FAQs on the 2013 Teacher Prep Ratings

Learn more about the National Council on Teacher Quality ratings of undergrad and grad programs.

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U.S. News has published a subset of the NCTQ ratings of programs that train elementary and secondary teachers.
U.S. News has published a subset of the NCTQ ratings of programs that train elementary and secondary teachers.

The National Council on Teacher Quality has just released the first NCTQ Teacher Prep Ratings with U.S. News & World Report as the publisher. While the NCTQ website has ratings on 2,420 teacher preparation programs at 1,130 institutions, on usnews.com we've published a subset: overall program ratings for 1,200 undergraduate and graduate teacher preparation programs offered at 608 schools.

Here are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about this project and U.S. News's role.

Why is U.S. News publishing NCTQ's ratings of teacher preparation programs?

U.S. News believes that teacher education programs have not been fully scrutinized in the past. There is a big push nationwide to improve both teacher quality and the quality of schools at the K-12 level. The new ratings are part of this national effort to hold teacher preparation programs accountable for the quality of their graduates.

We hope these new ratings will help lead to improvements in teacher preparation programs and address the lack of comparable information about these programs.

For more details, see U.S. News Editor Brian Kelly's opinion on the NCTQ ratings.

What role did U.S. News play in developing the methodology, collecting data from teacher education programs and compiling the NCTQ Teacher Prep Ratings?

U.S. News did not play a role in these areas. NCTQ developed the methodology with input from many higher education experts, collected the data used to compute the ratings directly from education schools and compiled and calculated the Teacher Prep Ratings.

Do these new NCTQ ratings replace the U.S. News Best Education Schools rankings?

No, the NCTQ Teacher Prep Ratings are offered in addition to what U.S. News does now. U.S. News will continue to publish the Best Education Schools rankings as part of our annual Best Graduate Schools rankings.

How are the U.S. News Best Education Schools rankings different from the NCTQ Teacher Prep Ratings?

The methodologies used to compile the U.S. News rankings and the NCTQ ratings are completely different and fully independent from each other.

The current U.S. News Best Education Schools rankings only evaluated the 278 graduate schools that grant a doctoral degree in education. The methodology focused on the research output of those doctoral programs and did not evaluate any teacher preparation programs at those education schools.

NCTQ's Teacher Prep Ratings evaluated 1,200 programs at 608 colleges and universities with programs that prepare elementary and secondary teachers and only rated the teacher preparation programs at those schools.

U.S. News did not use any data from the NCTQ Teacher Prep Ratings to compute our Best Education Schools rankings, and similarly, NCTQ did not use any data from the U.S. News Best Education Schools rankings to compute its Teacher Prep Ratings.

It's also important to note that the U.S. News Best Education Schools is a numerical ranking of each graduate education school based on how each school's data compares with all other graduate education schools.

In contrast, the NCTQ Teacher Prep Ratings use a star system that separately rates up to four teacher preparation programs at an education school based on how each program performed on NCTQ's rating standards.

Has U.S. News worked with other organizations to conduct rankings in the past?

Yes, many of the rankings U.S. News publishes are the result of finding highly knowledgeable partners and working with them to produce rankings.

U.S. News currently partners with Best Lawyers to publish the Best Law Firms rankings; with RTI International to produce our Best Hospitals rankings; and with the American Institutes for Research to create the Best High Schools rankings.

How can I locate the methodology used to compile the 2013 NCTQ Teacher Prep Ratings?

Visit the NCTQ site to find the complete methodology and other detailed information about how the NCTQ ratings were compiled.

I have a question about the data or methodologies used in the 2013 NCTQ Teacher Prep Ratings. Whom should I contact?

Please send your inquiry via email to Laura Johnson at NCTQ.

I am in the media and have questions about the 2013 NCTQ Teacher Prep Ratings. Whom should I contact?

Please send your inquiry via email to Laura Johnson at NCTQ.