College of Education's secondary education teacher prep program again ranked one of top in nation

By |



The Lipscomb University College of Education’s secondary education teacher preparation program has once again been ranked one of the top in the nation by the National Council on Teacher Quality in its newly released ratings for 717 undergraduate programs that prepare high school teachers.

The nationwide study names Lipscomb University as one of only 16 programs in the nation designated a “Top Tier” institution and one of only six programs in the country ranked in the 99th percentile. Lipscomb was the only university in Tennessee to receive the “Top Tier” designation. Click here to view listing.

Boyd_mug“We are very pleased that our secondary teacher preparation program has been evaluated by NCTQ’s extensive criteria and determined to be one of the most effective in the country in preparing teachers to be successful in the classroom which will positively impact countless students,” said Deborah Boyd, dean of Lipscomb University’s College of Education. “We have a strong track record of preparing teachers to perform at the highest levels, and this ranking is one measure of the effectiveness of our program. This reflects the dedication of our faculty to ensuring that those who graduate from our program are ready on day one to be an outstanding teacher.”

Lipscomb’s program received straight As in the selection criteria categories with an A+ in the admissions selection criteria category and As in the Knowledge: secondary content in the sciences, secondary content in the social sciences and secondary methods coursework categories; and Practice: student teaching, classroom management and secondary methods practice categories. 

This is the latest recognition of the quality and effectiveness of Lipscomb’s teacher preparation program. In December, Lipscomb University was once again been recognized for the sixth consecutive year as one of the most effective teacher preparation programs in Tennessee as it earned top scores on the 2016 Teacher Preparation Report Card released by the Tennessee State Board of Education. The Lipscomb University College of Education’s teacher preparation program received the highest score in the state on the report. The Teach for America-Nashville program, which has a longstanding partnership with Lipscomb’s College of Education, received the second-highest score on the report card.

In the NCTQ’s last ranking the College of Education’s secondary teacher preparation program shared the No. 1 ranking in the nation by the NCTQ in its 2014 Teacher Prep Review. The college’s graduate program in the elementary grades was named No. 14 in the nation. Since that review, the NCTQ restructured its ranking structure. In 2015 Lipscomb's College of Education was ranked the No. 15 best value in the nation by the National Council on Teacher Quality. In addition, the college was ranked among NCTQ's 35 "Top Colleges for Content Preparation" in the nation.

In April, for the second time, the Tennessee State Department of Education announced that it was looking to Lipscomb’s College of Education to take a leading role and train more than 2,000 teachers statewide in its literacy campaign, Read to be Ready. Lipscomb faculty were hired in 2016 to train more than 140 educators selected to conduct 20 summer literacy camps at their schools, as part of Gov. Bill Haslam’s Read to be Ready initiative that was funded by the Dollar General Literacy Foundation. The summer camps involved more than 600 students last year at 20 sites across the state. After the success last year, the State Department of Human Services provided a $30 million grant to host up to 350 literacy camps this year affecting up to 10,000 students, and once again education professors Ally Hauptman, Michelle Hasty, and Julie Simone were hired to share their expertise on how to motivate young students to read using research-based best practices for about 2,500 camp coordinators statewide.

“At a time when fewer than half of the nation’s teacher prep programs successfully show future teachers both what to teach and how to teach it, it’s great to see programs like Lipscomb University proving that there is a better way,” said Kate Walsh, president of NCTQ. “Programs awarded Top Tier status understand that their most important job is to deliver well prepared teachers to classrooms, by paying a lot of attention to the nuts and bolts of what it takes to become effective.”

However, the national picture is more mixed. This analysis found that a common problem for many of the other 700+ programs is the relatively weak content preparation provided to science and social studies teacher candidates compared to the almost uniformly strong preparation in English and mathematics content in the same institutions. A sizeable portion of programs (43 percent) struggle to prepare both science and social studies teachers to teach the subject’s content. For example, even though history is the subject most social studies teachers will be assigned to teach, one out of five programs requires minimal to no history courses of their candidates. 

Key national NCTQ report findings 

  • While three-fourths of all programs require future teachers take a course in the best ways to teach a specific subject, only 42 percent of programs succeed at teaching future teachers both the content and teaching methods for their subject.
  • There are early signs of some programs becoming more selective in their admissions, but 44 percent of programs set the bar too low for who gets into their programs. Among sufficiently selective programs, half also meet diversity goals.
  • Only 6 percent of programs pay sufficient attention to the quality of student teaching, by establishing an expectation that only skilled teachers should be allowed to mentor a future teacher and requiring student teachers to be regularly observed by program staff.
  • Fewer than half of all programs (44 percent) evaluate teacher candidates on their use of the most effective strategies for managing classrooms while student teaching. 

 “Looking at program performance across the board, our big takeaway is that the preparation of high school teachers is a big leaky bucket,” said Walsh. “Much of what we continue to find in all of our ratings work reflects the relative anarchy in the field of teacher preparation, where every institution independently decides what it means to prepare a teacher well, whether or not it is what public schools need or where the evidence points. That lack of coherence and a professional governance is without parallel in other fields of professional preparation.”

Walsh said that to enable other programs to emulate the success of Lipscomb University and the others in the Top Tier, NCTQ recommends that teacher prep programs raise their subject content requirements to require a solid education in all the subjects the future teacher will be licensed to teach, even in the broad categories of science and social studies.

This edition of the Teacher Prep Review analyzes undergraduate programs preparing secondary school teachers. The next set of ratings from NCTQ will appear in Fall 2017, covering graduate and alternative (or nontraditional) programs preparing elementary teachers. The ratings for graduate and nontraditional secondary follow in Spring 2018, followed by undergraduate and graduate special education programs in Fall 2018.

To read the Landscape report, click here.

About Lipscomb University’s College of Education

The Lipscomb University College of Education’s secondary teacher preparation program shares the No. 1 ranking in the nation by the National Council on Teacher Quality in its 2014 Teacher Prep Review. The college’s graduate program in the elementary grades was named No. 14 in the nation. In 2015, for the fifth year in a row, the College of Education was recognized by the Tennessee Higher Education Commission as one of the most effective teacher preparation programs in the state, listed among only five programs in the state. Lipscomb was also recognized as one of the two largest teacher preparation programs among all private universities in the state. In 2015, the College of Education was ranked the No. 15 best value in the nation by the National Council on Teacher Quality. In addition, the college was ranked among NCTQ's 35 "Top Colleges for Content Preparation" in the nation. The College of Education was named the 2016 Model of Excellence in Partnerships by the Association of Independent Liberal Arts Colleges for Teacher Education.

Want to know more? Visit

Send a congratulatory email to College of Education Dean Deborah Boyd. Click here.