By Jessica Miranda
The 1st Annual Meeting and Quality Assurance Symposium for AAQEP brought together members of the field of educator preparation from across the country to learn more about AAQEP’s approach to accreditation. Throughout the day, attendees engaged in rich discussions about quality educator preparation and how innovation within our field can be supported and encouraged through the accreditation process. There was a sense of excitement and optimism as attendees learned about AAQEP’s framework that focuses on supporting program improvement within the diverse contexts in which we work and aims to move the process of accreditation towards being improvement focused rather than compliance driven.
Mark LaCelle-Peterson and Linda McKee provided a clear and thoughtful introduction to AAQEP’s mission, vision, and framework for accreditation. The agenda for the day included sessions that covered the principles that guided the development of AAQEP’s system, the standards and their categorization as fundamental expectations and contextual challenges/institutional context, and the process for accreditation. Attendees also had opportunities to learn about and discuss AAQEP’s process innovations including cohort grouping for increased collaboration and support across preparation providers, a strengths-based model for increased efficiency and reduced burden, and an option for staggered submissions of evidence by standard.
As a member of the Expectations Working Group, I was eager to learn from new colleagues about their programs and hear their feedback on AAQEP’s standards and process. The common thread throughout our conversations was appreciation for a fresh approach to accreditation: an approach that is improvement focused, innovation friendly, and flexible. AAQEP recognizes that preparation programs’ diverse institutional contexts and contextual challenges require a quality assurance process that is not “one size fits all.” Through the collaborative peer-review framework, educator preparation programs can focus on strengthening their program practices and the P20 education system.
The meeting concluded with an invitation to us all to be involved in the continued development of AAQEP. As our field continues in our commitment to student success and quality educator preparation, AAQEP is a promising new option for continuous improvement and national accreditation. For many in educator preparation, AAQEP offers a renewed sense of hope that we can participate in a self-study process that strengthens our programs, allows us to test innovations within our quality assurance system, and encourages dialogue about an accreditation process that our faculty will want to be a part of.
Jessica Miranda is the Director of Assessment, Accreditation, and Accountability for the University of Hawaii at Manoa, College of Education.
By Nancy F. Barrett
Accreditation has the potential to be a powerful, positive tool for education preparation programs. In addition to providing a “seal of approval” to potential students, parents and external stakeholders, programs can use evidence gathered during the accreditation process to improve existing programs, identify potential new initiatives as well as document outcome attainment. However, very often the accreditation process can be unwieldy and burdensome because of the seemingly endless set of requirements.
AAQEP’s proposed accreditation process seeks to avoid this pitfall by simplifying and streamlining the requirements. In its Expectations Framework document, AAQEP articulates four standards that clearly outline the elements important for quality teacher education programs. Two address candidate and completer preparation and the other two address program requirements.
To document achieving its accreditation standards, AAQEP indicates that programs will be able to define the measurement tools they will use. Collection methods would need to be robust using multiple direct and indirect measures to document candidate/completer teaching skills and dispositions as well as content and pedagogical knowledge. Whatever instruments or methods are used for data collection, programs need to document their validity and reliability. All of the guidelines set out by AAQEP are straightforward and reflect best practice in the field of program evaluation and student assessment.
Besides allowing programs the ability to determine their own measures to document outcome attainment, AAQEP indicates that there is the option of presenting evidence on one standard at a time during the accreditation cycle. This option has the advantage of giving faculty the time needed to address each standard in a systematic and thoughtful manner resulting in a better preparation program in the long run.
While AAQEP’s proposed accreditation system seems to allow programs a great deal of flexibility, their Data Audit Planning Framework seems to provide programs with guidance in selecting appropriate evidence. As with the standards themselves, their suggestions identify program based artifacts that most teacher preparation programs probably already collect to ensure program quality.
All in all, AAQEP’s proposed accreditation process seems to provide the structure for a streamlined, evidence-based assessment of teacher education programs. If it delivers on that promise, EPPs can use this framework to systematically and thoughtfully review their training programs, resulting in programs that strive always for excellence.
