The Council for the Accreditation of Education Preparation (CAEP) is poised to raise the bar for accreditation. We need educators for our schools and classrooms who can raise the levels of learning for American students, and CAEP can play a powerful role to make that happen. As the new accrediting body for educator preparation, CAEP will serve as a model accreditor with rigorous standards, demanding sound evidence and establishing a platform to drive continuous improvement and innovation.
In line with this new vision and as its first public action, CAEP invited representatives of diverse and often divergent views and perspectives that would challenge the status quo and push for the urgent change needed in the field of educator preparation. We invited critics of accreditation, innovative educator preparation providers, teachers, parents, district and state leaders, and reformers to craft recommendations for a foundation to support the vision of CAEP as a new kind of accrediting body that drives innovation and change. The Commission’s makeup reflects a partnership between higher education and P-12 education, signaling the new demands for collaboration that CAEP expects.
Charge to the Commission
The CAEP Board of Directors charged the CAEP Commission on Standards and Performance Reporting with transforming the preparation of teachers by creating a rigorous system of accreditation that demands excellence and produces educators who raise student achievement.
The Commission has taken its responsibility seriously and interpreted its mandate to encompass the full scope of the educational challenge facing our nation’s teachers. America’s teachers must not only raise student achievement for some learners, but they are challenged to do so for all learners in a nation with an increasingly diverse P-12 student population. Creating effective learning environments that challenge and engage all learners has been the frame of reference that guided the Commission’s work and that readers of these draft standards and recommendations will find reflected at various points. I believe we all share a common goal that our teachers can help young people become successful, happy, productive contributors to American society.
Specifically, the Commission was established to develop accreditation standards for all preparation programs that are based on evidence, continuous improvement, innovation, and sound clinical practice. Wherever possible, the Commission has grounded its standards and evidence on empirical research or, where there is little guiding research, it has based its recommendations on best practices and professional consensus. CAEP is committed to building a stronger research base for preparation programs through its accreditation work. Better knowledge is needed on which input (e.g., candidate and program characteristics) and outcome measures predict high performance on the job. We can expect that new assessments will become available, measures of teacher impact on P-12 student learning will be refined, observation protocols will be applied to preservice, and so on.
As the knowledge base improves, CAEP standards and the evidence we can use to measure performance validly against those standards can be revised to reflect what truly matters in producing effective teachers who improve P-12 student learning. While this is a longer term goal, in the short run CAEP will employ a number of strategies to strengthen the use of evidence in accreditation decisions, informing both the Commission’s deliberations and those of the CAEP Board. Along with rigorous standards and evidence, the Commission will recommend transparent CAEP public accountability reporting with multiple measures, including ones directly linked to student achievement.
Invitation for Public Comment
Now it is the public’s turn to weigh in with feedback on the draft recommendations for the next generation of accreditation standards and performance measures for educator preparation. We invite all stakeholders and the general public to comment on this draft. The public feedback will be used to further strengthen the final Commission recommendations to the CAEP Board, to be completed in spring 2013. Information on how to respond to the draft is contained on the cover page.
James G. Cibulka