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

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