Dr. Nancy F. Barrett is the Coordinator of Assessment and Accreditation at the University of Illinois Springfield College of Education and Human Services.
By Roberta Ross-Fisher
In the most recent issue of the New England Journal of Higher Education, Mark LaCelle-Peterson introduces the educator preparation community to a new way of thinking about quality assurance and accreditation of programs. In the piece, LaCelle-Peterson challenges the notion that measuring the quality of an education program through a compliance lens really isn’t necessary—in fact, it can sometimes inhibit quality by forcing programs to demonstrate adherence to a rigid set of standards and criteria that may or may not be an appropriate fit for all programs given the diversity of missions, visions, populations served, and instructional delivery approaches. For example, what may be appropriate criteria for measuring the quality of a program that serves 18-22-year-old students on a residential suburban campus may be quite different from one that serves learners whose average age is 39 and who pursue their academic studies online within a competency-based educational model. Both prepare educators. Both are committed to quality. But when it comes to making judgments about those programs, one size just doesn’t seem to fit all—and what’s more, why should it? Why is it necessary to have a single set of standards and criteria that all programs must adhere to?
It seems to me that as a community of educators we figured out a long time ago that creating one lesson plan and teaching to students in the middle was simply not an effective approach—nor was it ethical, because that model failed to consider the needs of students who did not fit into a pre-determined mold. Today we encourage our teacher candidates to not only acknowledge the differences in students, but to embrace that diversity, and to celebrate it—because we know that a diverse group of learners contributes to a dynamic and robust community--one that thrives because of its diversity, not in spite of it.
Quality assurance measures through an appropriate accreditation model can be instrumental to preparation programs’ success through data-driven decision making, continuous program review, and collaboration within the community. Program leaders should not have to put their uniqueness on a shelf in pursuit of accreditation.
Dr. Roberta Ross-Fisher is a national leader in educator preparation, accreditation, online learning, and academic quality assurance. An accomplished presenter, writer, and educator, she currently supports higher education, P-12 schools, and educational agencies in areas such as competency-based education, teacher preparation, distance learning, leadership, outcomes-based performance, making data-driven decisions, and accreditation through her company, Global Educational Consulting, LLC. She also writes about various issues related to academic excellence through her blog site (www.robertarossfisher.com). Roberta can be reached through Twitter (@RRossFisher), LinkedIn (Roberta Ross-Fisher) and email at: firstname.lastname@example.org
"Innovation and accreditation: A natural pairing?" by Dr. Mark LaCelle-Peterson, president and CEO of the Association for Advancing Quality in Educator Preparation (AAQEP), was posted in the New England Journal of Higher Education. This article considers proposals to strengthen accreditation, and shows how AAQEP is building those ideas into its system for the accreditation of programs that have the important job of preparing the nation's teaching force. The article shares the association's beliefs and some of the approaches it's taking. For the full article, please click here.
Have you heard about AAQEP, the new accrediting body for educator preparation? Want to know more? Want to share this knowledge with your colleagues?
Join us for a 60-minute webinar outlining the AAQEP expectations and processes for quality
assurance as determined by a leading group of experienced educators.
Click the link below to register for your choice of date and time.
February 1, 2018: 10am EST (Thursday)
February 1 st AAQEP Information Meeting
February 5, 2018: 3pm EST (Monday)
February 5th AAQEP Information Meeting
February 9, 2018: 9am EST (Friday)
February 9 th AAQEP Information Meeting
Find out what AAQEP means to accreditation in educator preparation, the timeframe to implement the new process, and how you can become involved with the most exciting change in educator preparation in decades.
New York State Regents Begin Conversation on Options for Educator Preparation Program Accreditation.
