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Evaluating teacher education: Chris Roegge, executive director of the Council on Teacher Education

by Sharita Forrest / Jul 1, 2013

In a recently released – and controversial – report, The National Council on Teacher Quality, an advocacy group, suggested that the failure of America’s primary and secondary education system is the result of inadequate preparation of teachers. Chris Roegge, executive director of the Council on Teacher Education within the College of Education at Illinois, discussed teacher training and Illinois’ state education standards.

The NCTQ study blames many of the problems in U.S. primary and secondary schools’ on the colleges and universities that educate the teachers. What is your reaction to the report?

Unfortunately the NCTQ report has generated a lot of heat – but not much light, at least in our case. The concerns about the purpose and methodological flaws of the report are well documented.

That said, we consider the results as we do any other program feedback – alongside the body of data routinely collected and analyzed to assess the quality of our programs. We look more at how conclusions were drawn, and how that aligns with what other data tell us, than the ratings themselves.

The study suggests that the admission criteria for teacher preparation programs at U.S. universities are too lax, and the students that they admit aren’t top-notch. What are the admissions criteria for teacher education students at the U. of I.?

NCTQ is not the first to question selection criteria across the broad spectrum of institutions that prepare teachers. Arthur Levine, a former president of Teachers College at Columbia University, did so in his 2006 study of teacher education.

The U. of I. is a selective institution, so we do not need to be overly concerned about the academic qualifications of our applicants. The students that we admit into teacher education programs average about 27 on the ACT.

In addition to traditional academic measures, we also look at dispositions such as commitment to success for all students, which are essential for teacher candidates. And we review those on an ongoing basis throughout the time the candidates are in the program.

The two programs on our campus reviewed by NCTQ received four stars on the criterion of selectivity. However, based on the limitations of the study previously mentioned we cannot attach particular significance to the ratings. We already knew that our programs and university were selective.

Read the full interview with Roegge and education editor Sharita Forrest.