Teacher Preparation Program Rated ‘Exemplary’
Alma College’s teacher preparation program has been rated
“exemplary” following a comprehensive review by the Michigan Department
“It’s a neat slap-on-the-back for the entire College,” says Mark Seals, chair of Alma’s education department. “This favorable review indicates to us that we are graduating quality educators who are ready to teach and have a real foundation not only in education but in their content areas.”
"Our students score very well on the state certification exams," says Mark Seals (right).
rules require the Michigan Department of Education to give performance
scores to each teacher-preparation institution in the state. Those
considered low performing have two years to improve before state
sanctions kick in.
“The results of the ratings are completely open to the public,” says Seals. “Now people will see Alma grouped with others colleges and universities in the ‘exemplary’ category. It shows we are a part of a good cadre of institutions that are preparing quality teachers. It’s a big plus for us.”
In Michigan, the criteria are heavily weighted toward pass rates on the Michigan Test for Teacher Certification exams. The department of education also looks at the results of surveys of student teachers and their supervisors, program completion rates, diversity in enrollment and whether the schools are preparing teachers in high need subject areas.
Programs are rated “exemplary,” “satisfactory” or “low performing” based on a total score of 70 points, with 30 coming from how teaching candidates do on the certification exams. Alma achieved a score of 63, ranking it among the top 13 of the state’s 31 teacher education programs.
“Our students score very well on the state certification exams,” says Seals. “We have both quality students and programs at Alma. Education students work hard and succeed not only in preparing to be educators but also in their academic areas. “
Approximately 250 to 300 students are typically part of the education program at any one time, says Seals.
The faculty and staff members of the education department worked together to produce the calculations and data required by the state for the review. Assisting included academic secretaries Ruth Ann Farrier, “the gold nugget of the whole process,” according to Seals, and Jeanette Mowat, along with full-time faculty members Nicola Findley, Janet Navarro, Peggy Thelen and Seals.
Graduates confirm the quality of Alma’s program.
“I know that I was prepared by Alma to be an exceptional teacher,” says Krista Ried, a 1994 graduate who currently works as an education consultant and teacher quality coordinator for the Michigan Department of Education. “The small class sizes, individual attention, support and mentoring were key.”
“Alma is a great place to get an education — in the classroom and in life,” says Jeff Bateson, a 1998 graduate who coaches soccer at Guilford College in Greensboro, N.C. “The local school districts did a wonderful job of helping the Alma students begin their teaching careers.”
Posted: Wed, October 17th, 2007 at 9:01AM