At its discussion on 12/12/2017, the Higher Education Committee to the New York State Board of Regents voted to consider initiating a regulatory change at its January 2018 Board meeting. The Regents and Commissioner discussed the value of considering additional accreditation options for educator preparation programs in New York. The following record of the item and discussion are available on the NYSED website:
“Discussion of Whether Educator Preparation Programs Should be Considered Continuously Accredited If They Apply for Accreditation Through an Alternative Professional Association that is Seeking Recognition from the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) or the United States Department of Education (USDE)
Your Committee discussed a conceptual approach to consider educator preparation programs continuously accredited if they apply to an association that is applying to USDE or CHEA for national recognition within a certain time period. Your Committee approved this approach. Therefore, the Department will bring to the Board at its January 2018 meeting a proposed regulatory change to Section 52.21 of the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education to consider EPPs participating in an alternative accreditation process to be continuously accredited for program registration purposes. HE (D) 1”
AAQEP is encouraged by the discussion and looks forward to working closely with all entities involved in preparing educators in New York.
AAQEP is pleased to announce the convening of its Inaugural Annual Meeting and Quality Assurance Symposium in Baltimore, MD on February 28 2018.
The Symposium will provide participants with a thorough overview of AAQEP’s accreditation standards and processes. The morning will include presentation of foundational expectations. The afternoon sessions will provide hands-on engagement with ‘contextual’ standards. Participants will walk away with practices and plans that can be implemented to strengthen quality assurance system at an institution using the AAQEP framework.
Please register here. Space is limited.
We look forward to hearing from you and seeing you in Baltimore.
Working together for quality and innovation
Agenda at a glance
Session 1: Basics of AAQEP Accreditation
Session 2: Expectations and Evidence
This interactive session will be framed around AAQEP’s consensus standards for educator preparation. Participants will inventory and prioritize the evidence that best reflects their program’s quality, and that best supports innovation and improvement.
Session 3: Your Audience, Your Mission
Each institution serves a unique audience of prospective educators. AAQEP’s quality assurance expectations invite institutions to base their recruitment and admissions practices on their mission, location, and partners (i.e. there are no testing or pre-specified admissions requirements). In this session, you will work in consultation with colleagues to hone your approach to recruiting for mission and diversity, and for supporting candidates through completion as part of an overall quality assurance system.
Session 4: Partnership with Purpose
All preparation programs rely on partners in the P12 sector and beyond to ensure that their candidates are prepared and practiced professionals as they enter the educator workforce. AAQEP’s expectations invite programs to develop and document partnerships that support preparation and support partner schools and districts. In this session, you will work with colleagues to explore potential models of engagement and collaboration along with strategies for using evidence to strengthen and improve all aspects, in the spirit of John Goodlad’s notion of simultaneous renewal.
Blogger Roberta Ross-Fisher's thoughtful post supports the idea of multiple accreditors serving the field of educator preparation. She notes that AAQEP's approach "creates a space for freedom of choice and mission-specific program design while ensuring academic excellence."
Ross-Fisher lists three reasons why multiple accreditors benefit the field:
AAQEP recognizes the benefits specialized education Accreditors like the Montessori Accreditation Council for Teacher Education (USDE recognized) and the National Association for the Education of Young Children bring to our field as well.
Please click here to read Dr. Roberta Ross-Fisher's complete commentary on multiple accreditors for the field of educator preparation.
Please click here to read the Education Week article on AAQEP request for feedback on the Framework and it's analysis on the AAQEP Framework.
On behalf of the Association for Advancing Quality in Educator Preparation, I invite you to study and respond to AAQEP’s Accreditation Framework. Developed by teams of educators from across the country, the framework outlines AAQEP’s standards for candidate performance and program practice, accreditation process, and means of ensuring capacity for consistency in decisions.
You can access an explanation and presentation of the framework here, and the online feedback form here.
Feedback will be taken through the end of November; in December, all feedback will be used to create the final set of standards and processes which will be posted in January of 2018.
The teams are eager to get as much feedback as possible from colleagues in schools, colleges, and universities, from students and graduates of educator preparation programs, from policy makers, and from the public at large. Please provide us with your feedback, and pass these links along to your colleagues and stakeholders.
Thanks for your input!
All the best,
Mark LaCelle-Peterson, Ed.D.
Founding Team Member and President