New study: Teacher training programs neglect needed skills

On Wednesday, the National Center on Teacher Quality (NCTQ) released its final report on “What Teacher Preparation Programs Teach About K-12 Assessments: A Review.” The unfortunate answer? Not much.

NCTQ’s review of a representative sample of teacher training programs and schools of education found that:

  • Just 21 percent of the programs sampled adequately cover assessment literacy (teachers being taught the basics of what assessment is)
  • Just one percent of the programs sampled adequately cover analytical skills related to assessment (teachers being taught how to analyze assessments, individually and in collaborative settings)
  • Less than two percent of the programs sampled adequately cover instructional decision making using assessment data (teachers being taught how to use the data to adjust instruction)

The US Department of Education’s Race to the Top grant competition calls for more high-quality assessments and improved data systems. But no amount of high-quality assessments or elegant data systems will make a difference if teachers aren’t intimately familiar with the art of assessing student learning and responding to that information.

It’s time for schools of education to give teachers the training they want, and it’s time for the good people at the US Department of Education to provide incentives for schools of education and teacher training programs to build the skills that high-performing school systems need.

Download the full NCTQ report here.