Complaint Review Policy

Complaints against NCATE-accredited EPPs or against NCATE

On behalf of NCATE, the Council for Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) Complaint Review Committee reviews all complaints regarding the policies, procedures and conduct of educator preparation programs (EPP) that are NCATE-accredited and accreditation-related complaints regarding NCATE itself. Other complaints against NCATE are reviewed by the CAEP Executive Committee. CAEP carefully reviews any allegations (1) that an accredited EPP has fallen out of compliance with accreditation standards or policies or (2) that NCATE has not followed its own policies. CAEP does not intervene in the internal procedures of EPPs, nor does it perform as a regulatory body or grievance-resolving body for an EPP. However, complaints by a third-party, which pertain to an EPP accredited by NCATE or to NCATE itself, shall be reviewed in accordance with the Operating Procedures. Complaints against CAEP shall follow the CAEP Policy VIII, Complaints against CAEP-accredited EPPs or against CAEP.

CAEP accepts only written complaints where the complainant is identified and his or her relationship to the EPP or NCATE is disclosed. The complaint must be sent to the CAEP President or Chair of the CAEP Board at the following address: CAEP, 2010 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, Suite 500, Washington, DC 20036.

If the complaint is about an NCATE-accredited EPP, the identity of the complainant will not be disclosed to the EPP. However, anonymity cannot be guaranteed during the investigation process. Written complaints against an EPP must include the following relevant information:

1.    A statement of facts and circumstances showing (a) noncompliance with NCATE’s policies or standards by an accredited EPP, or (b) actions by an accredited EPP that may jeopardize its accreditation.

2.    A reference to the particular NCATE policies or standards at issue in the complaint.

3.    A statement of the actions, if any, that the complainant and/or the EPP have taken to address the matters identified in the complaint.

4.    Documentation of the dates of the events which led to the complaint. CAEP will not investigate NCATE complaints based on events which began more than two years prior to the filing of a formal complaint.

Unless a complaint is against the CAEP President, he/she, or a designee, reviews it to determine whether it is related to the NCATE standards or policies. After the relevance of a complaint is established, it is forwarded to the Council’s Complaint Review Committee for investigation and a recommendation for further action by the Council. The complainant and the EPP or other relevant party (e.g., staff member) are notified of the action taken at each step of this process as identified in the Operating Procedures.

Procedures related to complaints against NCATE-accredited EPPs or against NCATE

¤ A Complaint Review Committee is appointed by the Accreditation Council (hereinafter referred to as Council) to review and investigate complaints against an educator preparation provider (EPP) or against NCATE itself.

◊ An individual, group, or entity files a complaint related to an accredited EPP’s noncompliance with CAEPs policies, procedures, or standards.

� When a communication, in whatever form, appears to be a complaint but is not submitted as a formal complaint, CAEP accreditation staff acknowledges receipt within 10 days of the communication and directs the author to follow NCATE’s complaint policy and procedures, if that is the intent of the communication. If a formal complaint is not the intention of the author, CAEP accreditation staff reviews the correspondence and determines an appropriate course of action, including but not limited to: forwarding it to a supervisor; having informal dialogue with an EPP, staff member, or site visitor; or determining no further action is required.

PROCESSING A COMPLAINT AGAINST AN EPP

� Upon receipt of the letter of complaint against an EPP, CAEP’s President, or designee, reviews the letter of complaint to determine whether or not the alleged noncompliance is related to NCATE’s policies, procedures, or standards. If a complaint is established as meeting one of these criteria, the CAEP President, or a designee:

(1)  Notifies the complainant of the President’s decision to proceed with the complaint review process,

(2)  Schedules a meeting of the Complaint Review Committee to review the case and proposes any action to be taken by the Council, and

(3) Notifies the IT staff that a complaint against an EPP has been received and that a tracking system needs to be initiated to follow the progress of the complaint.

    � If the CAEP President, or a designee, determines that the complaint does not address the (a) noncompliance of an accredited EPP with policies, procedures, and standards or (b) actions by an accredited EPP that may be jeopardizing its accreditation status, the complaint is dismissed. The CAEP President, or a designee, notifies the complainant of the President’s decision to dismiss the complaint.

