Abandon all hope when NCTQ rates you?

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The rap from teacher prep programs on NCTQ's ratings of their quality is that our evaluations are tainted by bias and that we are deaf and blind to the clear evidence they provide that we've got it wrong — so why bother talking to us? A lot of institutions use this reasoning to explain why they refuse to cooperate in the national review. 

This assertion appears to have legs as we rarely go a day without hearing it from some corner.  Most recently it was conveyed to us by a state higher education official  who had been prepared to support our review until many deans in his state told him that NCTQ cannot be trusted. He assumed that if so many people are making this claim, how could it not be true?

You don't have to limit yourself to the topic of teacher preparation to know that when untrue things get said enough times, people become convinced they are true.  Urban legends offer some of the more entertaining versions of this human behavior.  (Even at middle age, I still am afraid to be in a parked car in a remote area, convinced that the guy with the hook for an arm will latch on to my door handle).  If this human phenomenon weren't so common, why would we need Snopes?

In one of our most recent studies in Illinois, when the deans were fully cooperative, we provided to them their preliminary findings of facts and ratings for review; this process led  to an exchange of over 3,000 emails and
countless phone calls, including extended one-on-one conversations with most deans.  We took great care to make changes in findings of fact and in ratings whenever warranted because we truly do want to get things right; the fact that we did not always change a particular rating based on these exchanges surely does not justify a claim that our analysis is willfully capricious in the face of clear evidence.

It's fine for programs to take issue with our ratings—we know that we're tough graders and that's not always popular —but it's simply not true that we start off the blocks with our minds already made up.

Kate Walsh