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TEACHER EDUCATION AS IT RELATES TO NATIONAL ACCREDITATION AND STATE APPROVAL.

The National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) has moved from a set of standards in teacher preparation that is process-based to one which focuses not only on the performance of an accredited institution's students but also on the outcomes of P-12 students taught by graduates of these accredited institutions. Standard I summarizes this premise as follows:
   "Teacher candidates and candidates Preparing for roles other than teaching
   in schools know the content of their fields, demonstrate dispositions and
   professional and pedagogical knowledge and skills at levels expected by the
   profession; and have a positive effect on student learning."


Under the new NCATE guidelines, accredited institutions must be "aligned" with such national professional organizations as the Interstate New Teacher Assessment and Support Consortium (INTASC) and the National Board for Professional Standards (NRPTS) as well as complying with all the licensure standards of the appropriate state departments of education. For each major in an academic discipline, accredited institutions also must conform to the standards of the nationally recognized specialty organizations.

Under the new NCATE standards, which have been adopted by the Tennessee State Department of Education, graduates of accredited/approved institutions must "... demonstrate the dispositions, knowledge, and performance expectations of the INTASC standards at a level appropriate for novice teachers." In the past, it was sufficient to validate that graduates had completed coursework which covered content stipulated under the various standards; but under the new NCATE/state guidelines, program completers also must demonstrate mastery of essential precepts in a P-12 educational setting.

Graduates also must demonstrate "... dispositions and knowledge related to diversity in their work with student populations and communities ...," and they must "... effectively integrate technology into instruction in support of student learning ..." Again, simply presenting evidence of having taken the appropriate courses will not suffice for future NCATE accreditations and state approvals. Graduates will be expected to validate their "dispositions" in a variety of ways. Effective Fall Semester 2001, highlighting process as evidence of excellence in its teacher preparation programs will no longer be enough for an institution. Instead, the performance of an institution's program completers and graduates and the performance of its students' students will be expected to meat acceptable standards in the national accreditation and state approval process.

The University of Tennessee at Martin (UT Martin) has for many years recognized that, as a teacher preparation institution, it will be evaluated by its constituents not by how its students are taught but rather by what its graduates accomplish. In this sense, UT Martin has already aligned itself with the new NCATE/state standards. To document this alignment, the number of field experiences required in teacher education has increased for all disciplines, and the accountability of students assigned to these experiences has been better defined. In conjunction with their regular on-campus classes, students now are required to work and learn in their assigned P-12 classrooms under the mentorship of experienced teachers; and they must document their performance in portfolios which respond to accreditation/approval guidelines and UT Martin's conceptual framework. They must demonstrate their ability to work with diverse populations of students in UT Martin's rural partnership schools as well as in selected urban settings. Their portfolios, as well as numerous activities in a majority of their classes, require computer literacy and an understanding of current educational technology.

The following initiatives, introduced in UT Martin's teacher education programs over the past three years, manifest the institution's commitment to performance-based teacher education in a multicultural society.

(1) Two P-12 school partnerships have been initiated within a 12-mile radius of UT Martin, and a third preexisting P-12 school partnership is being expanded. Two of the three partner school systems are racially diverse, with over 40 percent of their children identified as belonging to minority groups. All UT Martin students in teacher education are assigned a minimum of 25-30 hours as supervised instructional assistants in at least two of these partnership schools.

(2) A portfolio assessment process had been developed to track UT Martin student performance in the P-12 schools and in selected clinical settings. Education students typically begin developing their portfolios prior to admission to teacher education, and they continue contributing to and refining these portfolios until they have successfully completed their student teaching.

(3) Prior to recommendation for licensure, all UT Martin teacher education students are required to demonstrate substantive participation and success as instructional assistants in both rural/suburban and urban P-12 schools.

(4) A Tennessee Higher Education Commission grant has been obtained to begin graduate education for five minority students seeking both master's degrees and initial licensure.

(5) A student recruitment program with special focus on diversity is being developed with one of UT Martin's partnership schools in an effort to begin teacher education (and academic remediation, as needed) at the high school level. This initiative, called "Running Stan," has been enhanced through external funding, which will permit UT Martin to offer scholarships to promising high school graduates with an apparent talent for teaching.

(6) A National Youth Sports Program (NYSP), supported by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), has been established at UT Martin. This program provides summer day camps and other educational experiences to children from low-income families in Northwest Tennessee.

(7) An urban-rural exchange of UT Martin teacher education students from an historically black institution has been initiated, with notable success. Future exchanges are being planned for the academic year 1999-2000.

Clearly, the teacher education faculty at The University of Tennessee at Martin is strongly committed to meeting the expectations of the profession as reflected in NCATE and state standards.

PHILIP W. CONN Chancellor The University of Tennessee at Martin Martin, Tennessee 382383
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Author:CONN, PHILIP W.
Publication:Education
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Sep 22, 1999
Words:938
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