Report: Teacher Prep Courses Easier Than Other College Majors
Teacher candidates are significantly more likely to graduate with honors than
other students owing to less rigorous coursework in teacher preparation programs,
according to a new report from the National
Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ).
The report, "Easy A's and
What's Behind Them," is the latest in a series of reports by NCTQ about
teacher preparation. According to a news release from NCTQ, "these courses send
too many graduates into the classroom woefully unprepared, thus diminishing the
value of their investment in preparation."
The NCTQ examined graduation data for students at 509 institutions and found
that on average 44 percent of teacher candidates graduate with honors compared
to only 30 percent of other graduates. According to NCTQ, education majors are
getting higher marks because their courses include far more
"criterion-deficient" assignments than "criterion-referenced" assignments.
The NCTQ defines criterion-deficient assignments as those that are more
subjective in nature and "do not require demonstration or mastery of particular
knowledge or skills." Criterion-referenced assignments are defined as
those that are more objective in nature and require demonstration of specific
knowledge and skills "with an understanding that some strategies are more
effective than others in the classroom." The NCTQ found that criterion-deficient
assignments accounted for 71 percent of the grade in teacher preparation
courses, on average, whereas those types of assignments accounted for only 34
percent of the grade in other courses.
Key findings from the report:
- 58 percent of educational institutions analysed are much more likely to
confer high grades for teacher preparation majors than are other majors on
the same campus;
- Teacher preparation majors are more likely than other majors to award
- Courses with a higher percentage of criterion-deficient assignments
correlate with higher course grades;
- Criterion-deficient assignments are more common in teacher preparation
- Criterion-deficient assignments fail to provide teacher candidates with
the knowledge and skills they need to plan and deliver effective
The full report, "Easy A's and What's Behind Them," is available as a free
PDF download from the NCTQ's site.
Leila Meyer is a technology writer based in British Columbia. She can be reached at [email protected].