The teacher-education program at Hope College has earned a 70, the highest score possible, on the Michigan Department of Education Teacher Preparation Institution Performance Scores Report released this summer.

Hope and the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor had the best performance scores, each with 70, among all teacher-preparation institutions in Michigan for the 2010-11 academic year according to the report, which was reviewed by the State Board of Education earlier this month.

Hope has consistently ranked as one of the state’s top programs, receiving an “Exemplary” rating, in the annual listing since the report’s inception in 2005.  The college was one of four institutions ranked second in the previous, 2009-10, report, announced in 2011.  Hope was one of two institutions tied for first place in 2007.

“Our program is strong,” said Dr. Laura Pardo, professor of education and chairperson of the department.  “We match what we teach to the students to the standards required by the state, and we regularly review our program to assure that we prepare our graduates to be successful as teaching professionals.”

The college’s department of education prepares students to teach in elementary and secondary schools. Each year, the department annually recommends approximately 150 graduates to the State of Michigan for teacher certification.  The department currently has 12 full-time faculty.

The teacher-education program at Hope provides prospective teachers with a blend of classroom instruction and field experience. Students participate in field placements beginning with their first course in the program, Educational Psychology, a model that continues through a culminating semester spent student teaching. The student-teaching placements are available not only locally but also through off-campus programs including in Chicago, Ill.; Philadelphia, Pa.; the Rosebud Indian Reservation in South Dakota; and Liverpool in the United Kingdom.  An on-going relationship with Interaction International has also provided student-teaching opportunities in nations including India, Kenya and Thailand.

Student-led chapters of two national professional organizations, the Student Council for Exceptional Children (SCEC) and the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD), offer professional development and service opportunities for teacher-education students. Students in the program also have the chance to gain additional experience through activities by volunteering with local organizations that work with children, such as the Children’s After School Achievement (CASA) and Upward Bound programs based at Hope.

Graduates of Hope’s education program teach in public and private K-12 schools around the country, and abroad. Hope education alumni also serve as Peace Corps volunteers, counselors in elementary and secondary schools, curriculum coordinators and supervisors, school administrators and college professors.

The Michigan Department of Education developed criteria for ranking each of the state’s teacher-preparation institutions.  This was done to meet the new requirements attached to the federal Title II Higher Education Act (HEA) requiring states to monitor the performance of their teacher-education programs.  Rankings are based on the following criteria: the percentage of students who enter and complete the program, survey results of exiting student teachers, survey of classroom teachers who supervise student teachers, responsiveness to state need in preparing candidates in high-need subjects (mathematics, sciences, world languages and special education), as well as preparing teachers from ethnic minorities-diversity need, teacher candidates’ scores on the Michigan Test of Teacher Competency (MTTC), and periodic program review by the Michigan Department of Education.

The more than 30 programs ranked in the state’s report include programs at private and public colleges and universities. The other programs’ scores range from 20 to 68.