Study: U of I’s teacher prep program highlighted for racial diversity, high admissions standards

The University of Idaho’s teacher preparation program is among the nation’s best at maintaining high admissions standards while still establishing a racially diverse student body, a Washington, D.C.-based think tank says.

The National Council on Teacher Quality on Tuesday released a nationwide analysis of two factors at teacher prep programs across the country:

  1. How the racial diversity of their enrollment compares to that of the existing state teacher workforce and the racial diversity of the local community in which they operate.
  2. How selective the programs are in terms of minimum GPA requirements in admitting aspiring teachers to their program.

The U of I’s program earned an “A+”and “A” in these categories, respectively, joining just 57 others singled out nationally for “leading the way.”

Racial diversity matters, NCTQ says, because it benefits a growing number of students of color in the nation’s schools. Idaho’s schools are also growing more diverse, with Latino students leading the pack.

Idaho’s other teacher prep programs garnered more mixed marks in terms of diversity and admissions. While Idaho State University’s program earned an “A+” for diversity, it tallied a “C” for admissions. Lewis-Clark State College’s program earned an “B” for admissions but a “D” for diversity.

A closer look at how all of Idaho’s programs fared in the report:

 College/university  Program Type  Program Diversity   Admissions 
 Boise State University  Undergraduate

 “C”

 “B”

 Brigham Young University-Idaho  Undergraduate

 “B”

 “B”

 Idaho State University  Undergraduate

 “A+”

 “C”

 Lewis-Clark State College   Undergraduate

 “D”

 “B”

 Northwest Nazarene University   Undergraduate

“C”

 “A”

Northwest Nazarene University   Graduate

 “C”

 “C”

 University of Idaho  Undergraduate

 “A+”

 “A”

The report included other key findings at the national level, including “low” admissions standards in elementary teacher programs across the country. According to NCTQ, 70 percent of all elementary teacher prep programs set a GPA threshold of 2.75 or lower, though the nationwide average college GPA is 3.0.

Another “top-line” finding in the report, NCTQ communications director Nicole Gerber told EdNews, is that “academic selectivity and diversity are not mutually exclusive in teacher preparation.”

“We found 198 programs in the nation that are both sufficiently selective and remarkably diverse,” researchers wrote.

The study considered 1,256 teacher preparation programs across the country, including seven in Idaho. Click here for the entire report, which includes an interactive tool to explore diversity and selectivity in programs across the country.

Devin Bodkin

About Devin Bodkin

Reporter Devin Bodkin covers education issues in East Idaho. He is a former high school English teacher who specializes in stories about charter schools and educating students who live in poverty. He is a 2019 Solutions Journalism Network fellow and the Idaho Press Club's 2019 print reporter of the year. Follow Devin on Twitter @dsbodkin. He can be reached by email at [email protected].

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