To the Editor:
I was pleased to read your article “Education Schools Use Performance Standards to Improve Graduates” (May 11, 2005). It is good to see that the hard work of teacher-preparation institutions professionally accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education is being recognized.
A point of possible confusion that warrants clarification, however, is your assertion that the difference between NCATE and the Teacher Education Accreditation Council is “fading away.”
While this may appear to be the case, there remain key differences between the two organizations, as is captured in the quote from Frank B. Murray: “You ought to have some evidence that your students can do what you said or what the standards say.”
The TEAC-accredited institutions provide evidence based on their own established goals (“what you said”), whereas NCATE institutions provide evidence based on national professional standards (“what the standards say”).
The TEAC approach discovers whether or not an institution has met its own goals, which is fine for an institution to undertake, but it should not be considered a review against national professional standards. This is a clear and substantial difference between NCATE accreditation and TEAC’s approach.
NCATE seeks to engage the teaching profession in building a consensus around the most current base of knowledge and practice in the field, and to determine whether the institutions reviewed meet standards based on that knowledge and practice.
Knowledge constantly evolves in every profession, and thus the standards tend to change over time. One of the duties of a profession is to continue building and refining the knowledge base, expecting accredited institutions to use it in their programs.
David W. Kinman
School of Education
Indiana University Bloomington