June 24, 2013

Teacher Education Program earns high marks

by Pete Rosenbery

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s Teacher Education Program (TEP) earned high marks in a recent independent review by the National Council on Teacher Quality.

The University’s undergraduate secondary-education program ranks in the top 9 percent of elementary and secondary programs in the nation reviewed by the Washington, D.C.-based non-profit, non-partisan group.  SIU’s program was among 105 university teacher education programs to make the organization’s “honor roll” by earning a minimum three-star ranking out of a possible four stars.  The program is also one of two from 19 Illinois colleges and universities whose undergraduate secondary-education programs were reviewed to earn three stars.

The inaugural “Teacher Prep Review” evaluated more than 1,1,00 colleges and universities that prepare 99 percent of the nation’s elementary and secondary-education teachers, according to the organization.

Meanwhile, SIU’s undergraduate elementary education program earned 2.5 out of four stars, and held the same four-star ranking strength in areas of student selection criteria, student teaching, and student outcomes.

“The National Council on Teacher Quality review follows a very positive reaccreditation of our Teacher Education Program,” Chancellor Rita Cheng said. “These results confirm that, thanks to our dedicated faculty and staff, our students are well-prepared to make significant contributions in the classroom.”

Keith B. Wilson, dean of the College of Education and Human Services, said he is pleased with the results based on the criteria used in the evaluation.

“This says we are on the right track in making sure there is accountability on our part as a College, and as a teacher education program,” he said.  “It also says that other outside organizations recognize that we are on the right track as well, and validates that we have a good faculty, staff, and academic advisers working with the TEP.

“It is a team effort,” said Wilson, who credited the work of Kelly Glassett, the college’s teacher education program director.

He also predicts future scores will improve based on a mandated statewide curriculum redesign program.  The state is using SIU’s redesign program as a model, Wilson said.  The curriculum education program changes phase in and will begin to take effect in the upcoming school year.

SIU Carbondale requires a 2.75 GPA and passing the Illinois Test of Academic Proficiency for admission to the teacher education program. Student teachers participate in three, semester-long pre-service clinical placements in schools prior to their semester-long teaching experience.  In terms of outcomes, 96 percent of SIU program graduates pass the state’s Assessment of Professional Teaching examination, and 100 percent pass their respective content tests upon completing the teacher education program.

From 2008 to 2012, the College has nearly 1,250 graduates from the elementary education program and 443 graduates from the secondary education program.

Wilson noted the College’s undergraduate assessment that is also part of the TEP program had outstanding marks from a recent visit by officials with the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE). 

The University earned a six-year reaccreditation last year, drawing high praise from NCATE in all areas with reviewers saying the University’s teaching program is “fantastic,” “top-ranked” and “one of the best.”