National Center for Teacher Quality–2013 Teacher Preparation Programs Report

The National Center for Teacher Quality (NCTQ) released a report June 2013 rating teacher preparation programs across the US. 

Here are the schools it graded for Washington State.  But first, the caveat:



Oh and here’s the key to the abbreviations.


No, Seattle Pacific University isn’t in the document anywhere, nor is the University of Puget Sound, nor Pacific Lutheran University.  I did take a look at Northwest University.  I probably should have taken a little bit closer look…or even WSU.

I will take a closer look at the rubric they used to grade those programs and try to come up with something for SPU, stay tuned for that.

But, since I just finished my first year of teaching, a few quotes and figures from the report resonated with me.

Should first-year teaching be the equivalent of fraternity hazing, an inevitable rite of passage? Is there no substitute for “on-the-job” training of novice teachers? The answers are obvious. We need more effective teacher preparation. Our profound belief that new teachers and our children deserve better from America’s preparation programs is the touchstone of this project. (pg. 4)

I had a hunch going in that first-year student achievement wouldn’t be great.  I just didn’t have the tricks, the lesson planning experience, and the command of the specific syllabus material that would have held a candle to my more experienced colleagues.  I shudder to think of the damage I might have done.


What was and is true is that I wanted to have impact on kids, to help them love STEM more.  I wanted to believe that they all could achieve higher levels, I went via the most expedient route to get credentialed to be able to teach.  That would seem to indicate the truth of the next diagram that the people who wind up in front of students really want to be there, and if they succeed it doesn’t really matter how they got there.  They “had what it takes”.


But what if, what if my training had prepared me better for kids of low SES or high ELL?  And what if my training had top flight (in this state) preparation for math and science?  There’s a study which claims I might have had more impact…


The next one makes logical sense, the new guy/gal gets the hard assignments.  In a way, that’s how all jobs start, right?  If you gave first year teachers the easy jobs, how would they ever feel the urgency to perfect their craft over the range of student ability and teaching responsibilities?


One conclusion I draw is that my preparation was probably pretty typical, and that my first year experience was pretty typical.  If I respond typically, I suppose I could expect more of the same.  The question is, how do I create an atypical 2nd year, or even an extraordinary one?

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  • Dave aka Mr. Math Teacher  On June 28, 2013 at 9:36 pm

    I find the NCTQ report to be (mostly) well-intentioned but poorly implemented, and definitely not ready for prime time. It was not even near alpha quality, much less version 1.0.

    • John Weisenfeld  On June 29, 2013 at 1:26 am

      Hi Dave, thanks for reading. If you had to put your finger on the most poorly implemented piece of this report, what would it be? And what is the biggest thing that makes this report not ready for prime time?

      • Dave aka Mr. Math Teacher  On July 3, 2013 at 11:16 am

        1. Incomplete, inaccurate data along with questionable validity of their algorithm for assigning rating
        2. Same as above

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