Saturday, December 31, 2016

What People Don’t Know About Common Core Standards Limits Reform

If the rationale of most federal educational initiatives is logical and sensible, then what causes the educational inertia to perpetuate failure?  Some may argue politics are to blame.  Others feel justified in their complaints with the bureaucracy interfering with change.
As with every federally backed initiative since the ESEA (1965) and PL 94-142 (1975), it is difficult to argue with a well-scripted rationale.  Pragmatically, not too many politicians wanted to raise their hand in objection to NCLB, (2001).  After all, who wanted to go on record as being the person willing to leave a child behind? Yet, few educators would suggest NCLB was well-implemented.
 High expectations explicated as learning standards are a good thing.  Ensuring every state promotes high expectations within its learning standards is a good thing too as the United States must compete in a global economy.  So, could the problem with embracing Common Core Standards once again be poor implementation providing chum for politicians? 
In a Los Angeles Times editorial (April 22, 2013) the dilemma facing implementation of the Common Core State Standards was well explicated:
Experts are divided over the value of the new curriculum standards, which might or might not lead students to the deeper reading, reasoning and writing skills that were intended.  But on this much they agree: The curriculum will fail if it isn’t carefully implemented with meaningful tests that are aligned with what the students are supposed to learn.  Legislators and education leaders should be putting more emphasis on helping teachers get ready for common core and giving them a significant voice in how it is implemented.  And if the state can’t get the right elements in place to do that by 2014, it would be better off delaying the new curriculum a couple of years and doing it right, rather than allowing common core to become yet another educational flash in the pan that never lives up to its promise.
High expectations explicated as learning standards are part of the variables called leading indicators for success.  Subsequently, test results produce a trailing indicator-exhibiting either student success or failure.  Effective implementation, and ideally good instruction, is what comes between the high expectations and the test results. 
A mission of promoting learning for all requires a district to either create a vertically aligned, curriculum-based system or modify a purchased system to make it appropriate for the district’s needs.  An effective system would be able to monitor and adjust established “nonnegotiable goals for achievement and instruction” (Marzano & Waters, 2009, p. 23).
The increased expectations for monitoring and adjusting in real time would be nearly impossible without a technology-based student information and instructional management system.  The Kennewick School District case study provides an actual example of the value of a technology-based student information and instructional management system.  Research by Fielding, Kerr, and Rosier (2007) documented how the achievement gap between economically poor and disadvantaged students and their non-disadvantaged counterparts could be closed by a four-step Targeted Accelerated Growth (TAG) loop process.  The TAG loop process includes the following steps:
(1)   discovering through the administration of diagnostic assessment the
sub-skill deficiency,
(2) providing increased direct instructional time,
(3) focused teaching to the deficient sub-skill, and
(4) retesting to assure that learning actually occurred (Fielding et al, 2007, p. 19).
The TAG loop process is a process not a linear model.  With any process, change resulting from the interpretation of reliable data is crucial for success based on application of correct micro-adjustments.  It would seem diagnostic testing and professional development for the teaching staff optimizes effectiveness in efficiently using data to implement proportional micro-adjustments in instructional time.  Therefore, with an efficient and effective student information and instructional management system, how to utilize data to effectively and efficiently diagnose and implement needed change becomes possible.    
Before implementing the principle of monitor and adjust effectively, leaders must identify the problem and then lead continuous improvement systems and processes.  To lead continuous improvement systems and processes, the effective educational leader evaluates the Five Ts of Continuous Improvement: Theories, Teams, Tools, Time, and Technology.  The effective educational leader then ensures appropriate performance criteria are established.
A school or district’s continuous improvement goals for a given academic year must succinctly indicate implementation steps for each improvement goal.  The current framework utilized for continuous school improvement encourages no more than three goal statements per year.  Given the complexity of the school system, too many goals adversely impact the level of human energy devoted to the initiative.  Displaying a limited number of continuous improvement goals allows followers and stakeholders to monitor growth through well-explicated action plan.  Therefore, anything more than three continuous improvement goals will be visually overwhelming and thereby perceived as unmanageable.  
The Re-Inventing Schools Coalition (RISC) system frequently monitors student performance and ensures alignment between the “intended curriculum”…,“implemented curriculum”…, and the “attained curriculum” (DeLorenzo et al, 2008, p. 64).  Based on research and best practices, implementation of the correlates for Effective Schools is therefore prudent when seeking school improvement.  Disaggregated data helps “the district, its schools, and its teachers to evaluate their effectiveness” (Davenport & Anderson, 2002, p. 62)
The result of frequent monitoring and analysis means data guides instructional decisions.  However, effective use of data depends on how well educational leaders are able to guide the process.  The continuous improvement process in education should develop a building-wide culture whereby all systems, processes, strategies, and actions define “how we do things around here” Lezotte & Snyder, 2011, p. 141).  Without interdependent implementation of all the correlates of Effective Schools Research, any progress is adversely impacted.

