WT Named One of the Nation’s Top Teacher Prep Programs

Oct 20, 2020
  • Education
  • Featured

WT Named One of the Nation’s Top Teacher Prep Programs

CANYON, Texas — West Texas A&M University’s undergraduate elementary teacher preparation program has been named among the top in the country by the ​National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ)​, a nonpartisan, not-for-profit research and policy organization, for strong training in classroom management strategies.

This month, NCTQ released its ​2020​ ​Teacher Prep Review: Clinical Practice and Classroom Management,​ which finds encouraging progress in teacher preparation programs’ adoption of evidence-based classroom management strategies that are universally effective, regardless of student age or the subject being taught. For the first time since NCTQ began publishing ratings in the ​2013​ ​Teacher Prep Review​, half of the nearly 1,000 traditional elementary teacher preparation programs evaluated earn an A or B grade, up nearly 30 percent from seven years ago.

WT’s undergraduate program is among only 14 percent of elementary programs that earn an A, and serves as a model of excellence for others. These top-performing programs are recognized for requiring their aspiring elementary teachers to demonstrate during student teaching, residency, or equivalent clinical practice their ability to implement all five classroom strategies, which are:

  1. Establishing rules and routines​ that set expectations for behavior;
  2. Maximizing learning time​ by managing time, class materials, and the physical setup of the classroom, and by promoting student engagement;
  3. Reinforcing positive behavior​ by using specific, meaningful praise and other forms of positive reinforcement;
  4. Redirecting off-task behavior​ through unobtrusive means that do not interrupt instruction and that prevent and manage such behavior, and;
  5. Addressing serious misbehavior​ with consistent, respectful, and appropriate consequences.

“Classroom management is a critical skill demonstrated by effective educators,” said Dr. Eddie Henderson, dean of the College of Education and Social Sciences. “The WT Educator Preparation Program is honored that our commitment to preparing education professionals who are equipped to maximize opportunities for every learner has been recognized by the National Council on Teacher Quality.”

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has, at least for this year, reshaped much of what happens in schools, including classroom management training for aspiring teachers. Several essential classroom management strategies can’t simply be converted to a remote teaching environment, and many states and teacher preparation programs have moved their clinical practice experiences online or abbreviated them limiting opportunities to practice. However, the basic principles of quality classroom management still stand in spite of COVID and are still critical to the success of aspiring teachers in their future careers.

“In previous editions of the ​Teacher Prep Review​, the predominant approach to classroom management instruction by most programs was that establishing classroom rules and planning great lessons will prevent student misbehavior,” observed NCTQ President Kate Walsh. “As any teacher can attest, engaging classes alone are seldom enough. We are heartened by the growing acknowledgment of the many benefits of building new teachers’ skills in these key strategies.”

While the NCTQ data reports a clear uptick in the number of programs whose elementary teacher candidates learn research-supported classroom management strategies, NCTQ also noted a trend that prevents large numbers of teacher candidates from gaining the classroom management skills they need to help their students. A review of the observation and evaluation instruments commonly used by programs to evaluate teacher candidates showed that the most commonly used instruments, such as Danielson’s ​Framework, ​do not look for competency in all five research-based classroom management strategies. Only one, the National Institute for Excellence in Teaching (NIET) TAP rubric, addresses the full range of strategies. This is a significant opportunity for teacher prep programs to strengthen instruction in classroom management.

Now in its fourth edition, the ​Teacher Prep Review​ assigns a team of experts to evaluate teacher preparation programs on their adherence to evidence-based classroom management strategies. Programs that earn an A on this standard require their aspiring elementary teachers to demonstrate their ability on all five strategies.

Read the full NCTQ summary of findings, see all top-performing programs, and dig deeper into the methodology at ​

Being a high-quality, learner-centered educational environment is key to WT’s long-term plan, WT 125: From the Panhandle to the World.



About West Texas A&M University

WT is located in Canyon, Texas, on a 342-acre residential campus. Established in 1910, the University has been part of The Texas A&M University System since 1990. With enrollment of more than 10,000, WT offers 60 undergraduate degree programs, 38 master’s degrees and two doctoral degrees. The University is also home to the Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum, the largest history museum in the state and the home of one of the Southwest’s finest art collections. The Buffaloes are a member of the NCAA Division II Lone Star Conference and offers 15 men’s and women’s athletics programs.