National Education Policy Center Reviews NCTQ Report
A recent report from the National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ) evaluates more than half of the elementary teacher preparation programs in the United States, to gauge their effectiveness in reading instruction. A review by the National Education Policy Center finds, however, that the report lacks the rigor necessary to adequately inform policy or practice.
Paul Thomas of Furman University reviewed Teacher Prep Review: Strengthening Elementary Reading Instruction, and found it to repeat the patterns made in previous NCTQ advocacy reports, including cherry-picked citations, a failure to distinguish between scientific and non-scientific evidence, and misrepresentation and exaggeration of the research base.
The report claims to identify how well candidates are prepared to teach elementary reading based on NCTQ’s Reading Foundations standards for scientifically based reading practices. The evaluation, drawn simply from analyzing course syllabi and materials, concludes that “[only] 25% of programs adequately address all five core components of reading instruction.” Further, it outlines model programs and recommended actions for teacher preparation programs, state leaders, school districts, advocates, teachers, and parents.
As states increasingly prioritize teacher preparation for early reading instruction based on the “science of reading,” Thomas cautions that policymakers should avoid creating legislation that stems from NCTQ’s narrow education reform agenda. He concludes that weak methodology, significant conflicts of interest, and ideological claims presented as “scientific,” have again resulted in a report that is more advocacy than sound analysis.
Find the review, by Paul Thomas, at nepc.colorado.edu/review/teacher-prep.
NEPC Reviews provide the public, policymakers, and the press with timely, academically sound reviews of selected publications. NEPC Reviews are made possible in part by support provided by the Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice: greatlakescenter.org.
The National Education Policy Center (NEPC), a university research center housed at the University of Colorado Boulder School of Education, sponsors research, produces policy briefs, and publishes expert third-party reviews of think tank reports. NEPC publications are written in accessible language and are intended for a broad audience that includes academic experts, policymakers, the media, and the general public. Our mission is to provide high-quality information in support of democratic deliberation about education policy. We are guided by the belief that the democratic governance of public education is strengthened when policies are based on sound evidence and support a multiracial society that is inclusive, kind, and just. Visit nepc.colorado.edu.