CAEP: A Bold Set of Teacher Preparation Standards Faces Challenges

Recently in Education Week, Madeline Will wrote about the challenges that the CAEP standards have faced in the past five years and the goal of strengthening teacher preparation. Excerpts of the piece appear below:

The Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation, which was created by a 2010 merger between two national accrediting bodies, officially approved its new standards on Aug. 29, 2013. Since then, teacher-prep programs seeking accreditation have worked to meet more rigorous standards, including ones that created minimum criteria for teacher-candidates’ academic achievements and that forced institutions to demonstrate graduates’ impact in the classrooms where they ended up working.

This month, Tennessee became the latest state to sign a partnership agreement with CAEP, bringing the total to 35 states and the District of Columbia. Nearly 150 preparation programs have been accredited under the CAEP standards, while 13 have been approved under probation, and 14 have been approved with stipulations.

Programs have two years to address any problems with their accreditation. If stipulations are not addressed in that time period, programs could be put on probation or have their accreditation revoked. If programs under probation do not fix the issue, their accreditation will be revoked. So far, CAEP has revoked accreditation three times and denied it once.

Many institutions have struggled meeting Standards 4 and 5, which measure program impact and quality assurance. Programs are expected to provide multiple data showing that when their graduates enter the classroom, their own students are learning and showing growth. Under those standards, teacher-preparation providers are also supposed to gauge the satisfaction of both the principals who employ graduates and the graduates themselves.

Much of this information has been difficult, if not impossible, to obtain. Not all states have systems in place to collect that kind of data, and teacher-preparation programs are left trying to forge their own relationships with districts, which may be unwilling to share some of the personnel data.

Group leaders are also hoping to prove through research, which is currently underway, that candidates who graduate from CAEP accredited programs contribute to more learning gains for their students.

Meanwhile, a new national accreditor is moving into the field. The Association for Advancing Quality in Educator Preparation formed last year and already has 43 programs seeking accreditation in 10 states and the territory of Guam.

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