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MERLOT II


    

Peer Review


What Matters Most

by
 

Ratings

Overall Rating:

4.33 stars
Content Quality: 4.5 stars
Effectiveness: 4 stars
Ease of Use: 4 stars
Reviewed: Jun 06, 2003 by Teacher Education
Overview: This site offers resources to highlight the Commission's role and function in
supporting the teaching profession. In addition, it offers related links to
current policy & practice, state and district resources, a resource center for
educators as well as ways to connect with parents and local communities. For
example, the Educators Resource Center link provides contemporary research
supporting ways to improve teaching quality at the preparation and the induction
levels based on NCATE, INTASC, and NBPTS standards. Likewise, the site defends
the importance of strong preparation and induction programs in light of the
ESEA goal to ensure highly qualified teachers for every classroom.

The National Commission on Teaching and America's Future (NCTAF) is a
nonpartisan and nonprofit group dedicated to improving the quality of teaching
nationwide as a means of meeting America's educational challenges. The chairman
of the Commission is James B. Hunt Jr., former governor of North Carolina, and
the Executive Director is Tom Carroll. Established in 1994 by Linda
Darling-Hammond, with initial funding from the Rockefeller Foundation and
Carnegie Corporation of New York, the Commission includes a diverse
cross-section of public officials, business and community leaders, and educators
representing major stakeholders in education.

Learning Goals: NCTAF was established to identify the implications for teaching and learning
embodied in current school reforms, and to examine strategies that will provide
all children access to skilled, knowledgeable, and committed teachers working in
schools organized for success. As a result, the site is designed for teacher
educators to assist in articulating the significance of quality teacher
preparation and induction programs. In addition, it recognizes award-winning
teacher preparation and induction programs for teacher educators to acknowledge
the importance of identifying those critical elements for preparing "highly
qualified" teachers.
Target Student Population: Teacher educators, policy makers, and graduate students interested in teacher
education and policy.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills: None.
Type of Material: Reference.
Recommended Uses: This site is a critical resource for teacher educators to refer to when
defending the importance of "highly qualified" teacher preparation and induction
programs. In addition, teacher educators, policy makers, and those doing
research on teacher education and policy can come to this site to locate
NCTAF-sponsored articles and links to affiliated groups.

Technical Requirements: Some documents are available in PDF file format, which requires the installation
of Adobe Acrobat Reader.

Evaluation and Observation

Content Quality

Rating: 4.5 stars
Strengths: This website provides access to many seminal documents related to Teacher
Education Policy and Practice including three very important NCTAF publications:
What Matters Most: Teaching for America?s Future (1996), Doing What Matters
Most: Investing in Quality Teaching (1997), and most recently No Dream Denied: A
Pledge to America?s Children (2003). In addition, there are links to other
related websites in the following areas: State Resources, District Resources,
Educator Resources, and Connecting Parents and Community. Finally, many of Linda
Darling-Hammond?s publications can be found on this site as well.
As a result, this site provides current and important resources and
research to address the recent re-authorization of ESEA, No Child Left Behind,
to ensure that every classroom offers a "highly qualified" teacher.
Concerns: Some critics may see a particular bias in the documents posted on this website,
especially those who are interested in doing away with university-based teacher
education.

Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool

Rating: 4 stars
Strengths: This website is meant to be a resource and repository of policy documents for
teacher educators, policy makers, and researchers. Teacher educators and
graduate students would do well to bookmark this website and use it often as
both a place to find information and a jumping off point to locate other
information using the links provided here. Many important teacher education
policy documents can be accessed from this site and could easily be integrated
into graduate programs for educators to better understand the significance of
professional standards to support the need for "highly qualified teachers" in
America's schools.
Concerns: It is not designed to be a teaching tool, but it does offer tools for teaching.


Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty

Rating: 4 stars
Strengths: While this website offers a great deal of information, it is easy to navigate
and provides access to important resources in several ways. Most documents are
available in PDF file format. Furthermore, links to other websites open in new
pages so you don?t get taken away from the NCTAF site.
Concerns: A few of the PDF files opened very slowly or not at all. The addition of a
search engine for this website would be nice, even though there is a site
index.

Other Issues and Comments: Because of the current impact of No Child Left Behind, teacher educators need
this type of information and research to support the significance of "high
quality" teacher preparation and induction programs.