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Colorado's teacher prep programs not so hot, report says

By: CAROL MCGRAW
December 14, 2009
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A report on teacher preparation programs has given University of Colorado at Colorado Springs some good marks.

UCCS is one of five undergraduate schools that meet standards for preparing students in reading.

The other schools are Colorado Christian College, Fort Lewis, Regis University's College of Professional Studies,and UC Boulder.

Two other schools, Mesa State College and the University of Northern Colorado met standards for preparing elementary teachers in math, according to the non-profit National Council on Teacher Quality in  Washington, D.C.

The report "Preparing Tomorrow's Teachers: Are Colorado's Education School Graduates Ready to Teach Reading and Mathematics?"  says the state needs to have tougher standards for those entering teacher preparation programs. There also needs to be better assessment tests to measure graduates competency in teaching reading and math.

NCQT also faulted Coloado for having weak licensing tests for teachers.

Kate Walsh, NCTQ president stated, "Most Colorado schools don't seem to think that it matters whether they admit teacher candidates who are themselves exceptional students. How can we expect student achievement to improve without well prepared teachers?"

Colorado College is among five colleges that are more careful in selection of students for their teacher prep programs.

The report also said, "There is increasing consensus that prospective elementary teachers—who are notoriously weak in mathematical competency—are best trained by college mathematics courses that are designed specifically for teachers and that impart a deep understanding of elementary and middle school mathematics concepts."

The Colorado Department of Higher Education reported 2,371 graduates from 15 undergraduate programs
preparing elementary teachers in 2008-09.

The report noted that reading achievement in Colorado is slightly above the national average, but is not stellar. On the most recent National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP),64 percent of Colorado fourth graders and 65 percent of Colorado eighth graders read below the proficient
level.

The report is available  at nctq.org.

 

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