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Higher Education Information
National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE)
Accreditation by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) is a voluntary process, undertaken by those institutions that care enough about the quality of teacher education to commit to meeting NCATE's rigorous standards. Although over 1,200 colleges and universities in the United States offer programs to prepare teachers and other professional education personnel, fewer than half of those institutions are accredited by NCATE.
Institutions that have received NCATE accreditation have demonstrated excellence by meeting national standards in areas such as the design and delivery of curriculum, assessment of candidate performance, faculty qualifications, supervision of clinical experiences, advisory and counseling services, student admissions, and adequate and up-to-date resources.
Americans are demanding radical changes in the way we educate our citizenry. This revolution in education can only be accomplished by providing each child with a teacher who have received thorough, rigorous preparation for their profession. Graduation from an NCATE-accredited school equips a teacher with the tools he or she needs to meet the challenges faced by educators in America today.
Obviously, students making career choices must consider a variety of factors when choosing an institution of higher learning. Location, reputation, program options, admission criteria, and tuition costs all will play a role in your decision. But by using a Guide, such as Teacher Preparation A guide to Colleges and Universities, you can be confident that the institution you select will provide you withy the kind of education you need to become a qualified educator.
Source: Arthur E. Wise, President of NCATE Teacher Preparation A Guide to Colleges and Universities, 1996.
NCATE is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education and by the Commission on Recognition of Post-secondary Accreditation as an accrediting body for schools, colleges, and departments of education that prepare professional educators to staff school programs for children and youth from preschool to grade 12. NCATE evaluates the institution's ability to deliver effectively all of the preparation programs it offers.
Q: Is NCATE accreditation expensive? Too expensive for small colleges?
The cost of NCATE is little more than the cost of a well-run unit that can support its programs. Every five years, the institution bears the cost of travel and expenses for the three to six visitors from the Board of Examiners; this cost is about $1,000 per visitor, or about $3,000 to $6,000 total. Each year, there is an annual fee, depending on the size of the unit; it ranges from $1,400 to $2,800. There are also reproduction costs and some staff release time costs involved in preparing the self-study.
Q: Does NCATE prescribe a curriculum?
NCATE leaves curriculum decisions to the institution. NCATE expects intuitions to meet professional, state, or institution standards, and the curriculum should reflect those standards. NCATE accreditation focuses on candidate performance.
Q: Our school has a unique mission. How will this be taken into account?
NCATE respects institutional missions and goals. NCATE does not specify a single way to meet a standard. NCATE asks the school of education what kind of teacher it is trying to produce, and to develop a framework for each program based on research and best practices. The school is expected to be able to articulate and defend its knowledge base as part of the accreditation process.
Q: Do small colleges have a difficult time meeting NCATE standards?
Of the 600+ colleges and universities in the NCATE system (including candidates for accreditation), 200 are private, liberal arts institutions, and most of them are small. This number includes over 75 members of the Council for Independent Colleges, the Association of Independent Liberal Arts Colleges of Teacher Education, and members of the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities.
Q: What do institutions say about the NCATE review?
Each accredited institution evaluates the NCATE process and on-site visiting team members. On a scale of 1 (not effective) to 5 (very effective), the most frequent institutional rating is 5. During a recent round of accreditations visits, the overall rating of NCATE procedures rated a 4.65 out of a possible 5. In addition, NCATE receives many letters from institutions that have completed the NCATE review. All speak to the value of the NCATE review.
Q: Is NCATE a product of teachers' unions?
Teachers' unions are but two of over 30 national organizations that are constituent members of NCATE. Together they represent about 7 percent of NCATE's budget. We are pleased that they support NCATE. However, this is not about unions. It is about making sure our children have the best possible teachers.
Q: Doesn't NCATE dictate how many faculty, etc. a school of education must have?
No. NCATE standards ask the institution to provide evidence that the standard is met. the team applies professional judgment. NCATE simply tries to determine that the college is properly staffed for the programs it chooses to offer. Someone who teaches 5 classes of the same topic on campus is in a different situation than someone who teaches five different classes with one off-campus. Ensuring qualified faculty helps ensure quality teachers--the goal.
Q: What is NCATE's relationship to the National Board of Teaching Standards?
The National Board for Professional Teaching Standards is a member organization of NCATE. NCATE and NBPTS are working together to ensure that professional standards for teacher preparation are aligned with licensing and certification standards. This partnership is an important part of an emerging continuum of quality teaching, in which rigorous standards for teachers and students are linked to promote well-qualified professional educators for our nation's children.
Source: NCATE Speaker's Guide
For more information:National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education
2010 Massachusetts Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20036-1023
Tel: (202) 466-7496
Fax: (202) 296-6620
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