Outdated Research and Ideas About Teacher Quality Render Report Useless

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Key New NEPC Review Takeaway: Despite its urgent calls to improve teacher quality in the midst of educational struggles suffered because of COVID-19, a new NCTQ report fails to provide useful information that might help teacher prep programs do so.

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Professors Jamy Stillman and Katherine Schultz of the University of Colorado Boulder reviewed 2020 Teacher Prep Review: Clinical Practice and Classroom Management. They found it unlikely to improve teacher preparation due to its use of invalid measurements, limited research base, and reliance on questionable methods.

The authors of the NCTQ report reviewed over 2,400 programs, including what NCTQ terms “traditional” and “alternative” programs in two areas: clinical practice and classroom management. Only 3% of traditional programs received the highest grade for their approaches to clinical practice, signaling their compliance with the internal standards set by NCTQ. Asserting that a “positive” environment is the product of classroom management, the report offers as a major conclusion that there was a 26% increase in the number of programs that taught five specific classroom management strategies.

Professors Stillman and Schultz explain how the report assumes that a methodology relying exclusively on review of publicly available program artifacts is a valid approach for determining program quality. They state further that the report largely ignores the body of empirical literature that investigates clinical practice and classroom management. Of particular note is the exclusion of scholarship that centers equity and justice.

The review concludes that the report, rather than analyzing the characteristics of successful programs preparing teachers for a wide range of contexts, is based exclusively on adherence to or compliance with NCTQ internal standards that are neither widely accepted nor evidence-based.

Find the review, by Jamy Stillman and Katherine Schultz, at:
https://nepc.colorado.edu/thinktank/teacher-prep

Find 2020 Teacher Prep Review: Clinical Practice and Classroom Management, written by Laura Pomerance and Kate Walsh and published by NCTQ, here.

NEPC Reviews (http://thinktankreview.org) provide the public, policymakers, and the press with timely, academically sound reviews of selected publications. NEPC Reviews are made possible in part by support provided by the Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice: http://www.greatlakescenter.org

The National Education Policy Center (NEPC), a university research center housed at the University of Colorado Boulder School of Education, produces and disseminates high-quality, peer-reviewed research to inform education policy discussions. Visit us at: https://nepc.colorado.edu

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Michelle Renée Valladares

Jamy Stillman
University of Colorado Boulder
(303) 492-5648
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