Kent State, Cleveland State dispute preparation study from National Council on Teacher Quality

KENT, Ohio - First grade teacher Angela Eastman is so satisfied with the school where she earned her undergraduate degree that she's back working on a master's. 

"I found that the program here was challenging and it did prepare me for the real world experiences that I had when I left," she said.

Eastman is surprised by a new study that gives Kent State low marks for teacher training.

The National Council on Teacher Quality ranked undergraduate and graduate education programs across the country by zero to four stars.  One in seven of those programs, including graduate programs at Kent State and Cleveland State received less than one star. Both schools question the report's methodology.

"It's very focused on inputs, what's in the syllabus, what's in the student teaching manual and not focused on outcomes," said Daniel Mahony, Dean of Kent State's College of Education, Health and Human Services.

"Can our graduates teach well? Do they have an impact on student learning? Are they satisfied with their experiences in the program? What do people say, superintendents and principals, about our graduates and their preparation? That's the data that we really focus a lot of our time and attention on," Mahoney said.

At Cleveland State University, Associate Dean of Academic Affairs Brian Yusko agrees that there's a problem with the study's methodology. He said it only used partial data.

What's more, the graduate education program, which was rated so low in the study, has won national awards from several organizations.

"It's worrisome for us," he said.

Of more than 600 schools surveyed, only four programs earned four stars: Ohio State, Furman University in South Carolina, and Lipscomb and Vanderbilt, both in Tennessee.

Cleveland State intends to formally register objections to its ratings with the National Council on Teacher Quality.

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