The National Council on Teacher Quality, NCTQ, released its latest ratings for 717 undergraduate programs that prepare high school teachers, including ratings for seven colleges in Utah.

The University of Utah is the only school in the state to be included on the NCTQ’s list of the “Nation’s Top Tier Secondary Teacher Prep Programs.” The U is one of only 16 programs to be included on the list.

Programs achieve top tier status because they have solid admission standards, provide sufficient preparation in each candidate’s intended subject area and show them how best to teach that subject. Many also do well in evaluating candidates on how to manage a classroom and providing and ensuring the high quality of practice opportunities.

“The teacher preparation program at the University of Utah is committed to the education of all children in P-12 classrooms,” said Mary D. Burbank, director of the Urban Institute for Teacher Education and assistant dean of the College of Education. “Our model of research-to-practice is embedded within classrooms, schools and communities. This vision and our actions speak to exceptional preparation for teaching and learning in the 21st century.”

Teacher prep programs in Utah

While Utah has no other program in the top 10 percent, no Utah program ranks in the bottom 10th either. Utah’s programs include:

  • University of Utah (99th percentile)
  • Brigham Young University (81st percentile)
  • Dixie State University (57th percentile)
  • Southern Utah University (64th percentile)
  • Utah State University (46nd percentile)
  • Utah Valley University (76th percentile)
  • Weber State University (49th percentile)

Key national findings

As for overall performance of the 700-plus programs, a common problem that surfaced in the analysis is the weak content preparation provided to science and social studies teacher candidates. That weakness contrasts sharply with almost uniformly strong preparation in English and mathematics content in the same institutions.

Through a combination of licensing test and coursework requirements, all programs in Utah earned an A or B for content preparation in the sciences and an A or B for content preparation in the social studies.

Other key findings

A quarter of all programs do not offer a course in the best ways to teach a specific subject. However, all evaluated programs in Utah require teacher candidates to take such a methods course in their subject area.

There are early signs of some programs becoming more selective in their admissions, but it is still the case that 44 percent of programs set the bar too low for who gets into their programs. For a list of programs’ selectivity rank in each state go here. However, in Utah, 86 percent of programs draw the majority of their students from the top half of the college-going population.

Among sufficiently selective programs, half also meet diversity goals, including two in Utah: Brigham Young University and the University of Utah. For a list of selective and diverse programs in each state, go here.

Only 6 percent of programs nationally 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. However, in Utah, one quarter of evaluated programs take both of these steps. For a list of programs with strong student teaching in each state go here.

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. Of the Utah programs that could be evaluated on classroom management, 60 percent ensure that future teachers have this feedback. For a list of programs that score well on classroom management in each state, go here.

To read the full report, click here. To schedule an interview with NCTQ President Kate Walsh, please contact Stephen Buckley at 202-393-0020 ext. 129.


About the National Council on Teacher Quality:

The National Council on Teacher Quality is a nonpartisan research and policy group, committed to modernizing the teaching profession and based on the belief that all children deserve effective teachers. NCTQ is the nation’s expert on the quality of teacher preparation programs and evaluates national teacher education against evidence-based criteria. More information about NCTQ can be found on the website,

Media Contacts

Jana Cunninghamcommunications director, College of Humanities
Office: 801-213-0866