Common Core Standards are not the problem.  Knowing where instruction should be heading creates, rather than limits, the autonomy of the innovative, imaginative, passionate educator. Stakeholders should look upon Common Core Standards the same way ancient navigators valued the north star.  So, let us calibrate our instruments based on a set starting point and then succeed to exceed.  For, if better is possible, then good is not enough.  Universally-accepted standards, by any name, merely helps us know good so we can seek better!

To cite:
Anderson, C.J. (December 31, 2016) What people don’t know about common core standards limits 
               reform.[Web log post] Retrieved from

Davenport, P., & Anderson, G. (2002). Closing the achievement gap: No excuses. Houston, TX:
Delorenzo, R. A., Battino, W., Schreiber, R. M., Carrio, B. G. (2008). Delivering on the promise:
                The education revolution. Bloomington, IN: Solution Tree. ISBN-13: 9781934009420
Fielding, L., Kerr, N., & Rosier, P. (2007). Annual growth for all students, catch-up growth
for those who are behind. New York: Foundation Press.
Lezotte, L. W., & Snyder, K. M. (2011). What effective schools do: Re-envisioning the
                correlates. Bloomington, IN: Solution Tree Press.
Marzano, R. & Waters, T. (2009).  District Leadership That Works. Bloomington, In: Solution
                Tree Press

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

The Minnesota Elementary Education Transfer Pathways: Promoting opportunities for success.

