By: Banhi Bhattacharya, Senior Director of Program Review, CAEP

Program review is an essential component of the overall accreditation process, providing evidence for teacher candidates’ foundational knowledge of content and pedagogy. All Educator Preparation Providers (EPPs) seeking CAEP Accreditation must undergo program review every seven to ten years. It is a way to ensure quality through peer review, supported by content specialists, who review the evidence EPPs provide to demonstrate their program strength and/or weaknesses. The specialists apply their discipline-specific expertise to provide feedback to programs to ensure quality and support continuous improvement.

While accreditation is the framework for continuous EPP self-assessment, program review is the process whereby EPPs may conduct an evidence-based analysis of the efficacy of their programs. Program review reports are valuable in a number of ways.

  1. EPPs may use program reports as evidence in meeting CAEP Standard 1 (Candidate Knowledge, Skills, and Professional Dispositions).
  2. As part of the accreditation process, site visitors use the recognition reports as evidence that indicate whether programs are of high quality, have achieved recognition or approval status, and produce successful graduates as indicators for Standard 1.

Information provided by program reports may also provide evidence related to other areas covered by CAEP standards, particularly technology, diversity, the conceptual framework, and field experiences.

States define the program review options available to EPPs as part of the CAEP State Partnership Agreement, which includes the following three options: (1) CAEP Program Review with National Recognition using standards developed by Specialized Professional Associations (SPAs), (2) CAEP Program Review with Feedback, and (3) State Program Review.

Program review occurs prior to the self study (the process and document that an EPP undergoes/ creates to evaluate its practices against the CAEP standards) and on-site accreditation visit. The program review results provide EPPs with evidence that may be used to meet applicable CAEP standards.

The purpose of Program Review with Feedback is to provide feedback to states, institutions, and site visiting teams on program level-data without making judgments or recommendations on discipline-specific content areas.  This feedback would be used by states to make determination on discipline specific programs within an EPP, and site visitors would use the feedback as part of the accreditation decision-making process. This report is submitted as an addendum to the self-study report roughly 8-12 months in advance of the site visit and is reviewed by site visitors.

The Program Review option that uses standards developed by Specialized Professional Associations (SPAs) to prepare program reports on specific content areas and level of school education, is the only one leading to national recognition. These reports are submitted mid-cycle of the overall accreditation cycle (that is, three years prior to the accreditation visit for most states) and seek to provide evidence of candidates’ performance on a set of key assessments that demonstrate meeting of content standards.

In the coming months we will highlight CAEP Program Review with National Recognition and our SPA (Specialized Professional Association) partners and the value of SPA National Recognition for individual programs.