WASHINGTON, DC-Studies show that teacher quality is the most important factor in P-12 student achievement. But how do we know that our children's teachers enter the classroom ready to help them learn? Professional accreditation is one way to ensure the public that schools of education are graduating well-qualified teachers ready for today's classrooms. Campbell University's School of Education has proven its commitment to producing quality teachers for our nation's children by achieving re-accreditation under the performance-oriented standards of the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE), the organization responsible for professional accreditation of teacher education.
NCATE currently accredits 623 institutions which produce two-thirds of the nation's new teacher graduates each year. Ninety-nine institutions are candidates or precandidates for accreditation.
NCATE-accredited schools must meet rigorous standards set by the profession and members of the public. Teacher candidates must have in-depth knowledge of the subject matter that they plan to teach as well as the skills necessary to convey it so that students learn. The college or university must carefully assess this knowledge and skill to determine that candidates may graduate. The institution must have partnerships with P-12 schools that enable candidates to develop the skills necessary to help students learn. Candidates must be prepared to understand and work with diverse student populations. College and university faculty must model effective teaching practices. And the school, college, or department of education must have the resources, including information technology resources, necessary to prepare candidates to meet new standards.
NCATE revises its standards every five years to incorporate best practice and research in order to ensure that the standards reflect a consensus about what is important in teacher preparation today. In the past decade, NCATE has moved from an accreditation system that focused on curriculum and what teacher candidates were offered, to a datadriven performance-based system dedicated to determining what candidates know and are able to do. The new system expects teacher preparation institutions to provide compelling evidence of candidate knowledge and skill in the classroom. Multiple types of performance assessment are expected throughout the program of study. Candidate qualifications are assessed upon entry, and candidate competence is assessed throughout the program as well as prior to student teaching/internship work, and before completion of the program.
Meeting NCATE accreditation standards also helps institutions prepare new teachers for new, more rigorous licensing standards in many states. NCATE accreditation standards incorporate the model state licensing principles developed by a task force ofthe Council of Chief State School Officers.
"This wasn't a surprise for us," said Dr. Lorae Roukema, Associate Professor of Education. "We are proud of our program and this reaccreditation just affirms what we have been doing all along."
The U. S. Department of Education recognizes NCATE as a specialized accrediting body for schools, colleges, and departments of education. NCATE is composed of more than 30 professional and policymaker organizations representing millions of Americans committed to quality teaching. It was founded in 1954 by the teaching profession and the states. NCATE continues its mission today: the profession and the states working together for excellence in teacher preparation and development.
For more information about Campbell University's teacher education program, visit the website at education.campbell.edu. More information about NCATE is available at http://www.ncate.org.