Professor Critical of National Education Group's Report on Teacher Preparation

Chris Goering
University Relations

Chris Goering

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark.-- A recent report by the National Council on Teacher Quality doesn't give any useful recommendations for improving teacher preparation, selecting textbooks or guiding educational policy, according to a review co-written by Chris Goering, University of Arkansas associate professor of English education.

The review was published online by the National Education Policy Center based at the University of Colorado. It also included a link to the NCTQ report, which was titled "Learning About Learning: What Every New Teacher Needs to Know." Goering co-authored the review with P.L. Thomas of Furman University.

A valid analysis of teacher education programs and the quality of textbooks is needed, the authors said, but would require a far more comprehensive consideration of best practices across all grade levels and content areas than was made for the report.

"The analysis of programs and textbooks would need to meet a much higher bar of validity and generalizability than presented in the NCTQ report," the authors said.

The NCTQ report is based on the analysis of 48 textbooks obtained from the course syllabi of 48 elementary and secondary teacher preparation programs at 28 randomly selected institutions. The books were evaluated by only one measure, that of six teaching strategies contained in an Institute of Education Sciences study, and this singular focus was not adequately justified, the review said.

Goering added, "By narrowing what counts and thus holding textbooks to very narrow ideas of what is important, the NCTQ report presents skewed results that are misleading. It's sort of like a baseball team only counting hits that are hit into a 4-foot by 4-foot square in left center field. Teacher education can and will improve but this sort of report isn't going to do much more than confuse the public."

Goering coordinates the English education and drama and speech education programs at the U of A and directs the Northwest Arkansas Writing Project and the Center for Children and Youth, both based in the College of Education and Health Professions. He's also an affiliated faculty member with the interdisciplinary public policy doctoral program, specializing in K-12 education policy.

Contacts

Heidi Wells, director of communications
College of Education and Health Professions
479-575-3138, heidisw@uark.edu

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