National Council on Teacher Quality. (2024). Samford University Graduate Elementary. Teacher Prep Review. [Data set]. https://www.nctq.org/review/viewProgram/Samford-University-AL-2
Download Current or Past Data
Select a program type and year below to download an export of scores. Note that as of 2020, NCTQ discontinued analysis of secondary teacher preparation programs.
The standards for admission into either the institution or its teacher preparation program should be sufficiently selective to ensure that teacher candidates come from only the top half of the college-going population. In order to ensure that any test used as a screen is able to provide sufficient selectivity, it must be normed to the college-going population.
The program does not meet the standard because it does not exploit the potential for admission requirements (grade point averages, standardized tests commonly used for graduate admission and/or auditions) to provide assurance that teacher candidates have the requisite academic talent.
A diverse teacher workforce benefits all students, particularly students of color. While there has been real progress over the last twenty years in diversifying the teacher workforce,1 these gains have not kept pace with a rapidly diversifying student population. To accelerate progress, strategic recruitment efforts by teacher preparation programs are essential.
- Teacher prep enrollment: 6 percent candidates of color2
- Alabama teacher workforce: 20 percent teachers of color3
- Local demographics: 36 percent persons of color4
Samford University is found to be 13.9 percentage points less diverse than the Alabama teacher workforce and 29.7 percentage points less diverse than the local population.
Detailed course-level findings
All elementary teacher candidates should learn scientifically based reading instruction, the research-based content and methods to effectively teach all children to read. This content should be clearly evident in a teacher preparation program’s course materials, including class session topics, assignments, practice opportunities, and background materials. The five core components of scientifically based reading instruction evaluated under this standard are: Phonemic Awareness, Phonics, Fluency, Vocabulary, and Comprehension.
A review of EDUC 540, EDUC 541, and EDUC 542 finds the program earns an A+ for providing adequate coverage and averaging 10 points across all five components while not teaching any practices that run contrary to scientifically based reading instruction.
To meet coverage requirements for a component, a program must earn at least 8 out of 12 points based on addressing the component through four instructional approaches: instructional hours, background materials (e.g., textbooks, readings, and other resources), objective measures of knowledge (e.g., tests or written assignments), and practice/application. A program can earn up to three points for each instructional approach.
Analysis found there was adequate coverage of the following component(s):
- Phonemic Awareness: 10.89 of 12 points
- Phonics: 12 of 12 points
- Fluency: 10 of 12 points
- Vocabulary: 9 of 12 points
- Comprehension: 11 of 12 points
Evidence of Content Contrary to Research-Based Practices
Analysis found no evidence of course content focused on practices that run contrary to research.
Evidence of Exemplary Practices
Courses analyzed were inclusive of content that provides an understanding of how and why scientifically based reading instruction is effective. That content included:
- How the brain works when reading
- Linguistics relevant to reading
- Science of Reading (SoR)
- Structured Literacy
For additional information on how programs are scored, please review the technical report. The link below provides a more detailed program summary, including course-level analysis based on the material provided.
Download the detailed course-level findings
Support for Range of Learners
(Ungraded: Findings did not contribute your grade)
All elementary teacher candidates should be prepared to teach culturally and linguistically diverse students. To elevate the importance of instruction on how to support a range of learners, including struggling readers, English language learners, and students who speak language varieties other than mainstream English (e.g. speakers of African American English or Appalachian English), this analysis looks for evidence in the teacher preparation program’s course materials including class session topics, assignments, practice opportunities, and background materials.
To provide feedback on how institutions address instruction, a program can earn up to a total of eight points for each population over four instructional approaches: instructional hours, background materials (e.g. textbooks, readings, and other resources), objective measures of knowledge (e.g. tests and written assignments), and practice/application. A program can earn up to two points for each instructional approach.
Analysis found the following coverage for supporting a range of learners:
- Struggling Readers: 8 of 8 points, placing this program at the 99th percentile among evaluated programs.
- English Language Learners: 7.50 of 8 points, placing this program at the 97th percentile among evaluated programs.
- Students who speak language varieties other than mainstream English: 2 of 8 points, placing this program at the 83rd percentile among evaluated programs. Note that programs' attention to this group of students is nascent, and few programs had evidence of any attention in this area.
Download the detailed course-level findings
In order for elementary schools to deliver equitable and effective instruction in mathematics to all students, they need their teachers to have acquired the mathematics content and pedagogical knowledge specified in commonly accepted mathematics education standards. To evaluate that coverage, the Elementary Mathematics standard examines the instructional time allocated to each of the five essential topics in coursework required by teacher preparation programs.
To assess performance under this standard, the distribution of instructional time is estimated using syllabi and course descriptions. Only courses that provide content and pedagogical knowledge related to elementary mathematics are considered.
