NCATE’s dual mission is accountability and improvement in education preparation. The NCATE accreditation process establishes rigorous standards for teacher education programs, holds accredited institutions accountable for meeting these standards, and encourages unaccredited schools to demonstrate the quality of their programs by working for and achieving professional accreditation.
In NCATE’s performance-based accreditation system, institutions must provide evidence of competent teacher candidate performance. NCATE accredited colleges of education are expected to ensure that teacher candidates know their subject and how to teach it effectively.
NCATE is a non-profit, non-governmental organization, founded in 1954. More than 30 national associations representing the education profession at large make up the council. The associations that comprise NCATE appoint representatives to NCATE’s policy boards, which develop NCATE standards, policies, and procedures. Membership on policy boards includes representatives from organizations of teacher educators, teachers, state and local policymakers, and professional specialists in P-12 schools.
The U.S. Department of Education recognizes NCATE as a professional accrediting body for colleges and universities that prepare teachers and other professional personnel for work in elementary and secondary schools.
Over 2,000 professionals volunteer their time to make NCATE’s accrediting system work-policy board members, program reviewers, on-site team members, and others.
Currently, 656 institutions are accredited and nearly 70 others are candidates and precandidates for accreditation. The number of candidates for accreditation has almost tripled in the past five years, due to the growing demand for accountability from states and the public, and the number of accredited institutions has risen steadily.
More than 33 member organizations representing millions of Americans support and sustain NCATE. NCATE is the largest coalition of education and public organizations in the nation devoted to quality teaching, and one of the longest-standing national coalitions of stakeholders in the education community.
NCATE and the States
NCATE works with states to integrate national professional standards and state standards in order to upgrade the quality of teacher preparation in the United States. There are currently 50 state/NCATE partnerships in which the states and NCATE conduct joint or concurrent review, saving institutions and states time and money.
As of 2009, 25 states have adopted or adapted NCATE unit standards as the state unit standards. NCATE’s professional program standards have influenced teacher preparation in 48 states and the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. NCATE standards are increasingly the norm in teacher preparation.
NCATE revises its unit accreditation standards every 7 years to ensure that the standards reflect current research and state-of-the-art practice in the teaching profession.
What NCATE Accreditation Means for Job Seekers:
Teacher candidates who graduate from NCATE-accredited schools will be better prepared for initial licensing and advanced board certification. NCATE is working with the Interstate New Teachers Assessment and Support Consortium, and the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards to ensure that teacher education accreditation standards, model teacher licensing standards, and advanced teacher certification standards are compatible.
Some states have reciprocity agreements based on graduation from NCATE-accredited schools, so graduates of NCATE-accredited schools will generally find it easier to apply for licensure when they move out of state.
Our nation’s children are our most precious resource. They are the nation’s future. NCATE helps ensure highly qualified teachers for America’s children.
The most important factor in improving student achievement is teacher knowledge of the subject and the ability to teach it effectively.
NCATE is dedicated to improving student learning by improving the quality of teacher education. We do this by establishing high and rigorous standards for teacher education programs, holding accredited institutions accountable for meeting these standards, and by encouraging unaccredited schools to prove the quality of their programs by working for and achieving professional accreditation.
NCATE gathers and provides information to the public and the profession about the quality of teachers from accredited schools. Gathering and disseminating this information is part of the accountability function of NCATE.
Did You Know?
The public expects that colleges of education should be professionally accredited. A public opinion poll conducted by Penn and Schoen found that 82 percent of the public favors requiring teachers to graduate from nationally accredited professional schools.
NCATE accreditation makes a difference. NCATE operates as a lever of reform for schools of education. The three states that required NCATE accreditation for all schools of education during the 1980s-Arkansas, North Carolina, and West Virginia-all experienced greater than average increases in student achievement during the 1990s according to test scores in reading and math on the National Assessment of Educational Progress.
A study by the Educational Testing Service (ETS) shows that graduates of NCATE-accredited colleges of education pass ETS content examinations for teacher licensing at a higher rate than do graduates of unaccredited colleges. In fact, teacher candidates who attend NCATE colleges boost their chances of passing the examination by nearly 10 percent.
NCATE accreditation is challenging, but achievable. NCATE has received over 150 unsolicited testimonials from institutions that attest to the value of professional accreditation and write that it has stimulated them to improve their programs.
NCATE’s accredited colleges and universities are a diverse group, indicating that all types of institutions can and do meet professional accreditation expectations. More than 200 of NCATE’s 632 institutions are private, independent, liberal arts colleges.
NCATE is recognized by policymakers. The National Conference of State Legislatures issued a report that calls NCATE a cost-effective means to upgrade quality in schools of education. The National Commission on Teaching and America's Future recommends that all schools of education be professionally accredited by NCATE.