Preparing teachers and school leaders to teach and work with all students to meet society's demands for high performance has created new goals and higher standards for educators. Accreditation is one measure of quality assurance.
In May, 2020, the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. School of Education at St. John Fisher College received a full six-year accreditation from the Council for the Accreditation of Education Preparation (CAEP). Fisher is among just 21 colleges in New York State with CAEP accreditation.
Formerly the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE), CAEP is the sole nationally recognized accrediting body for educator preparation, and is recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education and the Council for Higher Education. Fisher’s accreditation process included a self-evaluation and peer review, as well as a site visit. CAEP was created by the consolidation of the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education and the Teacher Education Accreditation Council. It is a unified accreditation system intent on raising the performance of all institutions focused on educator preparation. This is the second time the School has received continuing accreditation since its initial NCATE recognition in 2006.
Educator preparation providers earning accreditation must pass peer review on five standards, which are based on two principles:
- Solid evidence that the provider’s graduates are competent and caring educators, and
- Solid evidence that the provider’s educator staff have the capacity to create a culture of evidence and use it to maintain and enhance the quality of the professional programs they offer.
As part of the CAEP accreditation process, each applicable initial or advanced teacher and leader preparation certification program offered within the School of Education submits reports to their Specialty Professional Association (SPA) for Program Review with National Recognition using specialized professional association standards.
Candidate Performance Data
CAEP-accredited schools must meet rigorous standards set by the profession and members of the public. CAEP Standards for initial and advanced programs guide the School of Education accreditation process. The CAEP standards are summarized as follows:
Teacher candidates must have in-depth knowledge of the subject matter that they plan to teach as well as the pedagogical skills necessary to convey that information so that students learn. School and school district leader candidates must possess the knowledge and skills necessary to lead stakeholders in developing and implementing a school and district vision of high achievement and college/career readiness for students. The college or university must carefully assess this knowledge and skill to determine that candidates may graduate.
The preparation program must have high-quality clinical partnerships and practice to develop the knowledge, skills and professional dispositions necessary to demonstrate a positive impact on all P-12 students’ learning and development.
The preparation program must develop candidate quality as a goal throughout all phases of the program (at recruitment, admission, through the progression of the program and at completion). Candidate recruitment should support a broad range of backgrounds and diverse populations to meet community needs. Candidates must meet criteria for high academic achievement and expectations of the profession at entry and throughout the program of study.
The preparation program must demonstrate the impact of its completers on P-12 student learning and development, teaching effectiveness, satisfaction of employers and satisfaction of completers.
The institution demonstrates that a quality assurance system to support continuous improvement is sustained and evidence-based and evaluates the effectiveness of its completers. The results of inquiry and data collection is used to establish priorities, enhance program elements and capacity, and test innovations to improve completers’ impact on P-12 student learning and development.