A review of EDUC 543 found the following coverage:
Numbers & Operations: 44 instructional hours*
Recommended target: 45 hours
Algebraic Thinking: 16 instructional hours*
Recommended target: 20 hours
Geometry & Measurement: 20 instructional hours
Recommended target: 25 hours
Data Analysis & Probability: 14 instructional hours
Recommended target: 15 hours
Mathematics Pedagogy: 36 instructional hours
Recommended target: 45 hours
*Please note that for grading purposes, the hours for Numbers & Operations and Algebraic Thinking are summed and measured against a combined target of 65 hours. Under this measure, 60 instructional hours were found.
Note: Regardless of coursework, programs that validate mathematical knowledge by requiring candidates to pass a content knowledge licensing test with an independent cut score for mathematics prior to admission receive 80% of the target instructional hours for each topic that is addressed by the test.
Programs earning a B provide most of the content and pedagogical knowledge elementary teachers need for effective mathematics instruction. Programs earn this grade by allocating at least 120 hours (of the 150 recommended target hours) to the five essential topic areas combined, equivalent to 80% of the total target recommendation.
Analysis of the required coursework for elementary teacher candidates at Samford University found the program to address 86.7% of the total target recommendation.
Building Content Knowledge
To be successful, elementary teachers need content knowledge in science and social studies, both to build their students' understanding of the world and their critical thinking skills, and also to support students in becoming strong readers. Becoming a strong reader requires cumulative exposure to content knowledge, cutting across multiple domains and disciplines. The courses aspiring teachers take gives them strong background knowledge in these subjects, and in turn, they give this knowledge to students.
This program was not included in the 2023 Building Content Knowledge analysis.
Student teaching serves a critical role in preparing teacher candidates to take the reins of their own classroom. This apprenticeship allows candidates to build on coursework by learning directly from an established teacher, and practice and refine essential instructional and management skills.
Student teaching should be at least 10 weeks long in order to offer opportunities for repeated cycles of practice and growth. It should be full- or nearly-full-time, and include several weeks during which the candidate has primary responsibility for teaching the whole class for full days, so that the candidate can experience the full demands of being a teacher.
- Our review finds that the program includes at least 10 weeks of full- or nearly-full-time student teaching, and exposes candidates to the full responsibilities of a teacher.
1. Supply student teachers with sufficient feedback by requiring supervisors to provide student teachers with at least four instances of written feedback based on observations.
- A review of program policy finds that supervisors are required to provide a minimum of 5 instances of written feedback based on observations.
- Analysis finds that this program collects information on cooperating teachers' skills, including their ability as a mentor, but not their instructional effectiveness as measured by student learning.
- To ensure candidates are placed with the best, establish an explicit process with partner districts to gather information on potential cooperating teachers' skills including both their effectiveness (as measured by student achievement) and capacity to mentor. Collecting additional information, such as a teacher's classroom management style or communication skills, can also be valuable, as long as the focus remains on quality and the potential fit as a mentor and not on just collecting basic data, like years of experience. This information should be used to screen cooperating teachers' suitability before placing student teachers with them.
- Clear requirements for cooperating teachers can help to guide the cooperating teacher selection process. At a minimum, cooperating teachers should be both strong mentors of adults and highly effective instructors. Our review finds that program requirements include that cooperating teachers must be strong mentors, but do not address teacher effectiveness as defined by student learning.
New teachers and their principals consistently report that classroom management is one of their greatest challenges. Teachers will be better prepared to establish a positive classroom environment if, during their preparation programs, they practice and receive feedback on the five classroom management strategies shown by conclusive research to be useful for all students. These strategies are:
- Rules and Routines – Establishing classroom rules and routines that set expectations for behavior;
- Learning Time – Maximizing the time that students are engaged in learning by pacing lessons appropriately, managing class materials and the physical setup of the classroom, and teaching interesting lessons;
- Praise – Using meaningful praise and other forms of positive reinforcement to encourage appropriate behavior;
- Low-profile Redirection – Using unobtrusive means that do not interrupt instruction to prevent and manage minimally disruptive behavior; and
- Consequences – Addressing more serious misbehavior with consistent, appropriate consequences.
A review of program evaluation and/or observation instruments finds that they provide feedback on student teachers' use of the following classroom management strategies:
- Rules and Routines
- Learning Time
- Low-profile Redirection
Repeated feedback on the same or similar indicators can provide program participants invaluable guidance as they strengthen their classroom management skills. Consider examining all observation and evaluation forms used by program supervisors, cooperating teachers, and any other individuals who evaluate program participants to check that they provide repeated, consistent feedback on classroom management, and modifying them if necessary.