Illinois State University was recently recognized as a national leader in educator preparation by College Factual in its spring 2016 rankings.

The rankings tabbed the University’s education program as the sixth most popular out of more than 1,300 eligible U.S. institutions and the Department of Special Education as the fifth most popular of its kind in the nation. The organization stated that the rankings in this category are based on “schools that offer a quality education in (teacher preparation) for a price that won’t break the bank.”

More specifically, College Factual describes its rankings as “outcomes based” metrics aimed at measuring how well a college prepares its graduates for success. Four-year colleges were evaluated for data points that include graduates’ earnings, graduation and retention rates, student loan default rates, and accreditation status. Last fall, PayScale ranked the University fourth on its list for Best Schools for Education Majors by Salary Potential.

The College of Education also demonstrated its leadership in the field through a 99 percent pass rate on candidates’ edTPA submissions in the fall. That was the first semester a passing score was required to earn licensure in Illinois, and the college far outperformed the national average of 85 percent.

The high-stakes readiness test evaluates a future teacher’s capabilities in the classroom during the student teaching semester. Candidates’ scores are based on their execution of a series of lessons and their ability to evaluate student learning, reflect upon their teaching, and continuously improve their practice.

“The community of Redbird educators is more than 40,000 strong, and we are dedicated to preparing new quality educators capable of meeting and exceeding the high standards of their peers in the field,” said College of Education Dean Perry L. Schoon. “Our candidates’ performance on the edTPA and the College of Education’s high rankings across industry evaluators affirm that the needle for educator preparation at Illinois State remains pointed up and that our national reputation is increasing.”

Illinois State alumni teach in all 50 states in the U.S., 56 countries around the world, and represent more than one in seven teachers in Illinois public schools. Since 2008, approximately one in four first-year teachers hired by Illinois public schools are graduates of the University. The College of Education prepares more special education teachers than any other college in Illinois and the fourth most in the U.S.

For more information about the College of Education, University Laboratory Schools, and the University’s campuswide educator preparation program, view the 2015 annual report.