National Council on Teacher Quality. (2023). Western Kentucky University Undergraduate Elementary. Teacher Prep Review. [Data set]. https://www.nctq.org/review/viewProgram/Western-Kentucky-University-KY-1
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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.
To ensure that every child - regardless of race or background - receives a quality education, their teachers need to be effective. To support that aim, programs should screen for academic caliber during admissions to ensure that teacher candidates come from the top half of the college-going population. For consideration under this standard, tests used as an academic screen must be normed to the college-going population.
Institution-level selectivity for Western Kentucky University
- Median SAT score: 997
- Median ACT score: 23
- Program GPA admissions requirement: 2.75
While high, the selectivity of the institution alone does not ensure that teacher candidates are among the top half of the college-going population.
To improve under this standard, set SAT/ACT thresholds for admission into the teacher prep program above the national median.
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
- Kentucky teacher workforce: 7 percent teachers of color3
- Local demographics: 16 percent persons of color4
Western Kentucky University is found to be as diverse as the Kentucky teacher workforce and 10.0 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 LTCY 320 and LTCY 420 finds the program earns an A for providing adequate coverage for all five components.
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: 9.45 of 12 points
- Phonics: 11.25 of 12 points
- Fluency: 10.25 of 12 points
- Vocabulary: 11.79 of 12 points
- Comprehension: 10.31 of 12 points
Evidence of Content Contrary to Research-Based Practices
Analysis identified evidence of one practice that runs contrary to research. Specifically, the program was found to provide coverage of:
- Running records
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:
- Science of Reading (SoR)
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 of 8 points, placing this program at the 46th percentile among evaluated programs.
- English Language Learners: 2 of 8 points, placing this program at the 35th percentile among evaluated programs.
- Students who speak language varieties other than mainstream English: 0 of 8 points, placing this program at the 1st 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 ELED 405, MATH 112, MATH 205, MATH 206, and MATH 308 found the following coverage:
Numbers & Operations: 83 instructional hours*
Recommended target: 45 hours
Algebraic Thinking: 29 instructional hours*
Recommended target: 20 hours
Geometry & Measurement: 50 instructional hours
Recommended target: 25 hours
Data Analysis & Probability: 18 instructional hours
Recommended target: 15 hours
Mathematics Pedagogy: 45 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, 112 instructional hours were found.
Programs earning an A+ provide the content and pedagogical knowledge elementary teachers need for effective mathematics instruction. Programs earn this grade by allocating at least 150 instructional hours that encompass the five essential topics and by meeting 100% of the recommended target for each topic area.
Analysis of the required coursework for elementary teacher candidates at Western Kentucky University found the program to address 100% of the total target recommendation, dedicating adequate instructional time to each of the five topics.
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.
There is no letter grade associated with the 2023 Building Content Knowledge standard. Please view this program's detailed analysis and recommendations using the Content Coverage Tool.
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.
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 4 instances of written feedback based on observations.
- Analysis finds that this program does not collect substantive information on cooperating teachers' skills.
- 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.
- Require program supervisors to observe student teachers at least four times during the final semester of clinical experiences and provide written feedback after each observation. Research finds that when student teachers are observed at least five times by university supervisors over the course of the student teaching placement, they are more effective when they have classrooms of their own. While feedback from cooperating teachers is also valuable, no research of comparable strength defines the ideal quantity of feedback from cooperating teachers.
- 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.
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
Consider modifying evaluation and observation instruments to provide participants with feedback on their use of the following strategies: