Guidelines For Preparing An NCATE Program Report

General Directions

The following directions are designed to assist institutions as they complete the web-based program report. The following information provides a general overview of the report. More specific information for completing each section follows.

Cover Sheet - The Cover Sheet provides basic information about the program being submitted.

Section I. Context Information - provides the opportunity for institutions to present general information to help reviewers understand the program.  Question 1, has a a character limit of 4000 (including spaces) while Question 2 has a character limit of 8000. Institutions will need to upload a program of study as well as any charts or graphs relevant for the program report. Institutions will also complete the candidates enrolled and completers charts as well as complete the faculty information chart (this latter process has been greatly simplified).

Section II. Assessments and Related Data - provides the opportunity for institutions to list their 6 to 8 key assessments and briefly describe them. 

Section III. Standards Assessment Chart - provides the opportunity for institutions to indicate which of the assessments are being used to determine if candidates meet program standards.

Section IV. Evidence for Meeting Standards - provides the opportunity for institutions to discuss the assessments and assessment data in terms of standards and to submit 6-8 key assessments, scoring guides or criteria, and assessment data as evidence that standards are being met. There is an upload limit of 2 MB per each file.

Section V. Use of Assessment Results to Improve Candidate and Program Performance - provides the opportunity for institutions to indicate how faculty is using the data from assessments to improve candidate performance and the program, as it relates to content knowledge; pedagogical and professional knowledge, skills, and dispositions; and effects on student learning. This section has a character limit of 12000 (including spaces).

Character limits are specified for each of the narrative responses required in Sections I and V of the report. Section I, Question 1 has a character limit of 4000 and Question 2 has a limit of 8000.  For NCTE, CEC and NASP, programs will be required to respond to Question 3, which has a character limit of 4000.  Section V has a character limit of 12000.  Each attachment required in Sections I and IV of the report should be kept, if possible, to a maximum of five text pages. Although attachments longer than five pages will be accepted electronically, NCATE staff will require institutions to revise reports submitted with too many attachments.

NCATE has developed the following generic instructions for completing a program report. Many of the SPAs have also developed publications that provide information specific to their program area. It is strongly recommended that compilers go to their SPA’s web site to determine what guidance may be available.

Accessing the Report Template

The program report will be submitted completely on-line. A number of questions require attachments. Attachments must be prepared as Word, Word Perfect, Excel, or PDF documents.

The Unit Head and NCATE Coordinator at the institution will receive the appropriate URL and access information once NCATE has been notified of an institution’s intent to submit and the shells have been created. 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. After a compiler has successfully logged in, they will see a list of the all the programs that will be submitted by the Unit and the compiler can begin working on his/her report.

The compiler will be able to save the responses as a draft and return to the web-based form later to complete. 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.

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].”

Preparing a Program Report

The program report consists of a Cover Sheet and five sections. Section I presents background and contextual information about the program; Section II includes a chart that lists where the compiler will list each of the 6-8 assessments; Section III includes a chart that links the 6-8 assessments with the program standards; Section IV provides a narrative explanation for how each assessment addresses the standards and what the assessment data says about candidate proficiency as well; and Section V provides information on how the program faculty have used the data to improve their program.

Completing the Cover Sheet

All of the information on the Cover Sheet is filled in by the program report preparer or NCATE coordinator. If there are errors in the sections that are pre-filled in, compilers should contact their NCATE coordinator to make the necessary changes.

Please note that NCATE requires that 80 percent of program completers in the most recent academic year pass the required state licensure test in the content area in order to be eligible for program recognition. Programs are exempt from this requirement when the state does not have a required test, or if the program does not have a total of 10 completers over the past three years. NCATE uses the Title II definition of “program completers,” i.e. persons who have met all the requirements of a degree program or a state-approved preparation program.

Completing Section I--Context

Section I, the Context Section of the program report, provides background information for the reviewers as well as essential information about the program. Please note that the responses to the questions in the text boxes cannot include charts, graphs, or tables. Charts, graphs, and tables must be attached in the response to Question 7 in Section I. Compilers must respond to the following five questions and attach at least one document, the Program of Study, in Question 6.

