Adam Ingram, the Children and Early Years Minister, made the surprise announcement this week to a gathering of senior figures in teacher education.
The Scottish Government and HMIE both later confirmed to The TESS that the intention was to gain a snapshot of the progress universities had made in adapting to the new curriculum, rather than assessing each education faculty in great detail. That level of scrutiny is likely to come at a later date.
Mr Ingram said it was "crucial" to gather the best ideas from each university about how to incorporate the new curriculum into their programmes. "That is why we are asking HMIE to carry out a review to assess how well initial teacher education institutions are preparing for A Curriculum for Excellence," he said.
Mr Ingram described the review as an "important and long-term piece of work" which would lead to an interim report next spring.
He made the announcement at the inaugural annual meeting of the Scottish Teacher Education Committee, held at Glasgow University, where a number of delegates admitted that the news had taken them by surprise.
But Jim Conroy, Glasgow University's dean of education, was relaxed about the review as long as it was only a "temperature-taking" exercise.
He felt it was it too early in the implementation of A Curriculum for Excellence for more detailed assessments.
He warned against repeating the "mistakes" of the 5-14 curriculum, which had proved restrictive for education faculties.