Before beginning preparation for the accreditation review, the unit should ascertain if it is located in a state that has a partnership with NCATE. To determine whether a particular state is a partner state, visit the NCATE State Partnership States page.
In partnership states, many elements of the NCATE accreditation process have been combined with the state program approval process in a formal arrangement between the state and NCATE. These agreements are described in the State/NCATE protocols that can be downloaded from NCATE’s website. The terms of state partnerships are periodically renewed and revised; therefore, the agreement between NCATE and the state may have changed since the last accreditation review.
The terms of the state partnership determine whether a unit is required to submit program reports as part of its accreditation review. In some states, institutions are not required to submit their programs for review of the national specialized professional associations (SPAs), although they always have the option of doing so. In other partnership states, NCATE’s program review process replaces the state’s review of some or all programs.
In many partnership states, NCATE conducts joint onsite visits with the state agency responsible for program approval. The nature of the joint visit differs from state to state and is dependent on the framework selected by the state. The State/NCATE protocol for the joint visit describes the nature of the joint visit, the size of the team, and other details related to the visit. A unit in a partnership state should study the protocol to determine when state requirements substitute for NCATE requirements and other details related to the planning and conduct of a joint visit.
In some cases, the state agency appoints a state team that reviews education programs using state standards. Where possible, the NCATE and state teams interact and share interviews and findings, but the two teams operate and make decisions independently. A few states have tripartite agreements with NCATE that include the state agency and the Board of Regents or the state agency responsible for higher education. These details are outlined in the State/NCATE protocols.
Regardless of the type of partnership, all institutions in partnership states should negotiate visiting dates with the appropriate state agency before submitting the Date Preference Email to NCATE. NCATE will normally accept the visit dates on which the institution and state agency have agreed. The dates should be submitted to NCATE at least 18 months before the visit. For institutions seeking their first accreditation, dates are considered finalized after the institution has attained candidacy status.
An institution should arrange a previsit visit or conference call about two months before the visit with the chair of the BOE team, the chair or co-chair of the state team, and the state consultants from the appropriate state agencies. The previsit provides another opportunity for the involved parties to determine how the state and NCATE teams will work together. At the previsit, the BOE and state team chairs should also clarify roles that may be undertaken (e.g., helping to collect evidence, writing the report) by the different parties participating in the visit, including NEA and AFT consultants and observers. Scheduling of interviews, offsite visits, and other details can be clarified at this time.