Missoula, Montana

University of Montana

Graduate Elementary, Traditional

#13

National Rank

Updated 2014
Key Standards
Selection Criteria
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User Comments

The program only partly meets this standard because while the average grade point average for the incoming class of teacher candidates is 3.3 or higher, it does not require that candidates pass a rigorous audition or provide a score on one of the standardized tests of proficiency commonly used in higher education for graduate admission (either of which would provide assurance that candidates have the requisite academic talent).

Early Reading
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Courses reviewed: EDU 397 (CI 318), and EDU 497

The research-based content proven to be necessary for teaching all children to read should be clearly evident in course materials such as lecture topics, assignments and textbooks. All of a program's required reading courses — not just some courses — should impart what is necessary to teach reading.

The program meets the standard because its coursework covers all five of the components of effective reading instruction:

  • Phonemic Awareness
  • Phonics
  • Fluency
  • Vocabulary
  • Comprehension Strategies

Elementary Mathematics
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User Comments

Courses reviewed: M 135, and M 136

Teacher candidates, even those who excel in math, generally require three semesters of coursework, complemented by adequate field practice in order to progress from a procedural to a conceptual understanding of the essential mathematics topics taught in the elementary grades.

While the program requires a sufficient amount of elementary mathematics content coursework and has designed this coursework appropriately to cover the necessary topics, it does not fully meet the standard because it does not require adequate field practice through an elementary mathematics methods course or a concurrent practicum.

Elementary Content
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User Comments

Because they cannot teach what they do not know, teacher candidates need to have a solid grasp of literature and composition, American and world history, geography and science. Graduate programs should make sure that their elementary candidates know the subjects they will teach, either by reviewing their transcripts or by requiring that they pass rigorous assessments. If candidates are admitted with deficiencies in content preparation, the program should clearly delineate necessary remediation.

The program fully meets this standard because its review of applicants constitutes an endorsement of a comprehensive preparation to ensure that teacher candidates are fully prepared for the elementary classroom in the following subjects:

  • Literature and Composition
  • History and Geography
  • Science

Student Teaching
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A high-quality student teaching experience depends on: 1) sufficient feedback as defined by at least four -- and ideally five or more -- observations with written feedback provided at regular intervals, and 2) the capacity of the program to play an active role in the selection of cooperating teachers, as evidenced by its solicitation of substantive nominating information related to mentoring skills and instructional effectiveness. The standard separately reports on, but does not rate, clear communication to school districts that cooperating teachers must be both strong mentors of adults and highly effective instructors. Such communication may be either explicit (in letters or handbooks directed at school district personnel) or implicit (in the nature of information solicited from principals or teachers nominated for the role of cooperating teacher).

The program only partly meets this standard because while it provides student teachers with sufficient feedback at regular intervals, it does not assert its critical role in the selection of cooperating teachers by obtaining substantive information of any kind.

Although this did not affect the rating, the program clearly communicates to school districts both of the characteristics of cooperating teachers required by the standard -- that they be effective instructors and capable mentors.

Booster Standards
English Language Learners
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User Comments

Courses reviewed: EDU 397 (CI 318), and EDU 497

Teachers must be prepared for classroom settings that are likely to include diverse populations speaking several different languages.

The program meets the standard because at least one required course delivers instructional strategies addressing the specific early reading needs of English language learners and requires candidates to practice such strategies.

Struggling Readers
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User Comments

Courses reviewed: EDU 397 (CI 318), and EDU 497

Because reading failure presages a host of difficulties in schooling, all elementary teachers need to have a working knowledge of appropriate interventions when early readers lag their peers.

The program meets the standard because at least one required reading course delivers instructional strategies necessary for teaching struggling readers and requires candidates to practice such strategies.

Classroom Management
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Teachers can teach and students can learn only in a functional classroom environment where students are engaged and productive. Teacher candidates will be better prepared to establish a productive classroom environment if the evaluation and/or observation instruments used to evaluate their student teaching performance provide feedback on specific classroom management strategies that together constitute a coherent management approach.

The program nearly meets the standard because the feedback provided to student teachers addresses most but not all critical components of a coherent management approach as outlined by the standard.

The program's evaluation and/or observation instruments provide feedback on student teachers' ability to:

  • establish and/or reinforce expectations for classroom behavior
  • manage time; manage student engagement; manage the physical classroom
  • recognize appropriate behavior through meaningful praise or other positive reinforcement
  • manage minor student misbehavior

The program's evaluation and/or observation instruments do not provide feedback on student teachers' ability to:
  • manage materials
  • manage disruptive student misbehavior

Outcomes
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User Comments

Like K-12 institutions, colleges and universities must commit themselves to gathering the data needed for teacher preparation program accountability. Some institutions are privileged by the initiatives taken by their state to provide them with outcomes information, but all institutions have the capacity to obtain such information, independent of state initiatives if necessary.

The teacher preparation institution only partly meets the standard. The institution:

  • Surveys its graduates regarding topics relevant to program evaluation;
  • Surveys its graduates' employers about their professional performance; and
  • Collects both of these forms of data on an established timetable that supports regular program evaluation.
However, it does not:
  • Secure data from teacher performance assessments administered to candidates just prior to or at graduation; or
  • Secure growth data on its graduates' students.

Other Standards
Assessment and Data
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User Comments

Using data on student performance has always been central to good instruction. Teachers should know how to prepare and draw information from an array of assessments, and work individually and in teams to adjust and extend their lessons to promote learning.

The program meets only a small part of the standard. While it does require that teacher candidates prepare both formative and summative classroom assessments, there are no requirements that candidates, individually and in teams, interpret and apply data from both standardized and classroom assessments.

Although this did not affect the rating, the program does not adequately address the instructional role of standardized tests, particularly the program state's standardized tests.

Evidence of Effectiveness
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User Comments

A rating on this standard is not applicable because evaluation depends on reports on the relative effectiveness of the program's graduates from a student performance data model and the program's state does not publish any such report.

NA

See all Graduate Elementary Programs

Other Ranked Programs at University of Montana
Graduate Secondary