Teacher Prep Review

Our nation's elementary schools employ 1.9 million teachers who are prepared by programs housed in over 1,500 separate institutions. Since 2006, NCTQ has reviewed programs, made recommendations, and highlighted the best we've seen of key elements for undergraduate, graduate, and non-traditional elementary programs.

The NCTQ Teacher Prep Review evaluates the quality of programs that provide preservice preparation of teachers. The Review database includes both traditional and non-traditional programs.

Traditional Programs

The Teacher Prep Review evaluates a total of 1,244 undergraduate and graduate elementary programs offered by education schools in 1,053 public and private institutions of higher education. The institution-based programs evaluated under the Teacher Prep Review are responsible for producing 96 percent of traditionally prepared teachers.

Alternative Route and Residency Programs

The Teacher Prep Review also examines 58 alternate route and residency programs leading to elementary certification.

Learn more about the timeline and methodology of the Review and access resources from exemplary programs across the country.

About the Review Close

Reading Foundations: 50+ years of research has provided clear evidence on how to most effectively teach children to read, yet new NCTQ data shows only 25% of teacher prep programs ensure future teachers learn these methods.


Building Content Knowledge: While 84% of institutions address most science and social studies content elementary teachers need within current course options, only 3% require candidates to take the right courses in most topics.


Elementary Mathematics: Undergraduate programs in 2022 require an average of 19% more time for elementary math coursework than they did in 2014, a sizable increase. However, many programs do not make optimal use of this instructional time to cover essential math content.


Teacher Licensure Pass Rate Data: Institutional pass rates on elementary content licensure tests provide key insights on ways to better support aspiring teachers. Explore our work to support a data-driven approach to building a stronger, more diverse teacher workforce.


Program Diversity: A diverse teacher workforce benefits all students, particularly students of color — yet only 21% of teacher prep programs enroll cohorts of future teachers that are as racially diverse as their state teacher workforce and local community.


Admissions: Setting more rigorous admissions standards for aspiring teachers supports student learning. However, too many teacher prep programs don't set a high bar for admission.


Clinical Practice: No aspect of teacher prep is more influential than clinical practice, yet only 4% of programs ensure mentor teachers have the skills necessary to effectively mentor teacher candidates — an obstacle that persists in part because programs leave the selection of mentors to K-12 districts.


Classroom Management: Half of traditional elementary programs ensure that student teachers learn to use at least four of the five classroom management strategies that are universally effective, regardless of student age or the subject being taught—an increase of almost 30% since 2013.



Driven by Data: Using licensure tests to build a strong, diverse teacher workforce

Institutional pass rates on elementary content licensure tests provide key insights on ways to better support aspiring teachers.

See our reviews of reading instructional materials used by teachers.

Explore our reading material database