BC teacher education given model program status

Bridgewater College’s teacher education program is now ranked as a “model” program by the National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ).

Of three Virginia colleges evaluated by the NCTQ, Bridgewater was the only one that received a positive ranking.

Bridgewater College was hailed by the NCTQ “for being part of a consortium of universities that jointly set high standards and provide training for cooperating teachers, and also for placing almost a third of its student teachers in schools that are both high-needs and high-performing.”

In all, the NCTQ randomly reviewed 134 higher education institutions offering an undergraduate student-teaching program to elementary teacher candidates. Teacher preparation programs in all 50 states and the District of Columbia were inspected.

The NCTQ examined supporting documents from each college and university, as well as contracts the institutions had made with school districts. Local school principals were surveyed and five site visits were made to interview student teachers, supervisors, cooperating teachers and field-placement coordinators.

Kate Walsh, president of NCTQ, said the focus of the evaluations was more on the student teacher experience than course content. She said the in-classroom training portion of teacher education – in which students training to be teachers receive “real world,” practical experience – is critical.

Dr. David E. Coffman, a professor of education, director of teacher education and chair of the education department at Bridgewater, noted that this was the first time the college had been evaluated by the NCTQ. The process, he said, took about two years to complete.

“Our top rating in this review shows that Bridgewater College is committed to producing quality teachers who are ready to go into the workplace,” Coffman said. “It also validates the fact that we have the procedures in place to allow us to reach our goal of turning out successful, qualified and caring teachers.”

Bridgewater College is a private, four-year liberal arts college located in the Central Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. Founded in 1880, it was the state’s first private, coeducational college. Today, Bridgewater College is home to approximately 1,700 undergraduate students.

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