Standard 3: Candidate Quality, Recruitment, and Selectivity

The provider demonstrates that the quality of candidates is a continuing and purposeful part of its responsibility from recruitment, at admission, through the progression of courses and clinical experiences, and to decisions that completers are prepared to teach effectively and are recommended for certification. The provider demonstrates that development of candidate quality is the goal of educator preparation in all phases of the program. This process is ultimately determined by a program’s meeting of Standard 4.

Plan for Recruitment of Diverse Candidates who Meet Employment Needs

3.1    The provider presents plans and goals to recruit and support completion of high-quality candidates from a broad range of backgrounds and diverse populations to accomplish their mission. The admitted pool of candidates reflects the diversity of America’s P-12 students. The provider demonstrates efforts to know and address community, state, national, regional, or local needs for hard-to-staff schools and shortage fields, currently, STEM, English-language learning, and students with disabilities.

Admission Standards Indicate That Candidates Have High Academic Achievement And Ability

3.2    The provider sets admissions requirements, including CAEP minimum criteria or the state’s minimum criteria, whichever are higher, and gathers data to monitor applicants and the selected pool of candidates. The provider ensures that the average grade point average of its accepted cohort of candidates meets or exceeds the CAEP minimum of 3.0, and the group average performance on nationally normed ability/achievement assessments such as ACT, SAT, or GRE:

  • is in the top 50 percent from 2016-2017;
  • is in  the top 40 percent of the distribution from 2018-2019; and
  • is in the top 33 percent of the distribution by 2020.[i]

If any state can meet the CAEP standards, as specified above, by demonstrating a correspondence in scores between the state-normed assessments and nationally normed ability/achievement assessments, then educator preparation providers from that state will be able to utilize their state assessments until 2020. CAEP will work with states through this transition.

Over time, a program may develop a reliable, valid model that uses admissions criteria other than those stated in this standard. In this case, the admitted cohort group mean on these criteria must meet or exceed the standard that has been shown to positively correlate with measures of P-12 student learning and development.

The provider demonstrates that the standard for high academic achievement and ability is met through multiple evaluations and sources of evidence. The provider reports the mean and standard deviation for the group.

[Board amendment adopted February 13, 2015] CAEP will work with states and providers through this transition regarding nationally or state normed assessments. Alternative arrangements for meeting this standard (beyond the alternative stated above for “a reliable, valid model that uses admissions criteria other than those stated in this standard”) will be approved only under special circumstances. The CAEP staff will report to the Board and the public annually on actions taken under this provision. In all cases, EPPs must demonstrate the quality of the admitted candidates.

Additional Selectivity Factors

3.3 Educator preparation providers establish and monitor attributes and dispositions beyond academic ability that candidates must demonstrate at admissions and during the program. The provider selects criteria, describes the measures used and evidence of the reliability and validity of those measures, and reports data that show how the academic and non-academic factors predict candidate performance in the program and effective teaching.

Selectivity During Preparation

3.4    The provider creates criteria for program progression and monitors candidates’ advancement from admissions through completion. All candidates demonstrate the ability to teach to college- and career-ready standards. Providers present multiple forms of evidence to indicate candidates’ developing content knowledge, pedagogical content knowledge, pedagogical skills, and the integration of technology in all of these domains.[ii]

Selection At Completion

3.5    Before the provider recommends any completing candidate for licensure or certification, it documents that the candidate has reached a high standard for content knowledge in the fields where certification is sought and can teach effectively with positive impacts on P-12 student learning and development.

3.6          Before the provider recommends any completing candidate for licensure or certification, it documents that the candidate understands the expectations of the profession, including codes of ethics, professional standards of practice, and relevant laws and policies. CAEP monitors the development of measures that assess candidates’ success and revises standards in light of new results.


Cohort: A group of candidates admitted at the same time, e.g., a class entering in a fall semester.

Group average: The GPA and standardized test scores are averaged for all members of a cohort or class of admitted candidates. Averaging does not require that every candidate meet the specified score. Thus, there may be a range of candidates’ grades and scores on standardized tests.

STEM: Science, technology, engineering and mathematics

[i] Koehler, M. J., & Mishra, P. (2009). What is technological pedagogical content knowledge? Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education, 9(1), 60-70.

[ii] National Center for Education Statistics [NCES]. (2011). American’s high school graduates: Results of the 2009 NAEP high school transcript study. NCES 20111462. Washington, D.C.: U. S. Department of Education. Retrieved from The study shows high school grade point averages as 3.0 for “overall,” 2.79 for “core academic” subjects, and 3.14 for “other academic” subjects. SAT “top third” performance is about 1120, and ACT is about 22.8 for English and 23.0 for math. GRE top third on the new scale is about 154.6 for verbal and 154 for quantitative. The minimum criteria may change as standards for admission to teacher education programs become more competitive; the criteria should reflect high standards used by states and recommended by research.

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