nearly 50% of students considered the starting salary of a career a very important factor in choosing a profession, and 69% said they would be more likely to consider teaching as a career if high-performing teachers were paid more.)

NCTQ emphasizes that most teacher preparation candidates already surpass the admission standards, rendering entry requirements meaningless. The report closes by recommending that states, CAEP, and programs all do more to raise admissions standards in order to ensure the field is more attractive to a higher-quality applicant pool.

Note: NCTQ announced today that its 2016 Teacher Prep Review will be released December 6, with a focus on ranking undergraduate programs preparing elementary teachers. Stay tuned to Ed Prep Matters and AACTE’s website for the latest updates.

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Zachary VanHouten

Manager of Programs and Advocacy, AACTE