The University of Chicago Urban Teacher Education Program: Statement Regarding NCTQ Rankings 2014

The University of Chicago Urban Teacher Education Program (UChicago UTEP), along with many teacher preparation programs from across the state of Illinois[1] and the nation, once again declined to participate in the National Council of Teacher Quality/U.S. News and World Report review of teacher preparation. As Education Week reports, of all invited institutions nationally, only a small fraction opted to submit materials to NCTQ for the 2014 update.

As detailed in our statement last year and in many statements by our colleagues, UChicago UTEP’s central reason for declining to participate is our view that the NCTQ review process has little to no bearing on the quality of teachers these programs develop. NCTQ’s critique of participating and even non-participating programs relies primarily on available course syllabi, which we feel provides only a partial, out of context perspective about the integrity and quality of programs. We strongly support efforts to carefully examine teacher preparation programs, including our own. However, we believe any national review of teacher preparation should be based on the meaningful outcomes the programs achieve—such as where teachers teach, how long they stay in the field, and the quality of teaching and learning experienced by their students.

We stand firmly behind our work as an example of one of the most systematic and intensive pre-service training efforts in the country—and we have considerable evidence to suggest we are on the right track. UChicago UTEP’s five-year retention rates average an extraordinary 90 percent, compared to national rates that see 50 percent of teachers leaving the profession after five years. None of our teachers were rated unsatisfactory. UTEP’s hire rate is 100 percent, and an additional 20 percent of our alumni have assumed leadership roles as Lead Teachers or Clinical Instructors. Finally, federally funded research currently in-progress suggests UChicago UTEP teachers have significant, positive impacts on student learning, build strong relationships with families, and collaborate with colleagues to improve practice. 

We welcome the opportunity to participate in any well-conceived teacher preparation evaluation process, and look forward to the day when the NCTQ review criteria more responsibly and meaningfully capture the true quality – or mediocrity – of our nation’s teacher preparation programs.

[1] Associated Colleges of Illinois (ACI)
Council of Chicago Area Deans of Education (CCADE)
Illinois Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (IACTE)
Illinois Association of Deans of Public Colleges of Education (IADPCE)
Illinois Association of Teacher Educators (IATE)
Illinois Association for Teacher Education in Private Colleges (IATEPC)