Teacher Prep Review

Our nation's schools employ 3 million teachers and rely on 27,000 programs in 2,000 separate institutions for training those teachers. Since 2006, NCTQ has reviewed programs, made recommendations, and highlighted the best we've seen of key elements for undergraduate and graduate programs for elementary, secondary and special education.


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 2,506 undergraduate and graduate elementary, secondary, and special education programs offered by education schools in 1,120 public and private institutions of higher education.

Alternative Route and Residency Programs

The Teacher Prep Review also examines 129 alternate route programs and 18 residencies leading to elementary and secondary certification.

The Reach of the Review

The university- and college-based preparation programs evaluated by Teacher Prep Review are responsible for producing 99 percent of traditionally prepared teachers. The approximately 240 institutions that produce fewer than 20 teachers annually (and together produce less than 1 percent of the nation's public school teacher candidates) are not included in the sample. The number of alternative route and residency programs included in the Review has almost doubled since non-traditional programs were first included in 2014. We continue to expanding our reach to include even more traditional and alternative certification programs.

Who is in the Review

Programs Public (502)1,233 Programs Private (600)1,273 Programs
Undergraduate Elementary 395 477
Graduate Elementary 122 144
Undergraduate Secondary 369 452
Graduate Secondary 175 161
Undergraduate Special Education 94 20
Graduate Special Education 78 19
About the Review Close
2020 Insights

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.

2020 Insights

Classroom Management: Half of traditional elementary programs ensure that student teachers learn to use 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.

2020 Insights

Early Reading: Over 50% of traditional elementary programs provide adequate instruction in at least four of the five areas of scientifically-based reading, which research shows is the most effective way to teach reading, compared to 35% in 2013.

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2020 Teacher Prep Review: Program Performance in Early Reading Instruction


For the first time since NCTQ's initial ratings in 2013, more than half of traditional elementary teacher preparation programs in the Teacher Prep Review earn an A or B for early reading instruction, representing a 16 point increase over the last seven years.