                  Under the Transfer Pathways to Baccalaureate Completion development plan Minnesota  two-year college and university faculty were given a charge to create transfer pathways. The process required effective communication and collaboration among faculty in the same discipline at different institutions to ensure that the transfer pathways aligned lower-division and upper-division curricula to enhance students’ ability to complete baccalaureate degrees. Developed pathways would offer prospective students the opportunity to streamline preparation for the bachelor’s degree by transferring a completed associate degree at a two-year college.
Transfer Pathways Teams Charge
A Transfer Pathway Team (TPT) is a discipline-specific group, working to create statewide transfer pathways to baccalaureate degrees. TPT members are charged with developing a statewide transfer pathway to baccalaureate degree that allows a student to transfer the full Associate of Arts, Associate of Science, or the Associate of Fine Arts degree in the TPTs respective field of study into a parallel baccalaureate degree program offered at a MnSCU university.
TPT members will work together to identify the discipline competencies required for entry into the field of study at the junior level. The resulting transfer pathway will also include the 24-40 credits of Minnesota Transfer Curriculum (MnTC) courses as defined by the degree type. (MnSCU Board Procedure 3.36.1 , specifically Part 3, Subpart B, 3, 4, 5, and 7).
The goal of the statewide transfer pathways to baccalaureate degrees is not to create a common associate degree program or a bachelor degree program in the field of study. Rather, institutions will use the pathway to baccalaureate degree to ensure minimum competency requirements are met at the associate degree level and that students are academically prepared to transfer into the parallel baccalaureate degree program as juniors (MNSCU, 2016).
The TPTs will create the transfer pathways. It is recommended they will begin their work with a review of all of the current degree requirements (university and college) and articulation agreements in the related fields of study.
The TPTs will:
·         be self-governed to meet the designated deadlines agreed upon by the TPCT
·         have full autonomy to consider the full range of strategies/ideas to achieve the goals
·         review previous pathways for possible overlap or to become part of another pathway
·         identify the competencies required for entry into the field of study at the junior-level
·         identify possible courses where the competencies may be completed
·         seek program advisory committee input, where appropriate
·         seek input from other related disciplines that may be affected by their work
·         submit regular interim progress reports to develop a written statewide transfer pathway to baccalaureate degree that includes 24-40 credits of MnTC courses and allows students to transfer the full Associate of Arts-Pathway, Associate of Science-Pathway, or Associate of Fine Arts Pathway degree in the TPT’s respective field of study into a parallel baccalaureate program offered at any MnSCU university
·         list all university degrees into which the pathway will transfer
·         ensure the parallel bachelor’s degree can be completed in an additional 60 credits
·         develop a model degree map
·         submit the final transfer pathway to the TPCT for approval
Once the transfer pathways are approved, the faculty at the colleges and universities will determine how their current curriculum will fit into the new transfer pathways. If needed, campus curriculum review and approval processes will be followed to implement the new transfer pathways (MNSCU, 2016).
Each TPT member is expected to:
·         Participate in TPT discussions and work with fellow TPT members to develop the final transfer pathway to baccalaureate degree.
·         Meet all deadlines established by the TPT and the TPCT.
·         Vote on the transfer pathway before it is submitted to the TPCT for review.
·         Communicate with the TPCT liaison member frequently.
·         Assist with all other tasks as agreed upon by the TPT to make progress.
·         Work with all members to build consensus in team decisions and recommendations.
·         Identify and pursue opportunities for collaborating in program offerings (MNSCU, 2016).

The Minnesota Elementary Education Transfer Pathway exhibits a fundamental difference between majors that result in professional licensure/certification, etc… and those that do not.  Embracing this difference will help guide efforts.  The result will be the production of an Elementary Education Transfer Pathway that promotes sustained success for prospective teachers within 120 credits and eight traditional semesters. 
The Minnesota Elementary Education Transfer Pathway (EETP) was charged with identifying a pathway whereby graduates earn a four-year degree and achieve licensure.  Unlike other major Pathways, development of a Minnesota Elementary Education Transfer Pathway potentially leads to professional licensure upon successful criteria explicated by the university’s Teacher Education Program (TEP) and satisfaction of Board of Teaching regulations.  Therefore, the template for any Pathway resulting in professional licensure must be clear, concise, and correct. 
For instance, the EETP Workgroup spent considerable time on a single passage: “Because completion for an Elementary Bachelor degree, satisfaction of all Standards of Effective Practice (SEP: 7810.2000) and Content Standards (8710.3200), clinical/field work requirements, and passing scores on the MTLE assessments have historically met the licensure requirements for the Minnesota Department of Education, we must ensure all generals and requisite courses for acceptance into a four-year Teacher Education Program are met within the Transfer Pathway’s associate degree …”
The impact of “must ensure” compared to “encourage” is the difference between a Pathway that embraces defined autonomy (Marzano & Waters, 2009) based on high expectations compared to a Pathway that could inadvertently promote lower expectations.  Through the process it became more understood and consensus was reached that a student unable to satisfy the TEP’s admission requirements could graduate with the AS-P degree but he or she will then only be eligible to enter the 4-year institution as a non-licensure candidate in a parallel program.  Remediation was still an option, which also parallels typical processes for the 4-year program. 
One aspect of effective implementation.  As educators have learned from the past, great mandates are easily derailed by poor implementation.  Effective implementation requires systemic enculturation of  policies, practices, and processes into programs. Systemic enculturation takes time.  For instance, rather than pages of admission requirements for each institution, appendices were developed.   These appendices included links, which made comprehension of options more user-friendly and access to information efficient.  However, what would happen to the efficiency and effectiveness if consistent monitoring and safe-guarding of the links were not systemically enculturated?.
 Based on what was developed for the EETP, future Pathway developers are encouraged to clearly and correctly introduce the Pathway by noting, “Completion of the AS-P provides admission to the 4-year institution at a junior level but the individual institution’s Teacher Education Program (TEP) criteria must be met for acceptance into the Elementary Education licensure program.”  This provides the needed caveat to mitigate ambiguity, maintain high expectations, ensure accountability is with the sending rather than receiving institution alone. The safeguards the student seeking transfer and the accepting university’s TEP.
Ambiguity will create assumptions, which can lead to confusion at best and anarchy at worst. For any (Elementary) Education licensure program’s Transfer Pathway, it is crucial to slow the green light of Transfer Pathway acceptance afforded non-licensure majors into a 4-yr university by including an amber light that signals potential tracks for continuing toward professional licensure. This parallels existing programs.  Making the metaphor real means including the minimal requirements for achieving the designation of "Conditional Acceptance" into the university's Teacher Education Program (TEP). A clear designation of TEP admission status allows the TEP to subsequently ensure all criteria expected within the parallel program has been satisfied by the entering AS-P graduate. Thus, local autonomy is secured, all students are treated fairly, and the TEP's Board of Teaching accreditation data is less likely to be questioned. 

