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Elementary Teacher Preparation

University of California - Santa Barbara

Santa Barbara, California



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 only partly meets the standard because while the program does require a high grade point average (GPA) and the average GPA for the incoming class of teacher candidates is high, 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.


Program Diversity

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: 52 percent candidates of color2
  • California teacher workforce: 38 percent teachers of color3
  • Local demographics: 55 percent persons of color4
Programs earning a B support the diversification of the teacher workforce. Programs earn this grade under one of two conditions: 1. The percentage of enrolled candidates of color meets or exceeds the diversity of the state teacher workforce, but is up to 5 percentage points lower than the proportion of persons of color in the local population; or, 2. The percentage of enrolled candidates of color meets or exceeds the diversity of the local population, but is up to 5 percentage points lower than the proportion of teachers of color in the state workforce.

University of California - Santa Barbara is found to be 13.7 percentage points more diverse than the California teacher workforce and 2.9 percentage points less diverse than the local population.
1 Ingersoll, Richard M.; Merrill, Elizabeth; Stuckey, Daniel; and Collins, Gregory. (2018). Seven Trends: The Transformation of the Teaching Force – Updated October 2018. CPRE Research Reports.
2 Three-year average sourced from Title II National Teacher Preparation Data
3 National Teacher and Principal Survey data (state supplied data substituted for missing values)
4 U.S. Census core-based statistical area (CBSA) data



Reading Foundations

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 ED 318, ED 360 FW, ED LA 320 F, ED LA 320 S, and ED LA 320 W finds the program earns an F for providing adequate coverage for only one component.

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):

  • Vocabulary: 9 of 12 points
Analysis found there was not adequate coverage of the following component(s):
  • Phonemic Awareness: 1.29 of 12 points
  • Phonics: 7.39 of 12 points
  • Fluency: 0 of 12 points
  • Comprehension: 6 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.

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: 3.75 of 8 points, placing this program at the 54th percentile among evaluated programs.
  • English Language Learners: 6.50 of 8 points, placing this program at the 95th percentile among evaluated programs.
  • Students who speak language varieties other than mainstream English: 1 of 8 points, placing this program at the 72nd 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


Elementary Mathematics

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 ED M 320, Math 100A, and Math 100B found the following coverage:

Numbers & Operations: 52 instructional hours*
Recommended target: 45 hours

Algebraic Thinking: 5 instructional hours*
Recommended target: 20 hours

Geometry & Measurement: 4 instructional hours
Recommended target: 25 hours

Data Analysis & Probability: 0 instructional hours
Recommended target: 15 hours

Mathematics Pedagogy: 41 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, 57 instructional hours were found.

Programs earning a D provide a small part of the content and pedagogical knowledge elementary teachers require for effective mathematics instruction. Programs earn this grade by allocating between 90 and 104 hours (of the 150 recommended target hours) to the five essential topic areas combined, equivalent to 60% of the total target recommendation.

Analysis of the required coursework for elementary teacher candidates at University of California - Santa Barbara found the program to address 68.0% 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.



Clinical Practice

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, but does not require candidates to take primary responsibility for a classroom for at least three weeks.
In addition, there are two essential steps that programs should take to safeguard the value of the experience:

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.
2. Establish a structured process for selecting strong cooperating teachers that includes the collection of sufficient information to confirm that cooperating teachers have relevant skills, including ability as a mentor and instructional effectiveness as measured by student learning.
  • Analysis finds that this program collects information on some relevant skills, but does not specifically confirm mentorship skill or instructional effectiveness as measured by student learning.
Based on the findings above, the program nearly meets this standard.

Next Steps
  • Ensure that the student teaching experience includes at least three weeks when the candidate takes primary responsibility for planning and presenting instruction for full days.
  • 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 do not include that cooperating teachers must be strong mentors or effective instructors as defined by student learning.


Classroom Management

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:

  1. Rules and Routines – Establishing classroom rules and routines that set expectations for behavior;
  2. 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;
  3. Praise – Using meaningful praise and other forms of positive reinforcement to encourage appropriate behavior;
  4. Low-profile Redirection – Using unobtrusive means that do not interrupt instruction to prevent and manage minimally disruptive behavior; and
  5. Consequences – Addressing more serious misbehavior with consistent, appropriate consequences.
Student teaching and residency are crucial times for the development and refinement of classroom management skills. The first few months of school are just as critical for candidates in alternative programs who have full responsibility for a classroom of children. Evaluation and observation forms used during these experiences can shape the feedback that participants receive on key classroom management strategies.

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 (manage student engagement)
  • Consequences
The program meets only a small part of the standard because the feedback provided to student teachers addresses only a few of the critical classroom management strategies.

Next Steps
Consider modifying evaluation and observation instruments to provide participants with feedback on their use of the following strategies:
  • Learning Time (manage time; manage materials; manage the physical classroom)
  • Praise
  • Low-profile Redirection


Rating Notes

Programs which meet the requirements for an A and also meet additional, related criteria earn an A+.

Scores of "CBD" could not be determined because NCTQ was unable to obtain sufficient data or the information that we obtained was inconclusive.


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