Jun. 24, 2013
Written by Kurt Moore
The Marion Star
MARION — A report on teacher preparation programs gave high reviews to The Ohio State University’s programs, which includes what’s taught at Ohio State at Marion, while criticizing the majority of the nation’s programs.
The news comes as Ohio State plans to make changes to how it operates its program.
The National Council on Teacher Quality, a Washington, D.C- based advocate for education reform, released its 2013 NCTQ Teacher Prep Review on Tuesday. U.S. News and World Report partnered with the organization to release the data, which is said to “gauge the quality of the bachelor’s and master’s degree tracks required to enter the teaching profession.”
Rankings were based on a four-star system with four being the best. Only four programs, including The Ohio State University’s secondary education preparation program, out of 1,200 teacher preparation programs at 608 schools earned four stars.
Ohio State’s elementary preparation program, which includes OSUM, earned 3.5 stars. Ohio State was the only institution to earn more than three stars for both an elementary and a secondary program.
Among its criteria was whether programs are preparing teachers to teach the new common core academic standards adopted by 45 states including Ohio.
Mary Jo Fresch, an education professor and faculty coordinator at OSUM, complimented the study on assessing rigor of the teaching preparation programs.
“That’s one of the things that makes us shine,” she said.
Fresch said regional campuses such as OSUM focus on elementary education while students interested in secondary education must go to the main campus in Columbus. She said the programs taught at regional campuses are identical to what’s taught in Columbus. The data assessed for the review includes all Ohio State data throughout the university system.
She said Ohio State faculty teaches students how to look at academic standards and requires them to take tests on the content before they can start student teaching. Students must pass a teacher certification exam called a Praxis test to be able to student teach.
“We have never had a student not student teach because they didn’t know the content,” she said.
Fresch said Ohio State also has high rates of students passing the test required to get a teaching license.
“We prepare them for whatever they see in the classroom,” she said as she talked about how they get some experience in schools every year they are in college.
All faculty in the Ohio State College of Education are former classroom teachers. Fresch said they do research regularly to stay up to date on changing demands and information.
She complimented OSUM, where she has taught since 1995, for having a feel of a small campus while offering the same qualities of education as a large university. She said it’s easier for students to get individual help at OSUM because of the lower number of students.
Ohio State was one of few institutions in the state and the country to get high marks. NCTQ accused colleges and universities preparing teachers of being “an industry of mediocrity, churning out first-year teachers with classroom management skills and contentknowledge inadequate to thrive in classrooms with ever-increasing ethic and socioeconomic student diversity.”
The study itself has been met with mixed reviews. While praised by Ohio State, it has been criticized elsewhere for having inaccurate data and flawed methodology.
Fresch said there will be changes in how Ohio State operates its program. Previously students had to complete both their bachelor’s and master’s degrees before they could apply for a teaching license. Now they will be able to apply for a license after they complete their bachelor’s degree.
Then they can start teaching and return to complete their master’s degree.
“This four-year degree is doable,” Fresch said. “They will get plenty of experience in the field. We will see a rise of students coming for that bachelor’s degree.”
She said it also makes it easier for someone to study part-time to become a teacher.
“They can take it at their own pace,” she said.