Assessing the Challenges of Accreditation and Effectiveness of Teacher Education Programs

Accrediting Teacher Education Programs can be challenging. This is why Lynnette Erickson and Nancy Wentworth decided to write their latest book, “Tensions in Teacher Preparation: Accountability, Assessment, and Accreditation.” Exploring the different viewpoints of faculty members in teacher education programs, the book relates different experiences in completing the accreditation process.

“We contacted 15 public, private, religious, secular, large, and small universities in order to obtain the data,” Wentworth said. “The results were almost all the same, each expressing frustrations with the process, but also expressing the positive impact accreditation programs have had on their institutions. They are making programs more effective.”

Each chapter contains personal or institutional narratives that describe completing the accreditation process. The book discusses these outcomes in an effort to help educators learn from one another and to help faculty and institutions have a better understanding of the differences between former and current accreditation processes and how they have impacted institutions.

“This book is not a look back at the history of accreditation, but at how accreditation has impacted several teacher education programs,” Wentworth said. “We hope faculty going through the accreditation process can learn from the experience of others.”

Accreditation programs used to measure success as an educator by what was taught. However, the new accreditation process evaluates educators on what their students can do after they leave the classroom. Collecting, organizing and analyzing the data create a very time-consuming process.

"This book is not a look back at the history of accreditation, but at how accreditation has impacted several teacher education programs. We hope faculty going through the accreditation process can learn from the experience of others."

“Many people are frustrated with the change in the accreditation process,” Erickson said. “We’ve heard about all of these frustrations. What we wanted to do was write about these tensions and their outcomes--both positive and negative. Accreditation can take away from professors’ research time and add personal costs but it can improve collaboration between faculty.”

Erickson explained that the positive outcomes their research produced include making it easier for educators to understand what students comprehend and also helping them make adjustments to programs based on the needs of public schools. The book highlights these aspects of the accreditation process and encourages faculty to observe whether they improve teacher preparation.

6 December 2010