To cite:
Anderson, C.J. (November 30, 2016) The Minnesota Elementary Education Transfer Pathways: Promoting opportunities for success.  [Web log post] Retrieved from

Marzano, R. & Waters, T. (2009).  District Leadership That Works. Bloomington, In: Solution
                Tree Press

Sunday, October 30, 2016

A Coherent Network of Student Assessment Contributes to Attaining the Mission of Learning for All

Effective classroom assessment requires a systemic rather than a singular approach.  Such an approach requires a change in mindset whereby assessment is not as a single test but rather as an articulate system of metrics.  A coherent system will be comprised of “valid measures of learning and be horizontally, developmentally, and vertically aligned to serve classroom, school, and district improvement’ (Herman, 2010, p. 1). 
Although a multiple choice test can be efficiently administered it cannot reliably measure the range of annual learning standards.  However, a systemic mindset encourages utilization of multiple measures that can evaluate both the depth and breadth of student learning and development.  Therefore, a systemic approach that embraces multiple and diverse forms of evaluation provides the opportunity to analyze a more thorough exhibition of student learning.  
Systemic approaches that utilize diverse evaluations allow all stakeholders a better opportunity to make decisions based on holistic data.  Diverse data analysis offers the opportunity to more reliably monitor and adjust plans for student, classroom, and school-wide improvement.  This systemic approach provides an opportunity that is not reliably possible through analysis of a solitary, end-of-year test.  The latter “simply cannot provide sufficient formative information to guide teaching and learning throughout the year (Herman, 2010, p 3).
As noted by Herman, the National Research Council (NRC, 2001), advocates for coherence that begins “with a clear specification of the goal(s) to be measured.  Next, assessment tasks are specially designed or selected to reflect the learning goal(s).  Finally, an appropriate interpretation framework is applied to student responses to reach valid conclusions about student learning—for example, a score of “proficient” on a state test or an inference about the source of a student’s misunderstandings in teachers’ formative practice” (2010, p. 3).
A systemic approach promotes coherence.  Through-course exams complement end-of-year assessments.  “More extended, performance-oriented assessments conducted during the course of instruction provide rich opportunities to assess students’ thinking and reasoning as well as their ability to apply and communicate their knowledge and skills in solving complex problems” (Herman, 2010, p. 6).  Models of effective teaching utilize performance assessments to support authentic instruction and student learning. 
An assessment system promoting a coherent network provides the opportunity to develop, implement, and utilize a data-based accountability system that supports educational reform.  Holistic data-based analysis monitors instruction, identifies areas for improvement, and adjusts implementation to optimize learning for all students.  Therefore, every student becomes prepared for post-secondary education or training that can result in a successful life.  Learning for all must be the mission.  A coherent, data-based accountability system is identified as a correlate of Effective Schools Research (Lezotte & Snyder, 2011).  Therefore, any educator that supports learning for all willingly embraces the concept of a coherent system of student assessment.  
To cite: 
Anderson, C.J. (October 30, 2016) A coherent network of student assessment contributes to attaining the mission of learning for all. [Web log post] Retrieved from

Herman, J. L. (2010). Coherence: Key to next generation assessment success (AACC Report). Los Angeles, CA: University of California.
Lezotte, L. W., & Snyder, K. M. (2011). What effective schools do: Re-envisioning the correlates. Bloomington, IN:Solution Tree Press.

