College Rankings FAQs
When It Comes to Rankings, Be Sure to Read the Fine Print:
Not All Rankings Are Created Equal
The Gladys W. and David H. Patton College of Education takes pride in its strong academic programs, which are held to stringent state and national accreditation standards. We believe in accountability: our alumni, students, and school partners expect nothing but the best from us, and the Ohio Board of Regents, the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE), and the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE) set a high bar for excellence. Their standards are based on objective criteria developed through systematic testing and sound methodology.
Recently, other organizations have developed their own models for evaluating colleges of education and have joined the national debate on education reform. While we welcome new voices in the public discourse on this topic, some of these models lack consistency and rigor and are based on methods that are questionable and outdated. Some organizations have elected to present the results of their assessment models in the form of "rankings" or "report cards." The FAQ's that follow outline why not all rankings or report cards are equally impartial and sound.
Renée A. Middleton
Dean, The Patton College of Education
Executive Vice President and Provost
NCTQ Frequently Asked Questions
Why am I getting this message?
- You may soon read about teacher education programs in Ohio and other states being criticized on the basis of a new ranking or "report card.
- These rankings paint an inaccurate picture because they are based on incomplete data. They fail to document the good work that is done every day by professors, teachers, and staff in our public education system
- It is easy to take rankings for granted, but anyone who cares about the quality of public education must be a critical reader of rankings. Careful attention to how rankings are constructed will reveal a variety of issues, including whether or not important factors may have been overlooked and if a particular methodology is accurate and appropriate.
What's the current situation?
- Teacher education programs throughout the state of Ohio are held to high accreditation and performance standards at the national, state and local levels.
- In 2010 the Ohio Board of Regents and all public and private colleges of education adopted the Ohio Educator Preparation Quality Metrics (per HB1).
- Every teacher education program in Ohio has professional standards to which it is accountable and collects evidence on a continual basis to evaluate the effectiveness of the programs.
- The standards are consistently applied and fine-tuned, resulting in inaccurate data and a fair and relevant assessment of Ohio's teacher education programs.
- Ohio's teacher education programs prioritize quality and effective outcomes; they strive to continuously improve in order to better the future of students.
What's happening, and how am I affected?
- A "report card" document produced by the National Council for Teacher Quality (NCTQ) based on incomplete data is expected to be released soon.
- NCTQ plans to use U.S. News and World Report to distribute its "report card."
- Our knowledge of NCTQ and its methodology suggests that the document will not present an accurate account of the training of teacher candidates in public institutions, the performance of public school teachers and the effectiveness of colleges of education.
- You may encounter inaccurate information resulting from the NCTQ study or have conversations with those who have seen it.
- The document, if taken simply at face value, could negatively impact how many colleges of education, including those in Ohio, are perceived.
What makes the new NCTQ study inaccurate?
- NCTQ uses an outdated model, which has been identified by The National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) as ineffective.
- "Report cards" such as those issued by NCTQ tend to focus on quantity - the number of inputs a program can document. Other national education organizations, which have years of assessment experience, focus on quality - what teacher-preparation candidates actually learn, how well they perform, and how well their students perform.
- In similar studies by NCTQ in the past, the majority of universities they graded scored very low, because the focus of NCTQ has been on "inputs" (e.g. course syllabi) instead of "outputs" (e.g. how well our graduates perform)
- NCTQ collects different data sets from different universities, which undermines its ability to make fair comparisons and construct reliable analyses.
Why are the current accountability standards better than those used by NCTQ?
- The accountability standards (Ohio Educator Preparation Quality Metrics) now in place apply the same yardstick to every institution in Ohio - both private and public.
- Applying standards consistently produces results that are valid and meaningful.
- Current accountability standards require the collection of value-added data - that is, data about what our graduates contribute to the learning of the students in the classrooms where they teach; colleges of education use these data to continuously improve our programs.
- Enhancing both our performance and our standards is and should be an ongoing process, and all accredited colleges of education search for and incorporate new ideas in order to ensure success.
What's the best way to ensure that public education efforts are viewed accurately and fairly? How can I help?
- Encourage colleagues, organizations and communities to critically assess rankings and documents such as the forthcoming one by NCTQ.
- Direct persons interested in learning more about this issue to:
- Be an ambassador for Ohio's education programs and help to increase awareness of the value these programs provide in improving our students' futures.