What Is the NCATE?
The National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) has been dedicated to helping establish high-quality teacher, specialist and administrator preparation since 1954. It replaced the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE) as the agency responsible for accreditation in teacher education in the United States.
What Is NCATE Accreditation?
NCATE’s mission is accountability and improvement in educator preparation. Their performance-based system requires institutions to provide evidence of competency of their teacher candidates. This means that NCATE-accredited colleges of education must ensure that their teacher candidates know their subject matter and can effectively teach it.
NCATE is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education as a professional accrediting body for colleges and universities that prepare teachers to work in elementary and secondary schools.
There are more than 33 member organizations representing millions of Americans that support and sustain NCATE which is a non-profit, non-governmental organization. It is the nation’s largest coalition of public and education organizations devoted to quality teaching.
Simply put, NCATE accreditation signals to educators and students alike that the accredited institution has met the challenging requirements needed to provide the quality preparation that effective teachers should have.
What Is Required for an Institution to Become NCATE-accredited?
There are currently 656 NCATE-accredited institutions and more than 70 candidates under consideration for accreditation. Accredited institutions are held accountable for meeting NCATE’s rigorous standards.
Some Highlights of NCATE Standards:
Standard 1: Candidate Knowledge, Skills and Dispositions
NCATE expects teacher candidates or other school professionals to know the subject matter they will be teaching and have the instructional strategies they will need to help all students learn.
Standard 2: Assessment System and Unit Evaluation
NCATE standards require that the education unit has the ability to assess a candidate’s competence prior to admission, during the course of the program, and before completion and/or recommendation for licensure.
Standard 3: Field Experiences and Clinical Practices
Field and clinical experiences must be “sufficiently extensive and intensive for candidates to demonstrate competence in the professional roles for which they are preparing.” Practicing teachers who are returning for a master’s degree are also expected to engage in field experiences.
Standard 4: Diversity
A professional education unit must include a commitment to preparing candidates to support learning for all students and expects that candidates will be able to interact with other candidates, faculty, and P-12 students from diverse groups.
Standard 5: Faculty Qualifications, Performance and Development
Professional education faculty are expected to hold doctorates or exceptional expertise in their area of assignment. In addition, NCATE expects systematic evaluations of faculty performance and the availability of professional development opportunities for faculty.
Standard 6: Unit Governance and Resources
The professional education unit is expected to have the budget, personnel and facilities needed to prepare candidates to meet professional, state and institutional standards. In addition, there need to be sufficient numbers of full-time faculty and support personnel. Faculty are expected to integrate technology into their teaching, and the unit is expected to have adequate IT resources to support both faculty and students.
What Is the Benefit of Receiving a Master of Science in Education (MSEd.) Degree from an Accredited School?
In a public opinion poll by Penn and Schoen, 82 percent of the general public favors requiring teachers to hold degrees from nationally accredited schools. Research has shown that teachers who receive an MSEd. from an NCATE-accredited institution are better prepared to improve individual student achievement.
NCATE accreditation means that the learning institution has met all of the rigorous requirements relevant to the needs of today’s classroom so teachers can be confident in their readiness to teach.
Accreditation involves an external review by professionals in the field for compliance with standards agreed upon by the teaching field at large. This performance-based accreditation system indicates that colleges and universities can demonstrate “what do candidates know and what are they able to do?”
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