Friday, September 30, 2016

Psychological Tools Reduce Cognitive Overload and Optimize Learning

       Psychological tools provide the most important thing a culture passes on to its members Vygotsky (1979). These tools are cognitive devices and procedures whereby we effectively communicate and explore the world around us.  They both aid and change our mental functioning.  Speech, writing, gestures, diagrams, numbers, chemical formulas, musical notation, rules, and memory techniques exemplify common psychological tools.  Eventually these social interactions become internalized as cognitive processes that are automatically invoked.  Quoting Vygotsky researchers Tudge and Scrimsher (2003), “through others we become ourselves” (p. 218).
       An effective educator creates a defined educational culture by optimizing structured learning through the utilization of strategies exhibiting high levels of success.  The first pursuit in this endeavor is to mitigate learning overload.  Learning overload prevents educators from helping students realize progress and achieve stated goals (Reason, 2010).  Citing Kennedy (2006) and Franklin (2005), Reason (2010) further notes, “We can’t alter the brain to hold more information, but we can change our approach to learning in ways that reduce overwhelm and prepare us to deal with institutional challenges more effectively” (p. 99). 
        In any learning environment, the student’s reticular activating system (RAS) impacts his or her attention and motivation.  Therefore, the RAS impacts how efficiently students address the curriculum focal points.  The effective educator recognizes this and seeks to “clearly identify the learning focal points that matter” (Reason, 2010, p. 100) as a way to mitigate stressors that overwhelms one’s perception and attention to curriculum focal points.
       Many institutes of higher education find adult learning benefits from a scheme or model for promoting critical thinking as based on the Perry Scheme (Perry, 1968).  The model is comprised of nine stages within four levels of cognitive ability: dualism, multiplicity, relativism and commitment to relativism.

1.      Dualists think in terms of black and white or right and wrong.  They perceive the need for an objective truth.  They avoid group discussions because they find them to be a waste of time.

2.      Multiplists, by contrast, believe that truth is completely subjective.  Everyone’s opinion or experience is legitimate.

3.      Relativists believe that truth is contextual, therefore what is right or wrong is relative to a particular context or frame of reference.  Since students at this level are able to evaluate the merits of a particular position based on available data, and circumstances can change at any given moment, their thinking is very fluid.

4.      Commitment to relativism is the final stage, whereby individuals are very self-aware and view knowledge as progressive and evolving.  New information is constantly being compiled, evaluated, and synthesized and therefore new knowledge replaces previous thoughts and beliefs.  Philosophically, this level relates to scientific inquiry.
       Acronyms and mnemonics are two psychological tools utilizing social interactions within an educational environment for effectively reducing neurological overload and increasing learning of desired goals.  Metaphors provide another effective metacognitive tool.  As a figure of speech providing an implied comparison, the effective educator can utilize metaphors to increase utilization of vocabulary, promote higher order thinking, and reinforce a desired commitment to relativism. 
       Effective learning environments utilize these psychological tools, thereby reducing learning overload by optimizing metacognition (Bohlin et al., 2008).  In the FAT City Workshop, Lavoie (1989) discourages the creation of instructional environments that exacerbate frustration, anxiety, and tension (FAT).  Prospective and in-service teachers are encouraged to eliminate FAT in the classrooms and optimize a learning environment approaching nirvana (LEAN).  Metaphors, acronyms, and mnemonics provide three psychological tools utilizing social interactions within an educational environment to effectively reduce cognitive overload and thereby increase the opportunity for learning.

