The University of Florida was ranked two-and-a-half out of four stars on a report released by the National Council on Teacher Quality.
The study evaluated teacher preparedness programs and was based on factors such as selectivity, content preparation and student teaching requirements.
The UF College of Education Associate Dean for Academic Affairs Tom Dana said the university has been praised for its ESOL and Reading programs, as well as its extensive student field experiences with learners.
“We have been commended for having that kind of work in our program, during our external reviews by accrediting agencies, and this group didn’t even notice we do that kind of work,” he said.
The study rates more than 1,100 elementary and secondary programs at just over 600 insititutions of higher education across the U.S., and concludes the bar is set too low for graduates to enter into professional training. It concludes future teachers are not being adequately prepared for the classroom or new requirements such as the Common Core State Standards.
The original project would have evaluated programs in 16 areas, but the current rankings were made using less information than originally hoped, partially because education schools refused to cooperate with the study.
“The approach that they took is really not a valid approach, in the way they chose to present their findings as sort of stars that consumers can use to decide on which programs are decent or not, it’s sort of a misleading system,” Dana said.
The rankings were published in the U.S. News & World Report, and criticism has come from places such as the American Federation of Teachers, education schools, and some researchers who say that a program’s course requirements or catalog syllabus are not adequate sources for a meaningful evaluation.
Furhman, Lipscomb, Ohio State, and Vanderbilt were the only universities to receive four star ratings.
“There are some weak programs across the nation that probably don’t have very strong candidates, but at the University of Florida we have particularly strong candidates. In fact, if you look at the NCTQ report, our selectivity rating was the highest one that they could provide,” Dana said.