Four Institutions Are First To Clear NCATE's Review Process

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The agency that evaluates teacher training institutions has renewed accreditation for the first set of schools that were accredited under new, tougher standards five years ago.

The four institutions that agreed to pilot the continuing-accreditation process under the redesigned format were approved through fall 1998, the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education said last week. They were among the first to meet the standards that were put in place in 1988.

Since that time, about 75 percent of the 446 institutions reviewed have been fully accredited, and about 17 percent have been denied approval. The remainder of the schools, the council said, were accredited with stipulations, meaning the approval was tied to their improving certain deficiencies.

NCATE, which has about 500 member instititions that pay annual fees and pay for visiting review teams, is expected to update its standards this month as part of its commitment to five-year reviews.

Under the continuing-accreditation process, NCATE representatives make short site visits to a campus five years after a school's initial review, which generally requires more time and paperwork. The site visits for the latest round of accreditation were made last fall.

To be approved, the schools had to demonstrate that they had maintained the level of quality identified during the initial visit and had corrected any weaknesses that were identified.

"We do not relax our expectations that the college is adhering to our standards'' in this stage of the accreditation process, said Arthur E. Wise, the president of NCATE. "Rather, we're relaxing the degree of proof that needs to be provided.''

'Refocus and Revamp'

Although varying weights are given to the standards for accreditation, the council generally emphasizes curriculum design, faculty qualifications and assignments, governance, and resources.

Officials at Morehead State University in Kentucky, one of the institutions whose accreditation was continued, said they decided to go ahead with the review because they already planned to do a thorough self-examination to bring their programs into line with statewide education reforms.

"So much had changed since 1988, and we really needed to refocus and revamp what we were doing,'' said Sylvester Kohut Jr., the dean of the university's college of education and behavioral sciences.

Accreditation was also continued through fall 1998 for Bethany College in West Virginia, George Mason University in Virginia, and Wheaton College in Illinois.

In addition, 26 institutions were granted five-year initial accreditation. Five colleges and universities were approved with stipulations.

Five Turned Down

Five institutions were denied accreditation in this round--one for its basic level only.

As in other years, some institutions had difficulty meeting standards for the knowledge base--the content and design of curricula for general, specialty, and professional studies--as well as for the teaching workload and resources.

While the basic teacher training unit at Northwestern College in Iowa was approved, the college was denied accreditation for its advanced studies in education.

NCATE evaluates advanced and basic teacher education separately.

"We're only in the third year of the [advanced] program,'' said Ron Juffer, the chairman of the department of education at the college. "We really don't have the quality we should yet.''

Eastern New Mexico University did not meet the NCATE standards dealing with resources and faculty teaching load, but it will be reviewed again in 1996, said Julia Emslie, the dean of the college of education and technology.

Robert Sorge, the dean of the school of education at Northern State University in South Dakota, said the school was denied accreditation for not meeting some of the knowledge-based standards, but the university will be reviewed by the council again next year.

Officials from Silver Lake College in Wisconsin would not comment on the review, and officials at Greenville College in Illinois did not return telephone calls.

The institutions awarded initial accreditation through fall 1998 are:

Augsburg College (Minn.); Bradley University (Ill.); Dickinson State University (N.D.); Goshen College (Ind.); Hendrix College (Ark.); Huntington College (Ind.); Indiana University East; Kean College of New Jersey; Mankato State University (Minn.)--Advanced; Newberry College (S.C.); Northwestern College (Iowa)--Basic; Old Dominion University (Va.); Pittsburg State University (Kan.);

Samford University (Ala.); South Dakota State University; Spalding University (Ky.)--Basic; University of Central Arkansas; University of Cincinnati (Ohio); University of Houston (Tex.); University of Minnesota at Duluth; University of Missouri at St. Louis; University of Nebraska at Kearney; University of South Dakota; University of Wisconsin at Platteville; Viterbo College (Wis.); Wheelock College (Mass.)

The institutions accredited with stipulations are:

Bethany College (Kan.); Indiana University of Pennsylvania; Mankato State University (Minn.)--Basic; Rhode Island College; West Chester University (Pa.)

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