Committed to Quality, Excellence and Student Success

(June 17, 2014) LAKEWOOD, NJ—Recent coverage of rankings released by the National Council on Teacher Quality and U.S. News and World Report note that many organizations, including the GCU School of Education, declined to provide data.

GCU is among several colleges in New Jersey which have opted out of cooperating with NCTQ because they do not believe the group is truly interested in the outcomes of students in the classroom, explains GCU Provost, Dr. Bill Behre.

“Rather, he says, “they are focused primarily on inputs in teacher education programs.” “Most accrediting bodies have abandoned the input model of program evaluation, preferring to focus on evidence of successful outcomes.

“Taking part in NCTQ would be taking a step backwards,” says Dr. Behre. “Moreover. it is unclear to the critical reader whether the inputs that they preference really will lead to better teachers.”

Below, faculty leaders from the GCU School of Education share their official response to the latest findings issued by NCTQ/US News and World Report.

The GCU School of Education—As Strong As Ever

As you may know, media outlets are reporting information provided to them by National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ) in partnership with U.S. News and World Report. Their findings, which are based on incomplete data, do not fully reflect the extraordinary performances and excellent outcomes associated with our nation’s teachers, including the students and alumni of the Georgian Court University School of Education.

Our program is as strong as ever. We have a rich history and recent data, submitted only months ago to our accrediting body Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) support this. We want to take this opportunity to share our official response to the NCTQ report:

Georgian Court University is extremely proud of its teacher education program, which is rigorous and accredited. We use multiple measures to assess the quality of our program and formally monitor program effectiveness annually. The teacher education program at GCU has received full continuing accreditation each year since its initial accreditation in June 2009, and has recently completed a site visitation this spring semester. CAEP is the professional accrediting body for colleges and universities, recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.

Georgian Court does and will always support aspiring teachers and the pursuit of academic excellence. We are open to sound, credible standards and want to be challenged by such standards that will help the University better prepare its graduates for tomorrow’s diverse classrooms, aid school districts in knowing where they should target hiring efforts, and assist educational leaders and policymakers in determining best practices.

Our students know their content. In determining the preparedness of our graduates we use multiple measures:

  • Standardized tests (Accuplacer, Praxis I, Praxis II)
  • GPAs
  • Course Grades
  • Embedded course artifacts, rubrics,
  • E-portfolios (Taskstream)
  • Rating scales (clinical supervisors and cooperating teachers)
  • Exit and Alumni Surveys

Our faculty place a strong focus on learners in all of our courses. Our graduates are dual certified and trained in working with students with special needs. They learn the research based strategies to ensure that they practice culturally responsive teaching and they learn to plan instruction effectively for diverse learners. Our program includes multiple field experiences (60 hours; 90 hours; and 15 weeks of student teaching). During these field experiences, cooperating teachers and clinical supervisors comprehensively observe our candidates and provide feedback.

At Georgian Court University, we believe that all students have a right to quality education; that all students are capable of learning, and that all students learn best in classrooms that reflect the social, ethnic, racial, religious, and ability dimensions represented in our society. As a result, all of GCU’s pre-service teacher education integrates the knowledge and skills needed for teaching in general education and special education and leads to eligibility for instructional certificates in both. Our graduates meet the “highly qualified” criteria to teach in general education, inclusive classrooms, and in special education settings. The programs in instruction and educational services are guided by the NJ Professional Standards for Teachers and Interstate New Teacher Assessment and Support Consortium. By the time they have completed their programs, candidates are able to present evidence that they have achieved all standards successfully.

In addition to other evidence and more formal evaluations, we maintain professional connections and relationships with practitioners at all levels, in both public and private schools regionally. We receive solicited and unsolicited feedback about our graduates and program completers frequently. It is overwhelmingly positive.