Guidelines on Programs to be Submitted

Unless the terms of the state partnership dictate otherwise, the accreditation process requires preparation of program reports for all professional education programs for which NCATE has approved program standards. As of 2007, NCATE had program standards in the following 21 areas: 

  • Computer education

  • Early childhood education

  • Education technology specialist

  • Elementary education

  • English/language arts education

  • Environmental education

  • Foreign language education

  • Gifted education

  • Health education

  • Mathematics education

  • Middle level education

  • Physical Education

  • Reading specialists and supervisors

  • School administrators

  • School library media specialists

  • School psychologists

  • Science education

  • Social studies education

  • Special education

  • Teaching English to speakers of other languages

  • Technology education

Special Cases

The following applies to programs that may have difficulty providing appropriate data for the program review.

  • Dormant Programs: If no candidates are in the pipeline and no one has graduated from the program in the past three years, a program report is not required. When the dormant program is reactivated by admitting candidates, a program report may be voluntarily submitted at that time.

  • Reactivated Programs: If a dormant program is reactivated by admitting candidates, the program may voluntarily submit a program report at that point. However, the unit must submit a program report for a reactivated program as part of its scheduled program review cycle whether or not candidates have graduated from the program.

  • New Programs: A unit can voluntarily submit a program report for a new program anytime between on-site visits if the program has been approved by the state. It must submit a program report for the new program as part of its scheduled program review cycle whether or not candidates have graduated from the program.

  • Redesigned Programs: If a program is undergoing a major program redesign, it may request a delay of its submission of the program report. The delay request must be submitted to NCATE with a detailed explanation of the redesign and its timeline. A delay will be granted if the redesign requires major changes in the program and if the appropriate state agency agrees to the delay.

  • Small Programs: As we transition to becoming CAEP, NCATE will accept requests for deferral of program review for low-enrollment programs, defined as programs with ≤ 5 completers in the last three years (in total). It is anticipated that the new CAEP option, Program Review with Feedback, may meet the needs of program review for low-enrollment programs in the future. If you have further questions, please contact Monique Lynch (

Programs Accredited by Other Accrediting Organizations

NCATE recognizes the following specialized accrediting organizations and, therefore, does not review programs in these areas:

  • American Assembly of Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB)

  • American Association of Family and Consumer Sciences (AACS)

  • American Library Association ( ALA)

  • American Psychological Association (APA)

  • American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA)

  • Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP)

  • National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD)

  • National Association of Schools of Dance (NASD)

  • National Association of Schools of Music (NASM)

  • National Association of Schools of Theatre (NAST)

Programs accredited by one of these organizations are not required to be submitted to NCATE for program review.

Other Cases

  • Initial Licensure/Post Baccalaureate Programs: Many secondary post-baccalaureate programs have been developed for candidates who enter the program already having been prepared in the content area; typically candidates enter the program with an undergraduate major in the field. Many of these are MAT programs although in a few institutions these are called MEd programs. Most post-baccalaureate and alternate pathways programs are also designed to prepare candidates who come into the program with appropriate content area preparation. For the purpose of this discussion, these will all be called “Initial Licensure/Post Baccalaureate (IL/PB)” programs. NCATE recently approved a new process for approving these kinds of program, but only those in the secondary content areas: English, math, science, social studies and foreign language. This new process does not include programs in special education, elementary education or other areas. IL/PD programs will be able to combine programs into one secondary education program and submit one report. This report will address a generic set of standards but will include two discipline specific components: an evaluation of discipline-specific content knowledge components (through a transcript analysis) and an evaluation of discipline specific content pedagogy components (in the pedagogical assessments). For full information about this new process, see the document on the NCATE web site on the Program Review Resources page, or contact Monique Lynch(

  • Middle Level Programs: Middle level programs that prepare candidates in two or more content areas and that meet the AMLE criteria for middle-level programs willsubmit program reports to NCATE/AMLE.  AMLE reviewers will evaluate the submission and make a decision on whether or not the program will be nationally recognized by AMLE.  In addition, AMLE reviewers will ensure that the 80% of completers pass the appropriate content test(s).  National recognition of this program AMLE will also be dependent upon the unit having nationally recognized programs in each of the appropriate content areas at the secondary level.  NCATE staff will verify the status of the secondary content program areas.  Middle level programs could be recognized with conditions by AMLE if secondary content area programs are still in process.  For those few middle level programs that do not have secondary preparation programs 80% of the candidates will still be required to pass the state test in the content area and the state must ensure the adequacy of the content preparation.

