IDA Launches Reviews of University Teacher Training Programs

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By Elisabeth Liptak, Professional Services Director, IDA

IDA is conducting reviews of university-based teacher training programs in reading using the criteria set in the IDA Knowledge and Practice Standards. Nine university programs are currently undergoing the independent review, which began in January and concludes in April.  The university programs submitted a wide variety of course materials and requirements for the review, which will also include a site visit to the school.  Each program is being evaluated by a team of three reviewers, all highly credentialed practitioners and researchers in the field. Last summer, IDA solicited applications for reviewers, which were vetted and selected by the IDA Standards & Practices committee in the fall. The reviewers participated in two training webinars on the IDA Standards and the review process.

For this initial round of reviews, the committee compiled a list of university teacher training programs in reading that were considered to be aligned with the IDA Standards and requested permission to review them. It also solicited programs through a mailing to more than 800 deans in schools of education across the United States. Both undergraduate and graduate programs were considered, as well as general education and special education programs. The reviews are completely voluntary.

The outcome of the review process is IDA recognition. The programs that meet the IDA Standards will be published on the IDA website and in other IDA publications, and promoted widely in a mailing. The Standards & Practices committee plans to write about the review process and its findings in a report to be published in the summer.

The results of IDA’s reviews coincide with the National Council on Teacher Quality’s survey of Schools of Education inUS News and World Report in fall 2012. While NCTQ’s survey looks at science-based reading instruction in undergraduate programs in the context of overall teacher training, it does not go into as much detail as the IDA Standards review, nor does it focus on graduate programs. We share the mission of NCTQ to improve the quality of teacher training and have endorsed their project.

After completion of the university reviews, the Standards & Practices committee will undertake reviews of instructional reading programs, other teacher training and certification programs, and international programs.

The short-term goal of IDA’s review of university programs is to identify teacher training programs that meet the IDAStandards, and to provide a framework for course content and high-quality teacher preparation.  A longer-term goal is to promote a common standard for teacher preparation and to ultimately change the way all teachers are trained and certified.

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