According to new figures from the Florida Department of Education, the School of Education at Florida Southern College is the best among private schools in Florida for preparing teachers to pass the Florida Teacher Certification Examination.
The Florida Department of Education released data last week showing the pass rate of colleges’ and universities’ education students taking the certification exam for the first time between 2015 and 2017. The data indicate how well colleges prepare their students to pass the state’s certification exam. In the General Knowledge section of the exam, which contains four subtests, only two schools ranked in the top-five pass rates for all four subtests – FSC and the University of Florida.
Over the two-year span, FSC education students had the highest pass rates of any college in Florida – public or private – on two of the subtests: essay (94.1%) and mathematics (94.1%). They were in the top five for pass rates on the English Language Skills and Reading subtests. FSC students’ pass rates were approximately 20 percentage points above the state-wide averages on all of those subtests.
The General Knowledge test is a rigorous exam, and students must pass all four subtests in order to receive a Florida professional teaching certificate.
Casey Harvey, a first-grade teacher at South McKeel Academy in Lakeland and a 2017 graduate of FSC, exemplifies the type of preparation provided by the School of Education. She passed the Florida Teacher Certification Examination on her first try.
“Florida Southern continuously offered rigorous coursework that matched the complexity of the FTCE questions, allowing me to provide answers with ease,” she said. “If I ever felt uncomfortable with certain subjects found on the exam, I could always count on my professors to assist me. They provided me with an ample amount of resources until I felt confident enough to tackle it on my own.”
The pass rate figures underscore a previous report from the FDOE, ranking FSC’s School of Education as the best among private colleges in Florida. In that January 2016 report, “Continued Approval of Teacher Preparation Programs in Florida,” FSC’s elementary education program was ranked second alongside public universities including Florida State University and the University of Central Florida. It was the highest-ranked private college.
“These top rankings represent the excellent preparation the FSC School of Education provides for all education majors as they embark on their journey toward professional teacher certification,” said Dr. Tracey Tedder, dean of the School of Education. “The rankings are further evidence of the consequential impact our graduates will have on the students they teach. We are proud to be recognized again as a top performer among so many other public and private institutions in the State of Florida.”