Putting Education Reform To The Test

Florida College Says Education School Rankings Are Inaccurate

Florida State College at Jacksonville is questioning a new national ranking of education schools.

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Florida State College at Jacksonville is questioning a new national ranking of education schools.

A Florida college rated “substandard” in national rankings of education schools said the rankings were “inaccurate and misleading” and rely too much on information obtained on the Internet.

The National Council on Teacher Quality released a ranking of college and university elementary and secondary education programs Tuesday. Florida State College at Jacksonville was one of five state schools rated “substandard” by NCTQ.

But Tiffany Hunter, Florida State College at Jacksonville dean of education, said the school only has an early childhood education program. Florida has two certifications for early childhood education and elementary education, Hunter said, and the requirements for each are different.

Therefore, the school should not have been included in the evaluation of elementary education programs.

“It seems very apparent that the evaluation was inaccurate and misleading on all levels for our program at FSCJ,” Hunter said by email. “There is a division between Early Childhood and Elementary education and it does not appear to be understood by the NCTQ.”

NCTQ included early childhood education programs covering kindergarten through third grade and kindergarten through sixth grade teacher training programs in its evaluation of elementary education programs, spokesman Amy MacKown said by email.

But Hunter argued it is inappropriate to combine the two programs into one category.

“Although there is overlap in grade levels, we do not and cannot ever state that we have an elementary education program,” Hunter wrote. “When our students graduate from our program, they are not eligible to receive an Elementary Ed certification.”

The NCTQ ratings have been highly disputed this week. Many have questioned the methodology, which relies heavily on course catalogs and syllabi. Others noted the rankings do not consider how well graduates actually perform in the classroom.

Stanford University education professor Linda Darling-Hammond questioned the accuracy of the ratings in a piece at The Washington Post’s Answer Sheet blog.

NCTQ has countered most of Darling-Hammond’s claims on their blog, and says they are gathering feedback on the rankings. They plan to correct or amend the rankings if needed.

“As we have said from the beginning, with 16,000 ratings decisions, it was inevitable that we would make some errors,” Arthur McKee wrote on the NCTQ web site. “That’s why we set up the Forum process, where we will publicly address all objections to our ratings and make corrections where necessary. Programs such as Stanford’s can send us their objections now and we will address them in July on our website.”


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