Southeastern’s undergraduate and graduate elementary teacher preparation programs have been named among the top in the country by the National Council on Teacher Quality, a nonpartisan, not-for-profit research and policy organization, for strong training in classroom management strategies and high-quality clinical practice experiences.

This month, NCTQ released its 2020 Teacher Prep Review: Clinical Practice and Classroom Management, which finds encouraging progress in teacher preparation programs’ adoption of evidence-based classroom management strategies that are universally effective, regardless of student age or the subject being taught. For the first time since NCTQ began publishing ratings in the 2013 Teacher Prep Review, half of the nearly 1,000 traditional elementary teacher preparation programs evaluated earn an A or B grade, up nearly 30 percent from seven years ago.

Southeastern’s programs stand out as among only 17 elementary programs in the country that earn an A in both clinical practice and classroom management and serve as a model of excellence for others.

“We’re delighted the National Council for Teacher Quality recognizes the hard work College of Education faculty and school partners have devoted to making sure our teacher candidates are prepared for the classroom,” said College of Education Dean Paula Summers Calderon. “We take pride in ensuring our teacher candidates have the knowledge, skills, and professional dispositions to deliver quality instruction in any school district in the country.”

According to NCTQ, fewer advancements have been made nationally in the adoption of quality control metrics of clinical experiences, including student teaching and residencies, particularly in the process for selecting mentor teachers, which is managed not only by teacher prep programs, but also by their partner school.

Southeastern’s program was recognized for its strong clinical experience requirements, including the following: calling for candidates to spend 10 or more weeks in an experienced teacher’s classroom with at least four days per week or the equivalent in the classroom each week; screening mentor teachers for mentorship skill and/or instructional effectiveness as measured by student learning, among other skills; and requiring program supervisors to give student teachers written feedback based on observations at least four times during the clinical practice experience.

The evidence for the importance of high-quality clinical experience is undeniable. A National Research Council report said that clinical practice experience is one of three “aspects of preparation that have the highest potential for effects on outcomes for students,” and recent research has found that having a high-quality clinical practice experience can mean a first-year teacher starts out as effective as a typical teacher in their third year.

Now in its fourth edition, the Teacher Prep Review assigns a team of experts to evaluate teacher preparation programs on their adherence to evidence-based classroom management strategies and their requirements that support quality clinical practice experiences.

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