MARQUETTE, Mich.—Northern Michigan University’s teacher education program has received an “exemplary performance” rating from the Michigan Department of Education. NMU is one of 17 colleges and universities to earn the state’s highest level of distinction. Twelve schools were at the second level of satisfactory, one was identified as at-risk and two as low-performing. Rod Clarken, director of the School of Education, said one of the strongest performance areas for NMU was the Michigan Test for Teacher Certification (MTTC). Students are required to take the MTTC in their respective content areas. Ninety-five percent of NMU students passed the test on the first attempt. “We are one of the most affordable institutions in the state, yet when it comes to performance, we’re right up there with the most expensive and most selective institutions in the MTTC category,” Clarken said. “It’s nice that we’ve cracked the exemplary threshold, but it’s not the true mark of the effectiveness of our program. We gauge success on the positive reports from people who hire our graduates and also from the graduates themselves who’ve been out in the field a while and realize how well prepared they are and what a good education they got here.” Other performance factors cited in the rankings included teacher exit surveys, supervisor surveys, program completion rates, diversity and high-need content. Clarken said this is the second year that the Michigan Department of Education has rated teacher education programs. NMU’s exemplary status is a step up from last year’s satisfactory rating.