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Which Teacher Prep Programs Meet Tough New Accreditation Standards?

Out of 21 teacher preparation programs from 14 states that were seeking accreditation under tougher new standards, 17 have met all expectations and gained accreditation, while four programs have failed to meet all the required standards, according to an inaugural report released on Monday by the Council for Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP).

A program is put on probation if it fails any of the five standards on which each program is judged. The standards place a strong emphasis on outcomes, including the academic achievement of students taught by each program's teachers.

Among the 17 programs that have earned accreditation are teacher prep programs at Boise State University, the University of Houston, and Wake Forest University in Winston Salem, N.C. The accreditation must be renewed in seven years.

The programs at the University of Utah, in Salt Lake City; Randolph-Macon College in Ashland, Va., and Central Michigan University in Mount Pleasant each received "probationary accreditation" for failing to meet one of the five standards on which programs are judged. The University of Utah, for instance, failed to meet standard 4, which requires the program to provide student test scores, along with other evidence, as a measure of its graduates' effectiveness. Standard 4 also requires programs to provide evidence that its graduates and their employers are satisfied with the preparation the teachers received. The graduates' satisfaction might be shown through surveys they complete about how prepared they were for the realities of teaching, while employer satisfaction might be shown through retention data. These three programs have two years to demonstrate through a site visit by the CAEP committee that the failed standard has been met.

The program at the University of Sioux Falls in South Dakota received "accreditation with stipulation" because it failed to meet "one or more components" of standard 4, which governs program impact. The program must submit documentation within two years showing that it has addressed the problem.

CAEP was conceived in 2010 with the goal of uniting the teacher-preparation programs, which have long been criticized for churning out candidates who are ill-prepared to lead their own classrooms, behind new, tougher expectations. The group unveiled its new, more ambitious, standards for program accreditation in 2013. You can read more about CAEP's effort to perfect its accreditation process here.

In many states, national accreditation of teacher preparation programs is not mandatory. So far, 29 states plan to use CAEP to evaluate the quality of their teacher prep programs.

Stay tuned for more reporting on why the four teacher prep programs did not gain accreditation and what they have to do to improve.

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