Charlottesville, Virginia

University of Virginia

Graduate Secondary, Traditional

#5

National Rank

Updated 2014
Key Standards
Selection Criteria
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User Comments

The program fully meets the standard because the average grade point average for the incoming class of teacher candidates is 3.3 or higher and they must have taken a standardized test of academic proficiency used commonly for graduate admissions (both of which provide assurance that they have the requisite academic talent).

Middle School Content
NR
High School Content
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User Comments

Without a thorough grasp of the subject they will teach — typically acquired by a major in an academic discipline — high school teachers will be unable to provide the sophisticated level of instruction that their students will need to progress. All children deserve to have teachers who are well versed in each and every one of the subjects they teach, regardless of teacher shortages that are used to justify preparation short-cuts. Graduate programs should make sure that their high-school 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.
We have evaluated programs on this standard with an eye in each state both to state regulations and to widespread interpretation of regulatory intent among teacher preparation programs. For more information, please consult the methodology report for this standard.

The institution fully meets the standard because its review of the content preparation of applicants to its graduate program ensures that high school teacher candidates in all certification pathways offered have sufficient content knowledge in every subject they will be qualified to teach. These pathways include:

  • Mathematics
  • English
  • Science
  • Social Sciences

Student Teaching
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User Comments

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 does not clearly communicate to school districts both of the characteristics of cooperating teachers required by the standard -- that they be effective instructors and capable mentors.

Booster Standards
Classroom Management
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User Comments

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 meets the standard because the feedback provided to student teachers addresses 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 materials; manage student engagement; manage the physical classroom
  • recognize appropriate behavior through meaningful praise or other positive reinforcement
  • manage minor student misbehavior
  • manage disruptive student misbehavior

Secondary Methods
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User Comments

Teacher candidates must learn successful strategies for teaching their subject, including the typical progression of student knowledge and common student misconceptions. Since teacher candidates in each of the core curriculum certification pathways should take subject-specific methods coursework, there should be no distinctions drawn among the pathways in terms of coursework requirements. An evaluation of one randomly selected core curriculum pathway is therefore sufficient to determine the strength of the program's overall approach to training secondary candidates in methods.

Based on an evaluation of the certification pathway for Secondary English, the program fully meets the standard. This evaluation indicates that candidates in core curriculum certification pathways take a subject-specific methods course in their area of certification that focuses on specific instructional strategies to improve the delivery of content and includes assignments which require candidates to practice such strategies

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 fails to meet the standard. The institution:

  • Surveys its graduates' employers about their professional performance; and
  • Collects this form of data on an established timetable that supports regular program evaluation.
However, it does not:
  • Survey its graduates regarding topics relevant to program evaluation;
  • 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 only partly meets the standard. It requires that teacher candidates prepare both formative and summative classroom assessments. However, the requirements that candidates, individually and in teams, interpret and apply data from both standardized and classroom assessments are minimal.

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

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Other Ranked Programs at University of Virginia
Graduate Elementary