NCTQ Releases Teacher Preparation Honor Roll

by JC Cook

In a rigorous research study that required 10 pilot studies and over 8 years to complete, the National Council on Teacher Quality recently released their “honor roll” of teaching preparation programs that achieved at least a 3 out of 4 star rating. Of the over 1100 schools researched, only 105 achieved the high ratings necessary to gain this admirable accomplishment.

The study, which based itself upon Abraham Flexner’s 1910 review of medical training programs, was a project geared toward rating programs based upon very difficult and challenging criteria including syllabi, course requirements, graduate surveys, textbook selection as well as standards and practices common to the highest achieving countries and nation states in the global education rankings, to just mention a few.

While most of the universities that made the honor roll were traditional, brick and mortar universities, Western Governors University was the only online university to achieve the distinction. This is especially impressive since all of the schools that made the honor roll did so because of a heavy dosage of two simple aspects of their programs: success of their graduates and time spent in classrooms gaining hands-on experience. The study itself explored the concept that practical training is more important than simple theoretical training, an opinion echoed by many first year teachers.

In many parts of country, schools with open positions are often flooded with applicants and are able to skim the cream from the top, often making the decision based upon how much actual classroom time they’ve logged. This can put first year teachers in the inevitable catch-22 of needing experience to gain experience; a situation that can only be remedied by having been a part of a program requiring a high amount of classroom hours.

While of course rankings may not mean everything, I think we can all agree that if you are planning to spend the time, money, and energy to enroll in a college or university’s educational program, you better do your homework.

This article is sponsored by Western Governors University, a non-profit, accredited, online university. WGU's Teachers College offers multiple online degree programs for current teachers or those looking to become teachers. To find out more, please visit

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