Investigation of a Complaint against an EPP

� If the CAEP President, or a designee, decides to proceed with the complaint review process, CAEP accreditation staff contacts the EPP for a response to the complaint; the EPP has 30 days to respond to the complaint. Based on the EPP’s response to the complaint and materials or information provided, accreditation staff may seek additional information or a reply from the complaining party.

¤ The Complaint Review Committee meets electronically or in person prior to the next Council meeting. At least 14 days prior to the meeting of the committee the CAEP President, or a designee, provides committee members with:

(1)  The letter of complaint and its supporting materials, if any,

(2)  Supplemental materials related to  the complaint, if any, and

(3) A copy of the complaint review policy and related procedures.

   ¤ The Complaint Review Committee may request additional information from the complainant or the EPP if necessary. If the Committee decides that a site visit is warranted, it provides a written directive that identifies the matters in need of investigation, requests CAEP staff to assign a site visit team to undertake the investigation, and provides guidance for the actions of the site visit team. Based on the information collected and/or the report from the site visit team, the committee makes a final recommendation regarding the complaint.

   ¤ If the Complaint Review Committee finds the complaint to be valid, the materials from the investigation of the case with supporting documentation are forwarded to the appropriate Commission for action. If the Complaint Review Committee finds the complaint to be invalid, the case is dismissed.

   ¤ CAEP’s President, or a designee, notifies both the complainant and the EPP of the Complaint Review Committee’s decision.

    � When the complaint is found to be valid, CAEP accreditation staff retains the complaint and related information as part of the EPP’s accreditation file. When the complaint is dismissed as lacking merit, the complaint and related information is sealed and retained in the records of the Complaint Review Committee.

    TIMELINE FOR PROCESSING A COMPLAINT

Day 1 A complaint is received by CAEP
� Within 10 days of receiving the complaint CAEP accreditation staff acknowledges receipt of the complaint, sends the complaint review policy and procedures, and requests the required information for a complaint if it was not submitted with the initial correspondence.
� Within 10 days of receiving the complaint with all required information CAEP’s President, a designee, or the co-chairs of the Council determines whether or not the complaint is related to NCATE policies, procedures, or standards. If deemed established, CAEP accreditation staff schedules a Complaint Review Committee meeting, forwards the complaint to the committee, and notifies the complainant, the EPP, or the appropriate CAEP employees, about the scheduled meeting of the committee.
◊ Within 30 days of receiving notice of a complaint The EPP submits a response to the complaint.
� At least 14 days before the meeting of the Complaint Review Committee CAEP’s President, a designee, or the Council co-chairs forwards the complaint and accompanying materials to members of the Complaint Review Committee.
¤ At the next meeting of the Complaint Review Committee The Complaint Review Committee determines that (a) the complaint is without merit or has been resolved, or (b) the complaint warrants further investigation such as a site visit. The chair of the committee notifies the EPP, CAEP Council, CAEP President, or CAEP staff of the committee’s decision as appropriate.
¤ By Day 365 If the matter is investigated through a site visit, the appropriate Commission and Council conclude their deliberations and take final action.

    � The Complaint Review Committee reserves the right to extend or otherwise alter the timetable should circumstances require it to do so. If the timetable is altered for any reason, the chair of the Complaint Review Committee informs all parties involved in the complaint.

Other Important Considerations

The institution and/or education unit that is the subject of the complaint must provide the Complaint Review Committee, the investigation team and the Accreditation Council access to all information that they deem pertinent to the complaint. An institution’s or unit’s failure to provide information deemed necessary by the Complaint Review Committee, the investigation team or the Accreditation Council, or an institution’s or unit’s failure to provide information required for accreditation, may be grounds for immediate revocation of accreditation or other adverse action affecting accreditation.

Complaints found to have validity shall become part of the institution’s accreditation file. Complaints dismissed as lacking merit shall not be part of the institution’s accreditation file.

Regardless of the presence or establishment of a complaint, NCATE always maintains the right to request that an institution be reevaluated whenever NCATE deems that there is good cause to warrant such reevaluation. NCATE also takes very seriously its complaint-review responsibilities where a complaint is lodged against NCATE. All NCATE-affiliated persons must provide the Complaint Review Committee access to all information that the Committee deems pertinent to the complaint. NCATE-affiliated persons failing to respond to or otherwise improperly resisting Committee requests may be subject to disciplinary action, including dismissal.

See also:

Complaint Review Committee


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