WASHINGTON – In order to help ensure that every classroom in the nation has an effective teacher, a high profile Commission on Standards and Performance Reporting will develop rigorous accreditation standards for educator preparation that will raise the bar for preparation providers, the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) announced today. CAEP is the new accrediting body being formed through the unification of two organizations charged with assuring quality in educator preparation�the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) and the Teacher Education Accreditation Council (TEAC).
The Commission will ensure increased accountability through a focus on outcome data and key program characteristic data. CAEP has pledged to use multiple measures in its evaluation system, including new sources of data from state longitudinal databases. CAEP standards will also give increased attention to recruiting and admissions to help ensure a supply of candidates who are motivated to enter the teaching workforce, have characteristics associated with teaching success, and who are prepared in areas in which they are needed. CAEP will expect accredited preparation providers to take bold steps to recruit, prepare, and help develop effective teachers who can contribute their expertise to improving student performance in all schools.
"To attain or to continue professional accreditation, preparation providers will need to indicate evidence of effectiveness through data on candidate performance, and show how they are using the data for program improvement," said James G. Cibulka, president of NCATE and CAEP.
"The new standards and accrediting body will provide much needed leverage to move preparation forward toward new, more effective models that respond to the urgent needs of P-12 schools," said Dr. Gene Harris, Superintendent and CEO of Columbus, Ohio, Public Schools, who will serve as a co-chair of the commission.
"New knowledge and more robust assessments of candidate and graduate performance are now available to preparation providers to ensure that the most effective teaching practices are everyday practice when graduates leave our programs," said Dr. Camilla Benbow, Patricia and Rodes Hart Dean of Education and Human Development, Vanderbilt University, co-chair. "We anticipate that the combination of more rigorous requirements, performance assessments, and the availability of new data to increase transparency and drive changes in provider programs will generate the most significant change in educator preparation in its history."
The Commission includes prominent critics of teacher education, as well as deans of schools of education; content experts in mathematics and reading; P-12 teacher, principal, and school superintendent leadership; alternative provider/charter leadership; state policymakers; representatives of education policy/advocacy organizations; and public members.
The Commission is taking the recommendations of a Blue Ribbon Panel on Clinical Preparation and Partnerships for Improved Student Learning (Adobe PDF) to the next level. The Panel's report, released a year ago, said it was time to "turn teacher education upside-down." That Panel urged increased oversight and expectations for educator preparation and the expansion of new delivery models in which teacher candidates work more directly in clinically-based settings from the beginning of their preparation as in medical education. The panel also called for preparation programs to operate in new types of partnerships between higher education and P-12 schools in which both systems share responsibility for preparation.
Strong Accountability Tied to New Data Systems, Assessments
The development of longitudinal data systems and of a new generation of performance assessments will dramatically improve the quantity and quality of evidence of student and teacher performance, allowing programs to study the impact of graduates on student outcomes within the accreditation process. New, more robust assessments, such as the TPA (Teacher Performance Assessment) being pilot tested in more than 25 states, and tools such as observational protocols and student feedback, will help identify effective teaching practices. Information from these assessments will inform preparation programs and will provide new data points previously unavailable.
"We are on the cusp of a revolution in educator preparation's access to and use of data for program accountability and improvement," according to Cibulka. "We will soon have access to richer sources of data than ever before, and CAEP and accredited preparation providers will use this data in the quality assurance system."
CAEP will work with both states and individual institutions to help build their capacity to collect, analyze, and act on this data. By helping preparation programs learn how to use such data for internal improvement, CAEP can both address the need for accountability and help institutions improve. The development of the evidentiary base that CAEP will promote will help further define successful practice and foster transformation of educator preparation programs so that graduates can help improve all dimensions of P-12 student learning.
Through the development of the new standards and accompanying processes, CAEP's quality assurance system will be characterized by the accreditor's dual mission of accountability and improvement. CAEP's decision-making will be transparent and will clearly recognize the qualities that matter in programs.
CAEP believes that all educator preparation providers should be subject to the same high standards of quality. To make this possible, one of the tasks of the Commission is to ensure accreditation standards are appropriate for all preparation providers. In the past, accreditation standards have been geared specifically to higher education institutions.
"To ensure the quality of teacher education the nation needs, accreditation must be bold and go beyond do no-harm measures to ensure excellence, said Arthur Levine, president, Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation, a CAEP board member, and a member of the standards commission. "Satisfactory performance just isn't satisfactory anymore. If we do our work properly, preparation providers will demonstrate that they meet higher standards; our expectation is that they will be able to demonstrate their impact through evidence of candidate and graduate performance."
Support in helping to underwrite the costs of the Commission is provided by Tk20, Inc., Pearson, and Educational Testing Service (ETS). Tk20, Inc. and ETS are providing support for Commission meetings, and Pearson is providing support for outreach.
Teacher-Prep Accreditor Names Standards-Setting Panel, Education Week
Teacher Accrediting Group Vows to Turn Teacher Education 'Upside Down', The Chronicle of Higher Education
Raising the Bar, Inside Higher Ed
The Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation, to become operational in 2013, will accredit over 900 teacher education institutions across the nation, producing approximately 175,000 graduates annually.
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