  • Advanced Teaching Programs: NCATE no longer requires programs to submit for SPA review, programs for the advanced preparation of teachers in the same discipline in which they were previously trained (currently NCATE only has approved standards for these programs for NASM, NASPE and NAEYC). This guideline does not apply to programs that prepare other school personnel. Advanced teaching programs will continue to have the option to seek national recognition if they so choose. Note that these programs are still part of the unit and must provide all necessary documentation for standard 1, etc. 

Report Submission Process

The program report will be submitted completely on-line. Assessments for Section IV as well as certain other documents must be prepared in a standardized word processing format (Word, Word Perfect, PDF or Excel) and submitted as attachments. The compiler will be able to save the program report as a draft and return to the web-based form later to complete. Once files are attached they cannot be edited. When the report has been completed, the compiler (unless the institution has designated another person) will mark it as finished and submit it for review.

The Unit Head and NCATE Coordinator at the institution will receive an email with the appropriate URL and access information. He or she can provide that information to individual compilers.  Once a compiler has received the user id and password, they can access the report by pointing their Internet browser to the designated URL.  A log-in screen will appear. When a compiler has successfully logged in to AIMS and then goes to PRS, he or she will see a list of the all the programs to be submitted by the unit.

Specific instructions for creating and inputting the different sections of the report are available on this web page, in a document titled “How to Prepare Program Reports for Submission in [submission date].”

Report Review Process

Each program report will be assigned to a team of two to three reviewers who have been trained in the standards by their specialized professional association (SPA), and who have been screened for conflicts of interest with the reporting institution. All reviews will be completed and all recognition reports will be submitted on-line. A lead reviewer will compile a team report, including a recognition decision representing the consensus of the team. The reports are reviewed by an audit committee of the professional association, which determines national recognition.

Program reports will be evaluated on how well assessments and data derived from assessments provide evidence that candidates meet the SPA standards. National recognition decisions, therefore, will be based on the success of program candidates as measured on credible assessments (see section entitled “Guidelines on Assessment”).

For very small programs, data derived from assessments are not, by themselves, a reliable indicator of program quality. However, if candidates perform poorly on assessments, it will be important for the report compiler to reflect on why that poor performance occurred and how or whether the program should be changed as a consequence. Whether or not the program is large or small, candidates are still expected to meet program standards.

Character Limits

Character limits are specified for each of the narrative responses required in Sections I and V of the report, with each part of Section I having a 4000 character limit (including spaces), except for Section I, Question 2, which has an 8000 character limit. Sections II and III are charts, which the institution will fill out or check off and Section IV will have attachments for each of the 6-8 assessments. Section V has a character limit of 12000.


Only the items specified in Section I and IV of the report form may be attached to the report. Institutions will not be able to attach or submit any extraneous documentation with the report (e.g. handbooks, syllabi). Candidate work samples or artifacts will no longer be requested or accepted as part of the program review document but will be relevant in the on-site unit review. Documentation external to the institution (e.g. a report from the testing agency) will need to be scanned by the institution in order to be submitted as an attachment. There will be a limit of no more than 20 attachments total for each program report.


Charts and graphs cannot be input into the narrative fields or text boxes in the program report template. However, charts and graphs can be uploaded as attachments in two different places: within Section IV as part of your 6-8 key assessments or in Section I, Questions 6 and 7 that relate to any of the five questions.

Program of Study

A program of study that outlines the courses and experiences is required for candidates to complete the program. The program of study must include course titles. (This information may be provided as an attachment from the college catalog or as a student advisement sheet.)

Candidate Data Chart—Section I

Data is requested on the number of candidates enrolled and the number of program completers from the 3 previous academic years and can now be filled out in a chart as part of Section I. At some institutions candidates are considered “enrolled” in the program if they list the program as a major or are taking courses in the program. It is not until they are formally admitted into the program that they could be considered actively involved in the program. It is this last group that should be reported in NCATE program report.

Faculty Chart—Section I

The purpose of this chart is to provide reviewers the information they need to ensure that program faculty have appropriate expertise in the program discipline. The process for completing this chart has been greatly simplified. Now the faculty information for all programs can be entered into AIMS just one time. For each program report, the compiler only needs to click on the Import button, put a check mark next to the faculty names that should be included in that specific program report. The system will then automatically import that faculty information into the program report form. Do NOT submit faculty vitae. 

The only faculty listed here should be faculty responsible for professional coursework, clinical supervision and those who teach methods courses. Adjunct and part-time faculty should be listed only if they have taught or provided other services for the program during the most recent academic year. It is not necessary to provide the names of every faculty member who teaches any courses taken by candidates in the program. A faculty member might choose to list three scholarly publications as her major contributions. However, if all faculty list scholarship as their contribution, the program report preparer may want to ask some faculty to highlight leadership or service experiences instead, in order to demonstrate that overall program faculty are contributing in all three areas.