College of Education > News and Publications > News: Oct.-Dec. 2012 > College of Education Renews National Accreditation

College of Education Renews National Accreditation

Penn State’s College of Education recently completed a successful review by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE), one of the two national accrediting agencies for teacher education in the United States.

Penn State’s College of Education recently completed a successful review by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE). NCATE is one of the two national accrediting agencies for teacher education in the United States.

“We had an incredibly successful review, and I think that’s really something to be proud of,” says Jacqueline Edmondson, the associate dean for undergraduate and graduate studies. Not only did the College meet all six of the standards assessed by NCATE, but areas such as Field Experience and Clinical Practice were recognized as moving towards ‘Target’, a level of performance that goes above and beyond the standard.

The reviewers were especially impressed with the Professional Development School and features like the annual Teacher Inquiry Conference in which current student interns share the results of research they have completed during their senior year field experience in local classrooms. The conference gives students of the Professional Development School the opportunity to “engage in problems of practice and share the result of their research to a broader community.” Edmondson explains.

NCATE reviewers called the PDS and its conference a “model for other programs.”

Reviewers also noted the College‘s impressive faculty. “[Our faculty] are the people who are setting the standards for the whole field. They’re writing the textbooks that people are using across the country, and they’re doing the research that is informing the field in really critical ways,” says Edmondson.

The NCATE accreditation is remarkable, because it is not a requirement for teacher preparation programs in Pennsylvania. “We choose to do this because it demonstrates that we are meeting national standards,” Edmondson explains. “It helps Penn State be a part of the conversations around what counts in the certification of education professionals.”

Still, the College refuses to rest on its laurels. “There are always areas we want to change and improve,” says Edmondson. “Public schools are changing, communities are changing, the economy changes, everything changes. So there is always something to improve. We do a lot of work with assessment. We have different committees and groups looking at our data, and I think we do a really thoughtful job making changes based on the data that we collect.”

Teacher education programs in the College of Education have been accredited by NCATE since January 1, 1965.

-- by Chris Whitehead (January 2012)