In its seminal report, Preparing teachers: Building evidence for sound policy, the National Research Council (NRC) identifies three aspects of teacher preparation that are most likely to have the strongest effects on raising student achievement, based on existing research: content knowledge, clinical experience, and the quality of teacher candidates. The structure of the Commission is based on the National Research Council’s three areas of focus as well as other important functions of an accrediting body, including quality assurance, continuous improvement and public accountability and transparency. Four of the working groups, including Content and Pedagogical Knowledge, Clinical Practice and Partnerships, Quality and Selectivity of Candidates and Capacity, Quality & Continuous Improvement will develop standards and evidence using common principles for determining the sufficiency of evidence. The Accreditation, Public Accountability and Transparency working group will advise the Commission on best practices in public reporting within accreditation bodies and how those practices can be adapted for CAEP purposes.
Content and Pedagogical Knowledge – Building upon NRC’s findings about content knowledge, this working group will focus on developing standards and evidence about content and pedagogical knowledge. Content knowledge could take into account knowledge of content standards, knowledge of major concepts, assumptions, debates, processes of inquiry and ways of knowing that are central to the discipline that candidates are preparing to teach. Pedagogical knowledge could include engaging students in higher-order thinking, knowledge of common errors in student reasoning, monitoring student progress, using assessment to engage learners in growth and to guide teacher’s decision-making, creating effective learning environments, implementing instructional strategies, learning progressions, child development, family engagement, the role of culture and language, and use of digital media and technology to promote learning, etc.
Clinical Practice and Partnerships – Building upon NRC’s findings about clinical practice, this working group will focus on developing standards and evidence around clinical practice and partnerships. Clinical practice and partnerships could include integration of content and pedagogy knowledge into a robust continuum of clinical and laboratory experiences, staffing models to support clinical preparation, placement of candidates with qualified clinical educators and diverse settings, partnering with school districts and other stakeholders to meet needs through co-design and co-evaluation of preparation programs, how candidates performance in mastery of content/pedagogy is evaluated in clinical settings, self-reflection and evaluation to improve practice, and use of technology to enhance clinical experiences.
Quality/Selectivity of Candidates – Building upon NRC’s findings about quality of candidates, this working group will focus on developing standards and evidence around effective recruitment, selection, and entrance and exit qualifications of candidates.
Capacity, Quality & Continuous Improvement – Building upon current functions and best practice in accreditation, this working group will focus on developing standards and evidence around investment in human, physical, fiscal, and organizational structure and capacity for performance management systems, quality assurance, and continuous improvement. Continuous improvement could include program assessment, data-driven decision-making, leadership commitment, engagement of faculty and stakeholders in using assessment to drive improvements.
Accreditation, Public Accountability and Transparency – Building upon current functions and best practice in accreditation, this working group will advise the Commission on key concepts and best practices in accreditation and how they can be adapted to accreditation under CAEP. Following are areas of focus:
- Public Accountability – public reporting, performance metrics, quality assurance, etc.
- Review Cycle – supporting continuous contact and review between CAEP and accredited providers that will support continuous improvement such as focused visits/reporting, statistical monitoring, or continuous virtual monitoring.
- Levels of Accreditation – framing results of accreditation over a graduated continuum beginning with meeting threshold standards to fulfilling standards at a higher level “with distinction”