Friday, November 19, 2004

Studies show that teacher quality is the most important factor in P-12 student achievement. Professional accreditation is one way to ensure the public that schools of education are graduating well-qualified teachers ready for today's classrooms.

The Fairmont State University School of Education has proven its commitment to producing quality teachers for our children by achieving continued accreditation under the performance-oriented standards of the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE), the organization responsible for professional accreditation of teacher education.

"I am very pleased to learn of our continued accreditation from NCATE," said Dr. Ravic Ringlaben, Dean of Teacher Education and Interim Director of Graduate Studies for FSU. "It supports the continued commitment of FSU to provide a high quality teacher education program."

NCATE currently accredits 588 institutions that produce two-thirds of the nation's new teacher graduates each year. More than 100 institutions are candidates or pre-candidates for accreditation.

NCATE-accredited schools must meet rigorous standards set by the profession and members of the public. Teacher candidates must have in-depth knowledge of the subject matter that they plan to teach as well as the skills necessary to convey it so that students learn. The college or university must carefully assess this knowledge and skill to determine that candidates may graduate. The institution must have partnerships with P-12 schools that enable candidates to develop the skills necessary to help students learn. Candidates must be prepared to understand and work with diverse student populations. College and university faculty must model effective teaching practices. And the school, college or department of education must have the resources, including information technology resources, necessary to prepare candidates to meet new standards.

NCATE revises its standards every five years to incorporate best practice and research in order to ensure that the standards reflect a consensus about what is important in teacher preparation today. In the past decade, NCATE has moved from an accreditation system that focused on curriculum and what teacher candidates were offered, to a data-driven performance-based system dedicated to determining what candidates know and are able to do. The new system expects teacher preparation institutions to provide compelling evidence of candidate knowledge and skill in the classroom. Multiple types of performance assessment are expected throughout the program of study. Candidate qualifications are assessed upon entry, and candidate competence is assessed throughout the program as well as prior to student teaching/internship work, and before completion of the program.

Meeting NCATE accreditation standards also helps institutions prepare new teachers for new, more rigorous licensing standards in many states. NCATE accreditation standards incorporate the model state licensing principles developed by a task force of the Council of Chief State School Officers.

The U.S. Department of Education recognizes NCATE as a specialized accrediting body for schools, colleges and departments of education. NCATE is composed of more than 30 professional and policymaker organizations representing millions of Americans committed to quality teaching. It was founded in 1954 by the teaching profession and the states. NCATE continues its mission today: the profession and the states working together for excellence in teacher preparation and development.

For more information about the FSU School of Education, visit www.fairmontstate.edu. For more information about NCATE, visit www.ncate.org.