Last week, the AACTE Clinical Practice Commission met with members of the former CAEP State Alliance for Clinical Preparation and Partnerships for a summit that began merging the outcomes from the alliance’s work into the ongoing efforts of the commission. Summit participants from the alliance were invited to join the commission, which is now in Round 2 of its quest to better define clinical practice and related best practices for the field.
The synergy in the room when these two groups got together was palpable. They began as if they had been working together forever. Each group has been studying clinical practice with an eye to advancing the recommendations of the 2010 NCATE Blue Ribbon Panel report, but tackling the work from different angles. The alliance’s findings, produced by state-based teams through work cycles grounded in improvement science, provide a valuable complement to the commission’s national effort. (CAEP, the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation, allowed the alliance to sunset this spring.)
Carol Smith, 1949–2016
Carol E. Smith, longtime AACTE staffer who deftly guided the Association through the early standards movement and years of accreditation reforms, died June 6 in Falls Church, Virginia. She was 66.
A native of Johnson City, Tennessee, Smith gave 23 years of devoted service to AACTE. After an early career in the banking and legal fields, she joined the AACTE staff as an administrative assistant in 1985 and worked up to senior leadership as vice president for professional issues before leaving in 2008.
Her portfolio of responsibilities was vast, including orchestrating the Association’s liaison with the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education, contributing to the design of the Interstate New Teacher Assessment and Support Consortium, and convening the Task Force on Teacher Education as a Moral Community, among others.
The National Policy Board for Education Administration (NPBEA) seeks comment by May 22 on new draft standards for leadership preparation programs. Once approved, these preparation standards will replace the Educational Leadership Constituent Council (ELCC) standards and be used to guide the educational leadership program design, accreditation review, and state approval of preparation programs for principals and superintendents.
The proposed National Educational Leadership Preparation (NELP) Standards specify what novice leaders should know and be able to do, at the building and district level, after completing a high-quality educational leadership preparation program. The new draft aligns the standards for preparation programs with the Professional Standards for Educational Leaders (PSEL) approved by NPBEA last fall. Formerly known as the Interstate School Leaders Licensure Consortium (ISLLC) standards, the PSEL standards articulate the knowledge and skills expected of school leaders broadly.
It’s axiomatic that experts in a field are better equipped than outsiders to design interventions that will work. Yet in education, we face a constant barrage of external reform efforts that fail to incorporate professional knowledge and expertise—and they just don’t work.
This point is reinforced in recent research out of the National Education Policy Center. In this study, Marilyn Cochran-Smith and her colleagues at Boston College (MA) examine the evidentiary base underlying four national initiatives for teacher preparation program accountability and improvement. They find that only one of the initiatives—the beginning-teacher performance assessment edTPA, designed and managed by the profession—is founded on claims supported by research. With a measure that is valid, scoring that is reliable, and therefore results that are accurate, we have a serious tool for program improvement.
A new policy brief out of the National Education Policy Center (NEPC) reviews the evidentiary base underlying four national initiatives for teacher preparation program accountability and finds that only one of them—the beginning-teacher performance assessment edTPA—is founded on claims supported by research. The other three mechanisms included in the study are the state and institutional reporting requirements under the Higher Education Act (HEA), the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) standards and system, and the National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ) Teacher Prep Review.
Holding Teacher Preparation Accountable: A Review of Claims and Evidence, conducted by Marilyn Cochran-Smith and colleagues at Boston College (MA), investigated two primary questions: What claims does each initiative make about how it contributes to the preparation of high-quality teachers? And is there evidence that supports these claims? In addition, researchers looked at the initiatives’ potential to meet their shared goal of reducing educational inequity.
Last week, the AACTE Board of Directors subcommittee formed to engage with the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) reported back to the Board on its two primary charges. First, we shared results from our survey of AACTE members, and second, we offered guidelines and operating principles for the person selected to be the AACTE representative to the CAEP board.
Chris Koch, current president of CAEP, was in attendance at the meeting and listened to the survey results. He expressed appreciation for the engagement of the AACTE membership and said he planned to share the findings with the CAEP staff. He noted that a collaborative, mutually beneficial outcome is his goal for the information that was shared. His recognition of the efforts of the AACTE membership has set a tone for partnership as our organizations move forward.
The AACTE Board of Directors subcommittee formed to engage in conversation with the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) has concluded surveying AACTE members regarding their perspectives related to CAEP, standards, and accreditation in general. Thanks to all who responded to our survey!
The survey, which invited feedback last fall, received responses from 176 respondents in 46 states. Members of the subcommittee met with AACTE President/CEO Sharon Robinson on January 21 to begin an initial review of the responses. This month, we will finalize our review of the data and present our findings and recommendations to the AACTE Board of Directors, which commissioned the work last spring. At this point, we can report that the standards that garnered the most desire for continued dialogue and attention were Standards 3 and 4. Following the February Board meeting, we will share more specific themes from the survey.
Continuous Improvement Cycle — Ministry of the Environment, Tokyo
From OPS #2: Using Data for Improvement
One of the special features of AACTE’s Online Professional Seminars (OPSs) is their attention to assessment internationally. Looking to other countries for examples of assessment processes helps us to appreciate commonalities and, as this diagram accomplishes, reminds us of the power of graphics—even if we don’t understand the text.
As you will learn in the introductory OPS short courses, assessment systems are often depicted as a circle of connected steps. The accreditation world brought “close the loop” to our diagramming to illustrate the conclusion of an assessment cycle and launch of the next one. A spiraling curve communicates the most powerful aspect of assessment: continuous improvement.
AACTE’s Quality Support Initiative offers two free introductory courses, OPS #1: Building Quality Assessments and OPS #2: Using Data for Improvement. Like all of AACTE’s online seminars, these feature mobile-friendly content and asynchronous discussions that can be accessed anytime during their 4-week span. They have no prerequisites, can be taken out of sequence, and are open to everyone.
The Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) seeks reviewers and other volunteers for various roles in the agency’s work. Applications are open through March 18.
It is important for teacher educators to be represented in the CAEP Volunteer Corps, and this can be achieved if you volunteer! Please note that the call for service seeks a diverse population of educators, not only faculty from programs holding CAEP accreditation.
Volunteers are needed for the following roles (note that governance committee volunteers will not be solicited until next year):
Real sign from the UK, highlighting the absence of Type O blood in the nation’s blood banks.
From OPS #3 Creating a Quality Assurance System
The “missing O” campaign in the United Kingdom embedded a crucial message in the community to bring attention to the dwindling supply of Type O blood in the nation’s blood banks. From graphics and encoded messaging like this city sign for Downing Street, citizens learned of a need in novel ways.
An entire environment can serve as the billboard for information that can drive change. That type of systemic thinking is behind AACTE’s Online Professional Seminar (OPS) #3: Creating a Quality Assurance System.
As Mark Lacelle-Peterson advises, “Every EPP has a quality assurance system, but it is not necessarily recognized. The work of committees, of data reviewers, of stakeholders at all levels contributes to what is essentially the quality assurance provision.”