March 15, 2017

My colleagues and I were pleased to attend the AACTE Annual Meeting.  It was an opportunity to meet with, and listen to, many of you. Thank you for sharing your support, questions, and guidance with us. 

We compiled answers to recurring questions we received during those conversations.  We encourage you to share these answers with your teams and colleagues. 

We look forward to many more productive conversations and welcome your continued feedback. 

Christopher Koch, Ed.D., President
CAEP

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION RECOGNITION

CAEP has been recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) since 2014 and, thus, is a nationally recognized accreditor.

Recognition by the U.S. Secretary of Education, as provided for under the Higher Education Act of 1966, as amended in 2008, (HEA), is optional for accreditors and is used for oversight of participation in federal programs to demonstrate an accreditation organization has met U.S. Department of Education standards.

The process for seeking recognition requires an accreditor to demonstrate that institutions they accredit are not able to access federal funding without such accreditation.  Thus, it is not a matter of whether CAEP wants recognition, but rather, whether recognition is needed for programs to access federal funding. NCATE and TEAC had established a prior federal link through Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) teacher preparation grants.  CAEP is actively conducting research to see if there are institutions that require CAEP accreditation to access federal funding. 

CAEP also has had conversations with Department officials and learned that the approval process is lengthy and can take up to two years, and that applications for new accreditors will not be accepted until 2018. The length of time for the process is not an indicator of an accreditors’ quality; it is simply a matter of process.

Further, the Federal regulations (34 CFR §602.12) require any agency seeking initial recognition to demonstrate that it has granted accreditation to one or more institution or program that covers the range of the specific degrees, certifications, institutions, and programs for which it seeks recognition, and, in the geographic area for which recognition is sought, and that the agency has conducted accreditation for at least two years prior to seeking recognition.

The CAEP Accreditation Council endorsed a single CAEP accreditation process in October 2016, and the CAEP Board directed implementation of this process in December 2016.   Under the CAEP accreditation process, educator preparation providers (EPPs) can take up to five years from completing the Part 1 application until an accreditation decision is made; therefore, it will take time to get a representative group of EPPs through this process to meet the two-year experience requirement.

CAEP’S DECISION TO MOVE TO A SINGLE ACCREDITATION PROCESS

When did this happen?

The CAEP Accreditation Council endorsed a single CAEP accreditation process in October 2016 and the CAEP Board directed staff to implement a single CAEP accreditation process in December 2016.

What was the reason?

CAEP must demonstrate consistency, transparency, and integrity with accreditation decisions. The CAEP accreditation process integrates some of the best aspects of prior pathways into a singular high integrity process that is defensible.  The Inquiry Brief (IB) and Selected Improvement (SI) pathways are quite different, so continuing to run both simultaneously would hinder CAEP from conclusively stating that accreditation decisions are equivalent.  Additionally, maintaining three pathways is not efficient since maintaining these would require more extensive training and significant additional resources.

We were told many times that options would remain after the merger, and we valued that.

The CAEP accreditation process has the overarching goal of allowing EPPs to demonstrate through evidence that they meet the CAEP Standards.  There are still options and flexibility in how EPPs choose and report evidence within this uniform process.

When will this be required?

Officially, EPPs with a site visit in fall 2019 and beyond (including all EPPs beginning the CAEP application process after January 1, 2017) will use the CAEP accreditation process that does not include the SI or IB pathway.

Resources (Handbook, Policy Manual, Illustrative Guides, Timeline, and Technical Guides) associated with the single CAEP accreditation process will be disseminated to the field around the time of the Fall CAEPCon (September 24-26, 2017).

ORGANIZATIONAL CAPACITY

Some EPPs have indicated that they experience a lack of responsiveness and consistent answers when reaching out to CAEP staff.  I recognize that this is a concern and want to confirm that the entire CAEP staff is dedicated to enhancing customer service and response time.  We are implementing the following steps to address our challenges:

  • Survey questions included on staff emails and other CAEP resources to solicit real time feedback that will inform our own continuous improvement processes
  • Staff professional development on customer service
  • New avenues for communication with and receiving feedback from EPPs, including through new approaches shared with AACTE 

ADVANCED STANDARDS

In June 2016, the CAEP Board of Directors approved the CAEP Standards for Advanced-Level Programs and scope for a review of those standards.  Since releasing the scope only a couple months ago, we have received more than 60 requests for exemptions, making it clear to us that additional clarification regarding scope is necessary.  We are preparing this clarification document to release in the next few weeks. Additionally, AIMS templates and guidance are under development and external review.

PROGRAM REVIEW OPTIONS

We received many questions about program review.  The critical, and overarching premise regarding program review is:  it is the state that determines how an EPP’s programs are assessed?   Each state establishes the options under which an EPP program is reviewed: 

  • National Recognition through the Specialized Professional Association
  • State Program Review
  • Program Review with Feedback – this is a part of the self-study report, and is taken up by the site team as part of the formative review

Individual states determine what, if any, waivers (e.g., for number of completers or data requirements) are acceptable.  EPPs, in the absence of a CAEP-state agreement can choose among the three program review options; however, if State Program Review is selected, the EPP must coordinate with its respective state to receive and provide to CAEP the state agency report on the EPP’s specialty areas.  

WHY DID YOU STOP OFFERING EARLY ASSESSMENT REVIEWS?

CAEP is committed to encouraging strong evidence for management and leadership of educator preparation, for continuous improvement of preparation programs, and for inclusion in EPP accreditation self-study reports.  Of course, strong evidence can include many forms of assessment and a variety of instruments. CAEP’s role as an independent accreditor limits our ability to provide broad endorsements of assessments and other instruments—from states, EPPs, or commercial testing companies. 

We know that even an excellent instrument, for example, might be misrepresented or might be interpreted in ways that are not valid.  CAEP’s accreditation review procedures need to identify such situations and provide for an appropriate accreditation result. The CAEP site teams and the Accreditation Council must have independence to judge the full array of analyses, interpretations, and conclusions from the evidence in reaching their judgments.

RELATED TO STANDARD 4 – IS THERE A SET SAMPLE SIZE OF COMPLETERS THAT MUST BE INCLUDED?

No.  CAEP does not specify, nor should we, the sample size for completers under Standard 4. Rather, CAEP encourages EPPs to use the resources (handbooks, policy documents, evidence guide, etc.) as the authority on CAEP processes and procedures.  The following sources are relevant to this question:

HANDBOOK—for component 4.2, it says that if surveys are used, then return rates are 20% or above for “sufficient.”  An attribute for “above sufficient” says that return rates are 40% or above.  Note, however, this is for return rates or response rates—not the size of a sampled population. 

HANDBOOK—for component 4.1, there is nothing at all about percentages or response rate.  The EPP provides information on the “context and description of the source” of P-12 learning data.  Also, they describe and explain “the representativeness of the data.” 

ASSESSMENT EVALUATION FRAMEWORK—this has language about both reliability and validity and asks EPPs to explain what they are doing.  There is nothing about response rates nor about sample sizes for either assessments or surveys.

EVIDENCE GUIDE—the validity and reliability definition (p. 16) says that “the level of precision needed depends on the circumstances in which the measure is applied.”  There are no minimum sample percentages here.