Oct 31, 2019

This paper describes changes in the draft 2019 Handbook compared with the most recent CAEP handbooks for Advanced preparation (November 2017) and Initial preparation (May 2018).

The earlier handbooks shifted CAEP guidelines for accreditation review to a single core procedure, replacing the previous CAEP options for pathways. Like them, the 2019 Handbook groups standards by their central purpose, balancing EPP-wide purposes (Standards 5, A.5 and cross-cutting themes), candidates and preparation (Standards 1, 2,3 and A.1, A.2, A3), and results (Standards 4 and A.4). And also like the 2017 and 2018 handbooks, EPPs are encouraged to engage in ongoing data collection, data analysis and interpretation, and continuous improvement actions, and to treat the accreditation cycle as a time to take stock.  EPPs use the best evidence they can marshal to make their case for each standard. 

The 2019 Handbook combines guidelines for accreditation evidence from the 2017 and 2018 handbooks. It formats the sections relating to Initial or to Advanced side-by-side so that similarities and differences are readily apparent. Here is a summary of new features:

1.   Elimination of the “required” components label—This was a label that had been applied for the four components of Standard 4, the continuous improvement and annual reporting components of Standard 5, and the academic criteria in component 3.2. Board action in June 2018 meant that the seven components were not to be treated as if they were additional standards. Note that the 2016 Handbook used the descriptor “required” for each of the seven components, while the 2017 Handbook label was “evidence required for this component“ and that in the 2018 Handbook was “required component.” These have all been removed for 2019 and instead the Handbook evidence examples describe characteristics of evidence that EPPs could provide (see, e.g., Standards 4 and A.4, pp. 65-75) and the Evidence Review Guidelines (in Appendix C) provide examples of “sufficient” evidence (see, e.g., Standard 4 pp. 127-131, and A.4, pp. 131—134).

2.   Provision of more explicit guidance for the diversity cross-cutting theme—Following discussions at several CAEP Board meetings, the Board adopted an expanded definition for the diversity cross-cutting theme (in December 2017) and considered CAEP’s implementation steps for that new definition, which were based on advice from the Equity and Diversity Committee. These steps were included in the 2018 Initial Handbook and they are retained and written more explicitly in 2019:

  1. The text guides EPPs to respond to the diversity theme as explicitly identified in Standards 1, 2 and 3 for Initial Licensure, and A.2 and A.3 at the Advanced level. (See chart, pp. 29, 30)
  2. The handbook also describes aspects of the diversity theme to be addressed at the EPP-wide level and only once, not separately for Initial and Advanced. (See Part B, section v, pp. 20, 21 and pp. 28-30) The focus is on:
    • the EPP’s own analysis of its responsiveness to the diversity theme built into CAEP’s standards;
    • how the EPP has used the diversity it has to help ensure that candidates are prepared to teach in America’s diverse P-12 classrooms; and
    • what challenge goals the EPP has set for itself to move to a greater level of responsiveness to the diversity in America’s schools and to foster equity. (See key concepts, p. 28 and self-study prompts and reflection questions, p. 31.)

The CAEP guidelines acknowledge that each EPP has its own unique context for diversity so the challenges differ in both kind and degree, and appropriate EPP evidence will differ as well. 

3.       Creation of an additional evidence option for the writing criterion in component 3.2—The CAEP Board approved (December 2018) an alternative form of evidence for candidate writing proficiency that can be used instead of the 2021 50th percentile writing criterion. The option is not suggested as “equivalent to” the 50th percentile measures; it is a different approach. The alternative would encourage EPPs to use their own assessments of writing proficiency based on writing tasks similar to those required of practicing educators.  (See pp. 60, 61 explanation in evidence examples for Standards 3.2 and A.3.2; and Appendix F, p. 151 for complete description.) This option first appears in the 2019 Handbook.

4.       Encourage rigorous program review and application of any program review evidence and feedback, where relevant, to Standard 1 evidence—EPPs may participate in SPA review with national recognition procedures for specialties where it is available and, of course, respond to their state’s requirements for program reviews. CAEP encourages EPP participation in rigorous review procedures for programs, either through external reviews like that of SPAs and their state, or through an internal procedure they might undertake themselves. These reviews can provide valuable information about the progress of candidates’ preparation experiences as well as candidate knowledge and professional skills. They can also provide a head start for an EPP’s accreditation self-study report when the reviews require specific evidence similar to that needed to build the case for Standards 1 or A.1.

  1. SPA review continues to be available as an option in which EPPs volunteer to participate, or participate as a state requirement, and for which they may earn national recognition from the appropriate SPA. Any data gathered from the SPA review process can be used by EPPs as partial evidence for CAEP Standards 1 or A.1 when they prepare their accreditation self-study.
  2. State reviews of individual preparation programs differ from state to state. EPPs located in states with strong substantive review of preparation programs may make use of evidence similar to that needed to make a case for Standards 1 and A.1. EPPs selecting the state review option will provide evidence for discipline-specific candidate proficiencies based on evidence they submitted for state standards in each licensure area and the programmatic improvements that the EPP made based on the data they collected for state review.
  3. Under CAEP Evidence Review of Standards 1 and A.1, EPPs may ensure that candidates have opportunities to learn and apply discipline-specific content and pedagogical knowledge in the area for which they are seeking a P-12 license, certificate, or endorsement. They develop outcomes assessments based on existing specialty area standards in the field and report trend data collected from their internal review process, then provide the evidence as part of their self-study report for Standard 1 or A.1. This option may be applicable for programs without a SPA, such as elementary education or secondary science education, and in a case where an EPP chooses not to conduct a SPA review. There will not be a separate, pre-self-study review process, and no national recognition by a SPA.  

The Handbook guidelines describe evidence for Standard 1 that is disaggregated for each preparation program and each of the four InTASC categories: learners and learning, content knowledge, instructional practice, and professional responsibilities. SPA recognition decisions or state program approval actions are not, in themselves, evidence that Standards 1 and A.1 are met. Through evidence disaggregated by preparation program, the EPP separately demonstrates its case for those standards. EPPs are encouraged to use any evidence they have provided for program reviews and any feedback received from those reviews. (See additional implementation features on program review and Standard 1, pp. 18, 19; examples of evidence for discipline-specific candidate attainment, pp. 37-43; and descriptions of sufficient evidence for Initial, pp. 95, 96 and for Advanced, p. 114.)

5.   Evidence Review Guidelines (Appendix C) have been created as an evaluation framework—CAEP standards require that site visitors and, finally, the Accreditation Council, make decisions about whether or not the evidence they examine is sufficient. Most of those decisions are based on collective professional judgments.

For the 2019 Handbook, CAEP has heard many comments and consulted with site visitors and the leadership of the Accreditation Council. The result, in Appendix C, will provide important information for EPPs about the basis for evaluation of their evidence, but the Appendix is explicitly written with the evaluation teams and Accreditation Council in mind as the direct users.

Appendix C describes examples of the characteristics and sources of evidence that are “sufficient” or “below sufficient.” It is intended to build a shared understanding by site visitors and Council members, making their professional judgments consistent across the wide variety of evidence they are called upon to evaluate for accreditation.