CAEP “Raising the Bar” for Teacher Education Accreditation Programs

caepThe Teacher Education Accreditation Council (TEAC) and the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) are merging into the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP). CAEP will become the sole body responsible for the accreditation of teacher education programs and will serve the more than 900 educator preparation providers currently accredited by the TEAC and NCATE. According to the press release on the merger, “Accreditation is a non-governmental activity based on peer review that serves the dual functions of assuring quality and motivating improvement.”

As far back as 2009, NCATE and TEAC began preparing for the merger, recommending in a report:

“That the Executive Board of NCATE and the Board of Directors of TEAC adopt a motion authorizing their Presidents to execute, on behalf of their respective organizations, agreements… which would provide for (1) the creation of The Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation, Inc., (CAEP), (2) a transition period of no more than two years to complete the design work and implement its capacity to accredit all institutions and other entities that prepare teachers, administrators and other P-12 professional educators and (3) immediately afterwards, the consolidation of NCATE and TEAC into CAEP as the field’s accreditor.”

Along with the merger, CAEP has made its new draft standards available.

The Commission has developed a draft of its recommendations for the CAEP Board of Directors… The Commission has given emphasis to a firm grounding of its standards and evidence on empirical research or, where there is little guiding research, has based its recommendations on best practices and professional consensus. The Commission calls for accountability of providers and CAEP, itself; public reporting must be forthright and transparent. And, the Commission recommends new standards and decision procedures that balance strong evidence with professional judgment.

CAEP’s leaders have set challenging goals to enhance the value of accreditation. Commission members have responded to their charge by identifying four especially critical points of leverage to transform educator preparation in our nation:

  • Build partnerships and strong clinical experiences-Educator preparation providers and collaborating schools and school districts bring complementary experiences that, joined together, promise far stronger preparation programs. (See standard 2.)
  • Raise and assure candidate quality-From recruitment and admission, through preparation, and at exit, educator preparation providers must take responsibility to build an educator workforce that is more able, and also more representative of America’s diverse population. (See standard 3, including minimum admissions criteria and a group average performance on nationally normed admissions assessments in the top third of national pools.)
  • Include all providers-Accreditation must encourage innovations in preparation by welcoming all of the varied providers that seek accreditation and meet challenging levels of performance.
  • And surmounting all others, insist that preparation be judged by outcomes and impact on P-12 student learning-Results matter; “effort” is not enough. (See standard 4, especially.)

These points of leverage are not accreditation “business as usual,” nor do they represent marginal changes from current and former education accreditation practice. Exercising them can add value to what states are trying to accomplish with their reforms in preparation policy.

The Commission’s work is organized in part around three areas of teacher preparation identified by the National Academy of Sciences 2010 report, Preparing Teachers: Building Evidence for Sound Policy. The Academy panel sifted through hundreds of research studies from recent decades and, not surprisingly, concluded that more research is needed in order to have sound evidence about the effects of particular aspects of preparation. But it found that existing research provides some guidance: content knowledge, field experience, and the quality of teacher candidates “are likely to have the strongest effects” on outcomes for students.

CAEP promises to bring a rigorous, 21st century approach to their work in hopes of becoming the model professional accreditation organization.

The draft standards can be found at: