School of Ed gets professional mark

Tue, 2012-07-24 11:13 -- univcomm

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. Anderson University’s School of Education has proven its commitment to producing quality teachers by achieving accreditation this month under the performance-oriented standards of the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE), the organization responsible for professional accreditation of teacher education.

“We are very pleased that in looking at our program here at AU, the national organization saw our commitment to providing a quality preparation for our students.”

Anderson University is one of 36 schools of education that received either initial or continuing accreditation from NCATE’s Unit Accreditation Board in its most recent round of decisions. NCATE accredits 539 institutions. The 539 accredited institutions produce two-thirds of the nation’s new teacher graduates this year. Another 108 institutions are candidates or pre-candidates for accreditation.

The teacher education program at Anderson University is anchored in the institution’s commitment to liberal arts curriculum for the humanities, fine arts, mathematics, and social and natural sciences, as the essential foundation for developing competent educators. The goal is to provide opportunities for the development of qualified and knowledgeable teachers to assume professional positions in public, private and international educational institutions. Anderson University School of Education is committed to equipping every graduate with the knowledge, skills, competencies, and attitudes to meet the diverse expectations of the schools in which they will serve.

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 practices and research in order to ensure that the standards reflect a consensus about what is important to teacher preparation today. In the past decade, NCATE has moved from an accreditation system that focused on curriculum and what teacher candidates offered, to a data-driven 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 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 of the Council State School Officers. The U.S Department of Education recognizes NCATE as the professional accrediting body for schools, departments, and colleges of education. On-site visits, document review, and accreditation decisions are all carried out by professionals from the education community , including teachers, school specialists, and teacher educators, as well as members of the public and education policymakers.

For more information about Anderson University’s teacher education program, visit the Web site at www.anderson.edu. More information about NCATE is available at www.ncate.org.

Anderson University is a private, four-year, liberal arts institution of approximately 2,400 undergraduate and graduate students. Established in 1917 by the Church of God (Anderson, IN), the university offers more than 60 undergraduate majors and graduate programs of study in business, education and theology.