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NCTQ Promotes Inspectorate Model as Alternative to Program Accreditation

Last summer in its 2013 Teacher Prep Review, the National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ) set forth recommendations for state and local policy makers who want to see the ratings increase for educator preparation programs in their jurisdictions. One of these recommendations was to “revamp current inspections of teacher preparation programs, performed as a condition of program approval.” Positing that neither state program approval site visits nor national accreditor site visits have proven to be meaningful, NCTQ recommended that states employ independent inspectors, along the lines of the British inspectorate model for preparation programs, to conduct program evaluation site visits and program evaluations.

Recent comments from NCTQ representatives indicate that they are involved in a pilot project that will employ consultants to perform independent program inspections. The first round of the pilot inspectorate model began this fall with inspections planned at four institutions in New Mexico and Texas. Each institution will host a team of six PK-12 professionals for 4 days to assess the “the quality of training it provides” to candidates. Inspectors will look at selectivity, content knowledge, and clinical practice. At the end of the 4 days, the inspectors will provide an oral summary of their findings and a brief written report assessing how well the program is producing effective teachers.

The Tribal Group, a United Kingdom-based company that performs inspections of educational institutions, is taking the lead on the pilot. Its representatives will be joined by an American lead inspector and three associate inspectors selected by the state education departments of each participating state.

The Teacher Preparation Inspectorate Handbook that will be used for these visits calls for “the lead inspector to prepare for the inspection by gaining a broad overview of the teacher preparation programs’ recent performance and how this may have changed since the last accreditation and/or state approval report and NCTQ review.”

New Mexico and Texas are not the only states where the inspectorate model has been proposed. A representative of StudentsFirst offered testimony to a legislative committee in Indiana last September on the topic of accountability for educator preparation programs. She advocated for Indiana to consider the NCTQ pilot, particularly because it is touted as less intrusive and less expensive than professional accreditation.

AACTE has also learned that NCTQ has requested to conduct on-site visits at institutions as it develops its standards around the Common Core, specifically in the area of English/language arts. Of course, as the many documents, articles, and other resources on AACTE’s web site show, many teacher educators have attempted to engage with NCTQ in the past and found the process to be futile.

AACTE will keep you updated as it learns more about the inspectorate pilot project and further developments related to NCTQ’s 2014 Review of Teacher Preparation Programs. If you have questions or want to share any related information with AACTE, please contact me at spinsky@aacte.org.

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Sarah Pinsky

Manager for State and Federal Policy, AACTE