Going for the Gold?

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In Louisiana, Northwestern State University just completed an Olympic undertaking: NCATE accreditation. Indeed, head of the Department of Educational Leadership and Technology Paula Furr told the local news outlet, "The Olympics of education is what we've been through, and we got the gold."

By getting the gold, Furr means Northwestern State not only received continued accreditation, but NCATE could not identify a single area in need of improvement.  

But while Northwestern State's ed department administration and faculty take a victory lap, the students that its graduates end up teaching are apparently stumbling out of the starting blocks.  According to three years of data gleaned from value-added assessments looking at the performance of the program's graduates in the classroom, there were across-the-board negative results on learning growth when compared to the growth of students of the average novice Louisiana teacher.  While Louisiana's statistical model has limitations (as do all such models), its findings are relevant information in the evaluation of a teacher prep program and therefore ought to be acknowledged and addressed.

It simply does not square that this program's less than stellar value-added scores of three years running could escape notice in an accreditation process. 

[Ed. note: this post refers to scores on Northwestern State's undergraduate traditional teacher preparation program.]