NCTQ names Tech as having one of nation’s top programs for undergraduate elementary education

The National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ) has recognized Louisiana Tech University’s undergraduate elementary teacher preparation program as one of the nation’s top programs, excelling in preparing teacher candidates to be highly effective teachers. The accolade is highlighted as an element of NCTQ’s newest book, Start Here to Become a Teacher, which was released recently.

“Of course, I am very pleased that our program was recognized by NCTQ as one of the top 120 programs out of 872,” said Dr. Don Schillinger, Dean of the College of Education. “While our faculty and students are dedicated to integrating multiple standards-based and data-driven components into their professional development, we appreciate many of NCTQ’s selection criteria. I’m proud of our program’s positive impact, as recognized by NCTQ, on future teachers and the students they will serve.”

This is not the first time this program has been honored by the NCTQ. In 2016, NCTQ listed Tech’s undergraduate elementary teacher preparation program as No. 4 nationally.

The NCTQ is a nonpartisan, not-for-profit research and policy organization that reviews and ranks universities’ education programs according to their teaching preparation strategies. It prides itself in helping to ensure that every child has an effective teacher and that every teacher has the opportunity to be effective. 

Using nearly two decades of extensive research in teacher preparation, Start Here to Become a Teacherassessed programs on critical, evidence-based measures, including the following: 

  • Rigorous admissions process;
  • Emphasis on research-based approaches to teaching reading, math, science, and social studies for elementary candidates;
  • Content knowledge and curriculum assessment for secondary candidates;
  • Training in classroom management strategies that meet the needs for all students; and
  • Quality student teaching experiences.

“The universities named in Start Here are exemplary in their dedication to training the next generation of great teachers,” says Kate Walsh, NCTQ President and the book’s author. “We commend these institutions for the thoughtful manner in which they’ve grounded their approach to teacher preparation in what research shows to actually be effective.”

Through Louisiana Tech’s unique year-long residency program, undergraduate students have a wonderful opportunity to receive support and guidance and build relationships with their mentor teachers and professors while participating in their year-long apprenticeship experience. 

The interconnectedness of the undergraduate coursework provides teacher candidates with the proper balance of both theory and practical application. Building rich relationships with the teacher candidates allows students to grow both individually and collectively with their colleagues through collaboration and communication with faculty and staff. Teacher candidates help each other understand how to best implement content in the classroom and become successful educators.

“As we prepare our teacher candidates, we believe that our top stakeholder is the student sitting in PK-5 classrooms. All instructional decisions are filtered through this lens,” said Tech assistant professor Dr. Libby Manning. “With built-in field experiences, professors work with children in PK-5th grades conducting demonstration lessons in those classrooms, while teacher candidates actively observe, annotate, and note the effectiveness and efficiencies of the teaching strategies, and then collectively debrief following the observation lesson. This exercise challenges students to assess various teaching strategies and training in classroom management prior to beginning their year-long residency program.”