Teacher-prep watchdog praises USC Rossier early reading program
National Council on Teacher Quality gives school top marks in new report
By Ross Brenneman
In a new analysis of teacher-preparation programs, USC Rossier’s early reading program has been named one of the best.
The rankings come in the National Council on Teacher Quality’s fourth edition of Teacher Prep Review, which looks at hundreds of programs across the United States. NCTQ is a nonpartisan, nonprofit research and policy organization.
The NCTQ review generally panned programs in California, ranking the state 31st overall in terms of average score on a traditional A–F scale; however, the review gave USC Rossier’s Master of the Arts in Teaching (Multiple Subject) program an A grade. Most programs in the state scored a B or lower.
“The connections between literacy and student success are undeniable, which is why teacher-preparation programs need to be built on best practices and be reactive to new information and research,” said Karen Symms Gallagher, the Emery Stoops and Joyce King Stoops Dean of the USC Rossier School of Education. “We never stop refining our programs, and are glad to see the results of our hard work hold up to stringent evaluations like this one.”
The methodology behind NCTQ’s report focused on how the science of reading is presented within course content, examining such factors as each program’s required courses, their syllabi and the textbooks used.
Programs earn an A by having coursework that appropriately covers what NCTQ cites as the five components of effective reading instruction: Phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary and comprehension strategies.
“The MAT program understands the complexities of literacy development and instruction,” said Eugenia Mora-Flores, a professor of clinical education and chair of the USC Rossier MAT program. “We want our candidates to understand the role that literacy plays in the academic and life-long success of students. We see literacy as a tool for learning, advocacy and impact.”
Mora-Flores also noted that while the NCTQ review focused on multiple-subject programs, USC Rossier applies the same approach to its MAT single-subject concentration as well.