Teacher Preparation Programs in Louisiana Leading the Nation

Baton Rouge, LA - Teacher preparation programs in Louisiana have been identified as leading the nation in several areas as reported by the National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ) in the NCTQ Teacher Prep Review 2014 that was released today.

Specifically, Northwestern State University and Louisiana State University were ranked in the top 10 nationally for all elementary teacher preparation programs and Southeastern Louisiana University was ranked in the top 30 nationally for all secondary teacher preparation programs. This was based upon information collected from approximately 1,600 programs housed in 836 institutions nationally.

89% of Louisiana’s teacher preparation programs met a NCTQ standard pertaining to systematically collecting and monitoring data on their graduates and making changes to improve their programs. The national average is 16%.

In addition, 64% of Louisiana’s elementary teacher preparation programs fully met the NCTQ standard to prepare new teachers to teach early reading when compared to the national average of 16%. The remaining 36% of Louisiana’s teacher preparation programs nearly met the NCTQ standard.

“This recognition is a direct result of colleges of education and colleges of arts/sciences/humanities partnering with school districts to redesign their teacher preparation programs during the last ten years to address the changing needs of students in PK-12 schools in Louisiana,” said Tom Layzell, Senior Advisor to the Louisiana Board of Regents.

 Louisiana was one of the first states in the nation to recognize the need to create a more rigorous teacher certification structure and a more rigorous teacher preparation approval process. As a result of changes to Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) and Board of Regents (BoR) policies, all public and private universities redesigned their programs from 2001 2010 to address changing state/national student and teacher standards and underwent a rigorous review process from national experts. All pre-redesign programs were terminated and only approved redesigned programs were permitted to operate in Louisiana.

“This recognition validates the work of our two boards, PK-12 partners, and higher education partners,” said W. Clinton Raspberry, Jr., Board of Regents Chairman. “Louisiana is now being recognized nationally as a model for other states to emulate, and we are being invited to share what has worked with state and national audiences.”

“Not all of our universities were included in the NCTQ rankings due to some programs being too small, insufficient data being available in required areas, and other reasons,” said Jeanne Burns, Associate Commissioner for Teacher and Leader Initiatives, Louisiana Board of Regents. “We are confident that universities not listed in this year’s rankings will appear in next year’s report once additional data are made available to NCTQ.”

Dr. Burns also added that universities will not fully meet all of the NCTQ’s standards because some standards are not consistent with Board of Elementary and Secondary Education policies. Campuses must address BESE policies for their programs to be approved.

Last year, NCTQ released their first report, and higher education leaders were concerned about the procedures used to collect data for the report. As a result, during the fall of 2013, the Louisiana Board of Regents and Louisiana Department of Education invited NCTQ researchers to the State and agreed to provide them open access to redesign and other documents that demonstrated that universities in Louisiana were addressing many of the standards identified by NCTQ. Once the review was complete, several meetings were held to obtain additional information about state requirement for initial and ongoing program approval. The additional information was used by NCTQ when preparing the 2014 report.

“It is important for post-secondary education to provide the public with accurate information about all teacher preparation programs in Louisiana,” said Tom Layzell. “As we provide additional state-level data on teacher preparation in Louisiana during this next year, and as NCTQ is provided additional information that reflects all aspects of our teacher preparation programs, the public will become better informed about the effectiveness and success of our programs.” 

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