Scope of Review in Alabama
||New teachers from the state's higher education institutions included in Review (2010)
Institutions evaluated by NCTQ in the 2013 Review
-17 elementary programs, undergraduate (UG) and graduate (G)
-17 secondary programs, undergraduate (UG) and graduate (G)
Institutions with sufficient data for an overall program rating
-Collectively supplying 61% of the state's traditionally trained teachers
-7 elementary programs, undergraduate (UG) and graduate (G)
-8 secondary programs, undergraduate (UG) and graduate (G)
||Institutions sharing information for the Review
Big "take-aways" about teacher preparation in Alabama:
- Highly rated programs -- Across the country, NCTQ identified 21 elementary programs (4 percent of those rated) and 84 secondary programs (14 percent) for the Teacher Prep Review Honor Roll, meaning that a program earns at least three out of four possible stars. No Alabama programs are on the Honor Roll.
- Selectivity in admissions -- The Review found that 26 percent of elementary and secondary programs in Alabama restrict admissions to the top half of the college-going population, compared to 28 percent nationwide. Countries where students consistently outperform the U.S. typically set an even higher bar, with teacher prep programs recruiting candidates from the top third of the college-going population.
Some worry that increasing admissions requirements will have a negative effect on the diversity of teacher candidates. By increasing the rigor and therefore the prestige of teacher preparation the profession will attract more talent, including talented minorities. This is not an impossible dream: 83 programs across the country earn a Strong Design designation on this standard because they are both selective and diverse, although no such programs were found in Alabama.
- Early reading instruction -- 43 percent of the limited number of Alabama elementary programs evaluated for this standard are preparing teacher candidates in effective, scientifically based reading instruction, a better finding than the small minority of programs (29 percent) providing such training nationally.
- Elementary math -- A mere 19 percent of evaluated elementary programs nationwide provide strong preparation to teach elementary mathematics, training that mirrors the practices of higher performing nations such as Singapore and South Korea. Only 13 percent of the limited number of evaluated elementary programs in Alabama provide such training.
- Student teaching -- Of the evaluated elementary and secondary programs in Alabama, 94 percent entirely fail to ensure a high quality student teaching experience, in which candidates are assigned only to highly skilled teachers and receive frequent concrete feedback. 71 percent of programs across the country failed this standard.
- Classroom management -- None of the evaluated Alabama elementary and secondary programs earn a perfect four stars for providing feedback to teacher candidates on concrete classroom management strategies to improve classroom behavior, compared to 23 percent of evaluated programs nationwide.
- Content preparation -- 12 percent of Alabama's elementary programs earn three or four stars for providing teacher candidates adequate content preparation, compared to 11 percent of elementary programs nationwide. The results are better at the high school level, with 47 percent of Alabama secondary programs earning four stars for content preparation, compared to 35 percent nationwide. The secondary results are perhaps better than might have been expected, given that Alabama has inadequate licensure test requirements for its certifications in general science and general social science, putting on programs the entire responsibility for ensuring that teacher candidates know the content of every subject they are certified to teach.
- Outcome data -- None of Alabama's evaluated programs earn four stars for collecting data on their graduates, compared to 26 percent of evaluated programs in the national sample. In the absence of state efforts to connect student achievement data to teacher preparation programs, administer surveys of graduates and employers or require administration of teacher performance assessments (TPAs), programs that fare poorly on this standard have not taken the initiative to collect any such data on their own.
Alabama Elementary Teacher Prep Rating Distribution
Alabama Secondary Teacher Prep Rating Distribution
Programs that earned 3-star rating or more
No 3-star rated programs
Consumer Alert: Programs earning no stars
Alabama's Teacher Prep Review was made possible by the following foundations and organizations
Carnegie Corporation of New York
Gleason Family Foundation
Laura and John Arnold Foundation
Michael & Susan Dell Foundation
Searle Freedom Trust
The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation
The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation
The Teaching Commission
Institutions with Teacher Training Rated
Auburn University Annual new teacher production (2010): 394
Miles College Annual new teacher production (2010): 28
Samford University Annual new teacher production (2010): 49
Troy University Annual new teacher production (2010): 264
University of Mobile Annual new teacher production (2010): 41
Institutions with Teacher Training Not Rated
Auburn University at Montgomery
Spring Hill College
Good preparation does not guarantee that teachers will ultimately be effective, but there is much that states can do to ensure that new teachers are classroom ready. The tables below are drawn from NCTQ's 2013 State Teacher Policy Yearbook (Full State Report here) and offer a summary of Alabama's teacher preparation policies, identifying strong policies and those in need of improvement.
Each state has a set of laws, rules and regulations that govern how teachers are prepared for the classroom. These policies establish guidelines for admission to teacher preparation programs, set standards for what teachers should know and be able to do in order to be licensed, and can be used to hold preparation programs accountable for the quality of teachers they produce.
Although states regulate most aspects of how teachers are prepared, where in each state this authority lies is not standard across the country. And in some states, authority for different components of teacher preparation rests with different entities.