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PDQ: Pretty Darn Quick Blog

Nipping errors in the bud

06/18/2013

Today, Dr. Linda Darling-Hammond posted a blog on Valerie Strauss' The Answer Sheet alleging that our teacher prep ratings are "nonsense."

Many of the objections she raised are answered by our detailed methodology and scoring explanationsBut her post makes a number of factual errors that we feel compelled to address:

Claim: The Review is so badly done that NCTQ asserts that there is an undergraduate teacher preparation program at Columbia when there is none.

Fact: Actually there is: the Urban Teaching Track Childhood Education program at Columbia College.

Claim: We got UC Santa Barbara's ratings wrong because we "missed" a bunch of elementary math courses, English Language Learners courses and a year-long student teaching program.

Fact: We didn't miss these courses or the student teaching program at all. We looked at each one and each one failed our standards. That explains their low scores, not sloppy errors on our part.

Claim: An implication is made that our rating of Cal State University at Chico is wrong because we missed its great "hands-on" instruction at its learning lab.

Fact: While CSU-Chico's learning lab may be fabulous, it is immaterial. All we know is that Chico does not give student teachers adequate feedback or require that student teachers are assigned to classroom teachers who are effective.

There is one point that Dr. Darling-Hammond made which we have found to be correct. We did miss secondary math courses at Stanford University that should in fact be scored on our Secondary Methods Standard.

As we have said from the beginning, with 16,000 ratings decisions, it was inevitable that we would make some errors. That's why we set up the Forum process, where we will publicly address all objections to our ratings and make corrections where necessary. Programs such as Stanford's can send us their objections now and we will address them in July on our website.

We are pleased by the public discussion happening today about teacher preparation following the release of the Teacher Prep Review. This is how we are going to improve teacher preparation in America, by highlighting the best programs and helping mediocre ones improve so that every future teacher can be classroom ready, day one.

— Arthur McKee

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