To cite:

Anderson, C.J. (September 30, 2016) Psychological tools reduce cognitive overload and optimize
            learning  [Web log post]    Retrieved from


Bohlin, L., Durwin, C., & Reese-Weber, M. (2011). Ed psych: Modules. NY: McGraw-Hill.

 Lavoie, R. (1989) How difficult can this be? F.A.T. City--A learning disabilities workshop DVD
                Retrieved from
Rapaport, W.J. (2011) William Perry's scheme of intellectual and ethical development.
              Retrieved from
Reason, C. (2010). Leading a learning organization: The science of working with others. Bloomington,
             IN: Solution Tree Press.
Tudge, J., & Scrimsher, S. (2003). Lev S. Vygotsky on education: A cultural-historical,
                interpersonal, and individual approach to development. In B. J. Zimmerman &
                D. H. Schunk (Eds.), Educational psychology: A century of contributions
                (pp. 207–228) Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

An Effective Response to Intervention System Requires Highly Effective Teachers

Using a crosswalk between the correlates of Effective Schools Research and tenets of an effective Response to Intervention (RTI) program will allow a multidimensional team of stakeholders that includes parents or guardians, to create an efficient and effective RTI system.  Such a system promotes equity in quality within schools committed to the pursuit of learning for all.  Subsequent alignment of the district's non-negotiable goals with individual school needs and experiences (Marzano & Waters, 2009) should expand rather than limit the district's clearinghouse of research-based and success-proven strategies and interventions.  

While there is a danger to prescribing interventions in a limiting fashion, collecting and archiving RTI anthologies have the potential for providing a clearinghouse of research-based and success-proven strategies and interventions.  Promoting such a clearinghouse of identified successes ensures professional development is available to optimize access, review, and implementation of a range of interventions.  Thus, RTI can actually enrich the highly effective  teacher’s professional practice through defined autonomy.

A core competency required for effective implementation of RTI interventions is the ability to correctly collect, analyze, and utilize data.  Frequent monitoring of student progress, and adjusting as indicated by results, is a correlate of continuous school improvement within Effective Schools.  This correlate requires teacher competency in collecting data, evaluating results, and being an honest consumer of the resulting data.  

Both pre-service and in-service teachers openly admit to the difficulty of monitoring student progress to inform instructional decisions.  The inter-relationship between the identified core principles makes the pursuit of a hierarchy subjective at best and futile at worst.  The correlate of frequent monitoring and subsequent adjustment drives the core principles for implementing RTI.  The ability to collect data, evaluate results, and be an honest consumer of the resulting data promotes the correlate of frequent monitoring and subsequent adjustment.  Teacher proficiency with data must therefore become a professional competency. 

When teachers identify and prescribe an intervention, they often have difficulty accepting the need to change (adjust) if the prescribed intervention proves ineffective.  Too often the failure of the intervention is perceived a personal failure of the initial prescription, which can then delay the necessary adjustment.  For this reason, a district and school is well-advised to consider the following six ideas for successful development of an effective RTI system
  • Encourage participation by key stakeholders during planning and implementation.
  • Elicit strong administrative support in staff development, instructional integrity, and data collection.
  • Provide in-depth staff development with mentoring, modeling, and coaching.
  • Begin follow-up trainings at the beginning of each school year.
  •  Distribute a manual outlining procedures and materials.
  •  Build Problem Solving Models including RTI into school schedules and the student improvement process (Lau, Sieler, Muyskens, et al, 2006).

Additionally, Schools of Education and Alternate Route Teacher Preparation Programs need to ensure graduates are able to collect data, evaluate results, and be an honest consumer of the resulting data.  There needs to be an expectations for utilizing statistics and data analysis during coursework for prospective teachers.  Effective districts also need to complement this evolution through in-service professional development on collecting data, evaluating results, and being an honest consumer of the resulting data.

