In an effort to educate prospective students, future employers of its graduates, and the public, the NYU Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development today released a wide breadth of materials showcasing the school’s teacher training programs and evaluation methods.
“We are releasing this information because transparency is critically important in evaluating teacher programs,” said Mary Brabeck, dean of NYU Steinhardt. “We understand that teacher preparation is a complex developmental process. However, we want to bring attention to Steinhardt’s deliberate and conscientious effort to assess our programs and make the results transparent.”
Steinhardt’s comprehensive site, “Teacher Education at Steinhardt,” offers a broad inventory of the school’s teacher education programming and assessment practices. It contains course syllabi, professors’ biographies, candidate quality data, analyses of graduates’ teaching, assessments of graduates’ K-12 pupils’ learning, testimonials, graduates’ surveys, and an in depth look at Steinhardt’s outcome data showing its effectiveness in training teachers.
“We all need to know that teacher education programs are producing excellent teachers before they assume responsibility for a classroom,” said Brabeck. “That’s what we are doing and we want the public to see how we are doing it at Steinhardt.”
The issue of how to train students to become effective teachers, and evaluating programs that do this work, is an ongoing debate within the education community. Organizations like the National Council for Teacher Quality (NCTQ), the Teacher Education Accreditation Council (TEAC), the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE), the Interstate New Teacher Assessment and Support Consortium (InTASC), and the soon-to-be Commission for Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) continue to focus their efforts on tackling the issue; each organization is taking a different approach.
NCTQ and U.S. News and World Report are slated to release rankings of teacher education programs throughout the country. However, NCTQ’s methodology raises concerns about the meaning of the rankings.
“We don’t agree with NCTQ’s approach because we believe that teacher education is a dynamic and developmental process that can’t be judged simply based on syllabi and textbooks,” Brabeck said.
In a memo to U.S News Editor Brian Kelly and NCTQ President Kate Walsh, titled, “NCTQ Standards: Identifying the Methodology,” Dean Brabeck, in conjunction with 35 chief academic officers from the education schools of the Association of American Universities (AAU), expressed concerns relating to the process of the evaluation. Letters from the Council of Great City Schools and Chancellors of the California State University System, the University System of Maryland, and the State University System of New York also raised concerns about NCTQ’s data collection process.
“We applaud all efforts to turn attention to improving teacher education.” said Susan Neuman, former U.S. Assistant Secretary for Elementary and Secondary Education and chair of Steinhardt’s Department of Teaching and Learning. “But we take our commitment too seriously to have our efforts evaluated in a simplistic way. We hope our transparency will encourage other programs to stand by their work. We are eager to collaborate on how to develop a reliable methodology for evaluation of all teacher education programs.”