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New National Standards for Elementary Teacher Preparation Approved.


I am pleased to report that the new Program Standards for Elementary Teacher Preparation were approved, with revisions, by the Specialty Areas Studies Board of NCATE (the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education). The SASB met last October in Washington, D.C., to review the final draft of the standards document. This was the culmination of nearly five years of hard work that started in 1995 when NCATE began to reevaluate its position regarding national standards, accreditation, and the folio review process.

The Elementary Standards Drafting Committee was commissioned by NCATE that same year to restructure the accreditation process. NCATE sought to develop a model for revision of the program standards, in all of the teaching disciplines, that would combine candidate performance standards with assessments of candidate proficiency. The pilot area selected for this work was elementary teacher preparation. Unlike previous NCATE program standards, the new performance-based standards describe what teacher candidates should be able to do, instead of focusing exclusively on coursework or on the nature of field experiences offered to candidates to determine program quality.

Arthur Wise, NCATE President, explained at a press conference last summer that the elementary program standards "reflect the new consensus about what elementary education should look like." The Drafting Committee comprised representatives from 19 professional organizations, including ACEI. The new standards are linked to the model state licensing standards, or principles, of INTASC (the Interstate New Teacher Assessment and Support Consortium), national P-12 Student standards, and NBPTS (National Board for Professional Teaching Standards) for advanced teaching certifications. If you are interested in examining the Program Standards for Elementary Teacher Preparation, go to the NCATE Web page at:

Those of you who are familiar with the previous NCATE folio guidelines for elementary education, which have been in use since 1989, will notice a major difference in the kind of evidence that institutions are being asked to provide. With the new program standards, the matrix detailing information about course offerings and field experiences is no longer required. In its place, institutions must provide information, from candidate assessments and monitoring, that describes elementary candidate mastery of the knowledge and skills included in the revised standards.

I attended the October SASB meeting, along with Nancy Quisenberry, ACEI representative on the Drafting Committee, and Catheryn Weitman, ACEI Program Review Coordinator. We were there not only for the presentation of the new program standards by Emerson Elliott, Director, NCATE Standards Development Project, but also to make a presentation of our own. With the change to a performance-based system for determining program quality, it became necessary to determine what kinds of material or evidence institutions would be asked to submit and how that evidence would be evaluated. We welcomed the opportunity to present a proposal on behalf of ACEI, which the SASB subsequently accepted with revisions.

ACEI also was invited to present a second proposal describing the revision of the program review process (formerly known as the folio review process) for institutions seeking NCATE accreditation for elementary education. In that proposal, we addressed such things as the qualifications and training of program reviewers, expanding the pool of reviewers to include reviewers from content area organizations, and logistics and orientation for institutions. The latter proposal met with mixed reactions, which we had anticipated; however, we were disappointed that the proposal did not receive more favorable consideration. A letter I co-wrote with ACEI President Shirley Raines prompted NCATE to convene a special follow-up meeting in December 1999 to address key issues of the review process. Representatives from ACEI, NCATE, and the SASB were invited to participate. Representing ACEI were Nancy Quisenberry, Catheryn Weitman, Mary Ng, Ron Colbert, and Jim Cramer. A revised proposal was submitted to the SASB in February 2000. Watch the ACEI Exchange for further information on the outcome of that meeting. ACEI will continue to play a major role in the NCATE Program Review Process for elementary education and will be instrumental in helping to implement a performance-based system of accreditation.

--Jerry Odland, Executive Director
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Author:Odland, Jerry
Publication:Childhood Education
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jun 22, 2000
Previous Article:Thanks for 15 Years, Jerry!
Next Article:In ACEI, All Members Are International.

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