To cite:
Anderson, C.J. (August 31, 2016) aA effective response to intervention system requires highly effective
teachers.  [Web log post] Retrieved from
Edmonds, R. (1979). Effective Schools for the urban poor. Educational Leadership, 37,
Lau, Sieler, Muyskens, Canter, VanKeuren, & Marston (2006).  Perspectives on the use of the
            Problem-Solving Model from the viewpoint of school psychologist, administrator, and
            teacher. Psychology in the Schools, 43 (1), 117-127.
Marzano, R. & Waters, T.(2009).  District leadership that works. Bloomington, In: Solution
                Tree Press

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Accreditation Standards: Promoting effective leadership and optimizing student success

Graduate programs intending to develop highly qualified educational leaders must seek to address Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) accreditation standards (2013) to identify and develop competencies that optimize educational leadership.  Teacher preparation programs must be responsive to accreditation standards, intended to promote effective leadership and optimize student success within schools (CAEP, 2013).  Following de facto consolidation into the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP, 2013), more than 900 educator preparation providers currently participate as providers currently accredited by either the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) or the Teacher Education Accreditation Council (TEAC) CAEP is now the sole specialized accreditor for educator preparation.  
For the purpose of the accreditation of educator preparation providers, NCATE and TEAC are now subsidiaries of CAEP.  NCATE and TEAC maintain their recognition by the U.S. Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA).  Future accreditation will be under CAEP, effectively phasing out the subsidiary councils over time (CAEP, 2013).
Founded in 1997, the Teacher Education Accreditation Council (TEAC) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving academic degree programs for professional educators that will teach and lead in schools, pre-K through grade 12.  The TEAC accreditation process forms the basis for CAEP’s Inquiry Brief Accreditation Pathway, identifying the educator preparation provider’s case that it prepares competent, caring, and qualified professional educators (TEAC, 2013.  The process requires the educator preparation provider present evidence to support its case.  The accreditation process examines and verifies the evidence (CAEP, 2013).
The standards used by the Teacher Education Accreditation Council (TEAC) help frame teacher education and educational leadership programs at institutions of higher learning.  Educator preparation providers include traditional institutions of higher education, as well as alternative pathways such as residency programs (CAEP, 2013).
CAEP, NCATE, and TEAC all expect faculty to hold a terminal degree or possess exceptional expertise while modeling high quality instructional and professional practices.  The qualifications of faculty and teaching quality must align with measurable benchmarks of an effective educational program.  “Teacher quality—knowledge and effectiveness—is the number one school based factor in student achievement” (NCATE, 2003, para. 9).
To sustain success and seek improvement, faculty within educator preparation providers should systematically evaluate colleagues and collaborate to optimize professional development (NCATE, 2003; TEAC, 2003).  The mindset driving sustained success and continuous improvement should be if better is possible then good is not enough.  The following five standards and two recommendations guide the endeavor toward CAEP’s goals to raise the performance of candidates as practitioners in the nation’s P-12 schools and thereby raise the stature of the entire profession.  Pursuit of these goals requires teacher preparation programs support any claims of quality in each of the following:
Standard 1: Content and Pedagogical Knowledge
Standard 2: Clinical Partnerships and Practice
Standard 3: Candidate Quality, Recruitment, and Selectivity
Standard 4: Program Impact
Standard 5: Provider Quality Assurance and Continuous Improvement
Recommendation: Annual Reporting and CAEP Monitoring
Recommendation: Levels of Accreditation Decisions (CAEP, 2013, p. 2)
Pursuit of the goals identified by the CAEP standards and recommendations require educator preparation providers willingly reflect, monitor, and adjust programs to meet increased expectation (CAEP, 2013).  The following six professional standards reflect the significant alignment between TEAC and NCATE expectations:
1.     unit governance and resources,
2.     faculty qualifications, performance, and development,
3.     candidate knowledge, skills, and dispositions,
4.     assessment system and unit evaluation,
5.     field experience and clinical practice,
6.     diversity.
The primary professional standards guide the educator preparation providers to willingly reflect, monitor, and adjust programs to meet increased expectation of the accreditation process.  Yet, teachers exhibit varying awareness of the standards (Rodenberg, 2006), so it is uncertain how TEAC, NCATE, or CAEP professional standards promote relevance to actual professional development.  Educators would benefit from increased awareness of pedagogical research and best practices that may inform their practices.  In this regard, schools and districts will need to provide high quality, research-based staff development relative to effective practices (Marzano, Pickering, & Pollock, 2001).  As life-long learners, teachers need to have effective instruction that includes modeling, practice, feedback, and reinforcement (Joyce & Showers, 2002).  These opportunities can be evaluated by stakeholders in relation to school climate using the Five P structure based on Invitational Education theory (Schmidt, 2007).
In a meta-analysis of studies that examined aspects of Highly Qualified Teachers, Darling-Hammond (2004) codified five quantifiable attributes that frequently appeared to correlate teacher qualifications with student achievement.  These included:
1.     General academic and verbal abilities;
2.     Subject matter knowledge;
3.     Pedagogical knowledge as reflected by teacher education coursework or preparation experiences;
4.     Teaching experience; and
5.     Qualifications measured by teacher certification, which included most of the preceding factors.
Quality educators exhibit qualitative characteristics.  Specifically, an educator’s intuition correlates student actions to effective teacher reactions or proactive responses.  This requires teachers know about children, pedagogy, curriculum, thereby making these elements effectively, efficiently, and logically, interact (Darling-Hammond, 2004).
It remains unknown how emotional intelligence skills and behaviors in the workplace relates to intuition.  Stronge’s (2002) meta-analysis focused upon "the teacher as a person" (p. 12).  The reviewed studies identified instructional and classroom management strategies as key to teacher effectiveness, usually emphasizing the teacher's affective characteristics more than their pedagogical practice (Stronge et al., 2003). 
The measurement of teacher performance remains difficult.  Teaching candidate credentials are generally easier to observe and analyze.  Teacher dispositions identified with highly qualified teachers include collegiality, self-reflection, collaboration, interactive skills, and reflective adjustment to personal and professional practice (Miller & Davidson, 2006).  These characteristics may be essential for promoting the defined autonomy and effective collaboration evidenced within highly effective schools (Marzano & Waters, 2009).  Informal and formal assessment of these dispositions during teacher preparation and educational leadership programs will continue based on accreditation and certification requirements (CAEP, 2013; NCATE, 2010; TEAC, 2010).

Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (2013). CAEP Accreditation
               Standards. Retrieved from
Darling-Hammond, L. (2004). Standards, accountability, and school reform. Teachers College Record, 
               106(6), 1047–1085. doi:10.1111/j.1467-9620.2004.00372.x
Joyce, B.R. & Showers, B. (2002). Student achievement through staff development.
               Arlington, VA: ASCD. ISBN: 0871206749
Marzano, R., Pickering, D. & Pollock, J. (2001). Classroom instruction that works: Research-based 
              strategies for increasing student achievement (first ed.).  Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision 
              and Curriculum Development.
Marzano, R. & Waters, T.(2009). District leadership that works. Bloomington, In:
               Solution Tree Press
Marzano, R. J., Waters, T., & McNulty, B. A. (2005). School leadership that works:
               From      research to results. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and
               Curriculum Development. Retrieved from:
Miller, K.W. & Davidson, D.M.(2006).What makes a secondary school science and/or
               mathematics teacher “highly qualified”? Science Educator, 15 (1), 56-59.
Rodenberg, J. K. (2006). How teachers define "highly qualified" for themselves and their profession. 
                 (Order No. 3218194, University of San Diego and San Diego State University). ProQuest 
                 Dissertations and Theses, , 158-158 p. Retrieved from 
Schmidt, J. J. (2007). Elements of diversity in invitational practice and research. Journal
                of Invitational Theory & Practice, 13, 16-23. Retrieved from:
Stronge, J. H. (2002). Qualities of effective teachers. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision 
               and Curriculum Development. ISBN 0871206633

To cite:
Anderson, C.J. (July 31, 2016) Accreditation standards: Promoting effective leadership and optimizing 
                  student success  [Web log post] Retrieved from