Programs Are Demonstrating Significant Progress
The release examines 875 undergraduate elementary teacher programs in 396 public and 479 private colleges and universities in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. These programs range from the 10 institutions in our sample that prepared a handful of teachers in 2014 to giant Touro College, which prepared 1,683.
Compared to our previous release in 2014, programs showed positive signs of growth, especially with regard to teaching reading; for example, more programs now include all five research-proven elements of reading instruction: phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension. The percentage of programs that require each element individually also has increased.
Programs also have made gains on selectivity, thereby showing that programs can increase diversity without sacrificing selectivity.
In addition, many programs require some content, most notably composition, American history, and children’s literature.
But many programs still have a long way to go in teaching elementary math, science, and other STEM content; raising their standards for admissions; establishing student teaching as a useful experience with structured feedback in key elements of classroom management; and becoming more selective about the qualifications of cooperating teachers who mentor student teachers.
The report has ordered these undergraduate programs using percentiles based on the letter grades they earn in each area. These undergraduate elementary programs in the top 10 percent are the best in the nation.
However, they only prepare 13 percent of the 59,000 elementary teachers included in this release. This means that far too many aspiring teachers attend programs that do not score as highly in all the elements necessary to prepare them sufficiently for their first classroom.