The College of Education is honored to be awarded an A+ ranking from the National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ) in Early Reading Education, especially during Celebrate Literacy Week, Florida! The college received the award for their Unified Elementary ProTeach program, a rigorous five years consisting of intense undergraduate elementary teacher preparation. The program uses the latest developments in instructional approaches and new technologies to prepare young teachers to be models for their students.
The NCTQ is a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing support, preparation and recognition for America’s teachers. They’re committed to modernizing the teaching profession through policy change, education research and debates regarding tough issues in the profession.
“It is a very nice recognition of how hard the faculty have worked to put together a really robust, effective program. An A+ always feels good.” – Caitlin Gallingane, program coordinator for Unified Elementary ProTeach at the University of Florida.
The University of Florida is one of only fifteen undergraduate elementary programs that earns an A+ due to exemplary coursework, and serves as a model of excellence for others. These top-performing programs provide the following for each of the five essential components of reading:
- Explicit and repeated instruction on each component,
- Support for instruction with high-quality textbooks that accurately detail established principles of scientifically-based reading practices, and,
- Opportunities for teacher candidates to demonstrate mastery through in-class assignments, tests, and instructional practice.
The latest findings are a positive sign for newly energized movement across the nation to bring down notoriously high rates of illiteracy in the United States. Each year, well over a million public school students arriving in the fourth grade are added to the nation’s ranks of nonreaders. Two-thirds are black and Hispanic children struggling in the face of an inequitable education system. Reading ability is a key predictor of future educational gains and life success, making successful reading instruction essential to achieving educational equity.
“We have a huge wealth of knowledge and experience here in our faculty and graduate assistants, all of whom are absolutely dedicated to teaching our students, doing research that is going to improve student outcomes and helping our students make an impact on kids in schools now, not just in the future when they graduate,” Gallingane explains.
Now in its fourth edition, the Teacher Prep Review assigns a team of literacy experts to examine every course a program requires in early reading, looking at the planned topics to be covered in each class, readings, assignments, practice opportunities, and tests, as well as rating the quality of the textbooks used in each course. These experts look for clear evidence of dedicated course time as well as measures where aspiring teachers must demonstrate their knowledge of the five key components of the science of reading: phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension. All programs receive their preliminary grades well in advance of publication with an opportunity to appeal their rating and are invited to submit additional evidence for consideration. (See a short animated video explaining the methodology here.)
Read the full NCTQ summary of findings and see all top-performing programs: www.nctq.org/publications/2020-Teacher-Prep-Review:-Program-Performance-in-Early-Reading-Instruction