Scope of Review in Washington
||New teachers from the state's higher education institutions included in Review (2010)
Institutions evaluated by NCTQ in the 2013 Review
-22 elementary programs, undergraduate (UG) and graduate (G)
-21 secondary programs, undergraduate (UG) and graduate (G)
Institutions with sufficient data for an overall program rating
-Collectively supplying 57% of the state's traditionally trained teachers
-10 elementary programs, undergraduate (UG) and graduate (G)
-10 secondary programs, undergraduate (UG) and graduate (G)
||Institutions sharing information for the Review
Big "take-aways" about teacher preparation in Washington:
- Highly rated programs -- The undergraduate secondary program at Washington State University is on the Teacher Prep Review's Honor Roll, earning at least three out of four possible stars. Across the country, NCTQ identified 21 elementary programs (4 percent of those rated) and 84 secondary programs (14 percent) for the Honor Roll.
- Selectivity in admissions -- The Review found that 35 percent of elementary and secondary programs in Washington 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, including Gonzaga University (undergraduate elementary and secondary), Walla Walla University (undergraduate secondary), Saint Martin's University (graduate secondary) and University of Washington - Seattle (graduate special education).
- Early reading instruction -- Just 30 percent of evaluated elementary programs in Washington are preparing teacher candidates in effective, scientifically based reading instruction, similar to 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. None of the evaluated elementary programs in Washington provide such training.
- Student teaching -- Of the evaluated elementary and secondary programs in Washington, 70 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 -- 35 percent of the evaluated Washington 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 -- 14 percent of Washington's elementary programs earn three or four stars for providing teacher candidates adequate content preparation, compared to 11 percent of elementary programs nationwide. At the high school level, 25 percent of Washington secondary programs earn four stars for content preparation, compared to 35 percent nationwide. The major problem at the secondary level can be traced to general certifications in the sciences and social sciences for which coursework requirements do not ensure that high school teacher candidates know the content in all of the subjects they will be certified to teach.
- Outcome data -- 60 percent of Washington'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.
Washington Elementary Teacher Prep Rating Distribution
Washington Secondary Teacher Prep Rating Distribution
Programs that earned 3-star rating or more
Consumer Alert: Programs earning no stars
Endorsers of the Review in Washington
League of Education Voters
Partnership for Learning
Robert Neu, Superintendent, Federal Way Public Schools
Carla Santorno, Superintendent, Tacoma Public Schools
Washington'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
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 Washington'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.