Silver Lake College Response to Teacher Education Ratings by NCTQ

June 20, 2013

On June 18 the U.S. News & World Report released a report authored by the National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ) that evaluated and ranked teacher education programs in the United States. Silver Lake College of the Holy Family, a private, not-for-profit liberal arts college with a 75 year history of preparing successful educators, is providing this response to the report as a service to College faculty and staff, other higher education institutions, policy makers, and the general public. In agreement with public and private colleges and universities across the state of Wisconsin, Silver Lake College finds the following areas of concern regarding the design and methods used for the study:

  • The study has not been peer reviewed as is the standard for credible research.
  • NCTQ developed their own set of standards that in many instances were not research based.
  • The development and review process for NCTQ standards was not transparent and did not include recognized experts in the teacher education community.
  • NCTQ’s evaluation of teacher education programs in Wisconsin did not include on-site review. Results were based on syllabi and course information submitted to or collected by NCTQ.
  • NCTQ did not request or incorporate outcome data in the study – it is based entirely on inputs and not on actual results of teacher and student performance.
  • NCTQ chose to rank institutions regardless of their willingness to participate in the study, and have forced public colleges and universities to provide information through open records requests and lawsuits. There are also widespread reports of NCTQ collecting information by purchasing syllabi and other course information from students, and it is assumed that much information was collected from college and university web sites.

Silver Lake College does not object to being evaluated, we simply do not acknowledge the NCTQ review as valid based on study design deficiencies presented above. We welcome critical review and are committed to continuous improvement of our all of our academic programs. The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (WI DPI) evaluates all teacher licensure programs in the state every year. Part of the review process includes a survey of graduates and school administrators that employ them, one year after graduation. The Silver Lake College survey asks graduates and administrators to respond to teacher education outcome statements that reflect the knowledge, skills and dispositions outlined in the Wisconsin Teacher Standards. In the most recent survey, 94.6% of 2011 Silver Lake College teaching graduates responded 4 or 5 (on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being “definitely agree” and 4 being “somewhat agree”) when asked these questions about their level of preparedness to teach. Graduate and administrator responses are used each year to make ongoing improvements to curriculum and field experience programs.

In partnership with the WI DPI and State Superintendent Tony Evers, Silver Lake College is adopting a new assessment of teaching performance that every student teacher will have to pass to be eligible for licensure. The Education Teacher Performance Assessment (EdTPA) was developed by Stanford University and is being implemented by several states across the Midwest. The assessment includes a review of each teacher candidate’s work by impartial external scorers who evaluate the teaching abilities of individuals using performance-based evidence. Additional information on this program is available at

Mark Swanson, Superintendent of Manitowoc County Public Schools states, “The Manitowoc Public School District employs many outstanding graduates of Silver Lake College. We find our Silver Lake College graduates very well prepared for teaching and know they have received exceptional research based and state of the art training. In addition, our district is honored to partner with Silver Lake College on innovative approaches to teacher training, student practicums, and student teaching.”

Contacts for questions or additional information:

Sister Kay Klackner, OSF, MA, EdD
Silver Lake College of the Holy Family
Director of Teacher Education