  1. Description of any state or institutional policies that may influence the application of SPA standards. [4000 character limit]
    The purpose of this question is to provide report compilers the opportunity to describe to reviewers any state or institutional policies that impact the program’s ability to implement the SPA standards. Some examples could include a change in the state licensure requirements in this discipline, a state-imposed limit on the number of credit hours, requirements added to the program by the state, etc.

  2. Description of the field and clinical experiences required for the program, including the number of hours for early field experiences and the number of hours/weeks of student teaching or internships. [8000 character limit]

    Compilers should provide a narrative description of all field and clinical experiences included in the program being submitted. Describe the kinds of settings and experiences, the duration of each experience, the criteria used for selecting sites, and the criteria for selecting and training cooperating teachers and faculty supervisors. Any charts or graphs explaining the field and clinical experiences should be uploaded in Question 4.

  3. Description of the criteria for admission, retention, and exit from the program, including required GPAs and minimum grade requirements for the content courses accepted by the program. [4000 character limit] [Only NCTE, CEC and NASP require programs to respond to this prompt]

    Describe the above in terms of admission, retention, and exit from the program being submitted, not the school, college, or department of education (unless they are the same). This must be in text form only; no charts are permitted in text boxes. Any charts or graphs explaining the criteria for admission, retention and exit from the program should also be uploaded in Question 7.

Also in Section I compilers will be asked to attach a Program of Study as well as complete both a Candidate/Completers Information Chart and a Faculty Chart:

  1. A program of study that outlines the courses and experiences 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.)

  2. Chart with the number of candidates and completers.
    Compilers should complete the chart on-line and provide information from the 3 previous academic years on the number of candidates enrolled in the program and the number of program completers.  The purpose of this chart is to provide reviewers with a general picture of the number of candidates actively involved in the program over the previous three years. 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.

  3. Chart on program faculty expertise and experience.
    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 faculty listed on this chart should be the faculty responsible for professional coursework, clinical supervision, or administration in this program. It is not necessary to provide the names of every faculty member who teaches any courses taken by candidates in the program. The following information should be included for each faculty person listed:

    1. Their highest degree earned, the field in which that degree was awarded, and the university that awarded the degree;

    2. The faculty member’s role in the program (e.g., faculty, clinical supervisor, etc.)

    3. Faculty rank (e.g. professor, associate professor, assistant professor, adjunct professor, etc.)

    4. Tenure track status (yes, no)

    5. Major contributions in scholarship, leadership and service. Compilers should list a total of three contributions for each faculty member, (not three from each area). Select contributions that demonstrate faculty’s expertise in the program’s discipline area.  

Reviewers will have the option to note any strong concerns about the faculty, curriculum or other components of the program delineated in Section I, in the reviewer’s report (Program Recognition Report).

Section II--Assessments

Section II is a listing of the 6 to 8 assessments that the program has designated as its key, required assessments. These assessments, taken as a whole, should demonstrate candidates’ mastery of the SPA standards.

Section II is a simple chart. In the first column (“Assessments”) the name of each assessment should be written. The ‘name’ is the term used in the program for the assessment. For example, #1 might be the Praxis II exam required by the state; #3 might be “Differentiated Unit Plan; #6 might be “Field-based Action Research Project.”

In the second column, the compiler should list the type or form of each assessment.  In the third column, compilers should fill in where the assessment occurs in the program. Examples would include the course number if the assessment is assigned to a specific course; student teaching, if it occurs during the student teaching assignment, etc.

Section III--Standards Assessment Chart

The chart in Section III links the assessments to the standards. Each standard is listed in the first column. In the final column compilers should check the numbers of the assessments (from the chart in Section II) that they feel address each standard.

Section IV--Evidence for Meeting Standards

In Section IV compilers provide four pieces of information for each assessment (a 2-page narrative, a complete assessment description or the actual assessment tool, rubric and/or scoring guide, and data chart). These four pieces should be combined into a single document (as much as possible) and attached as one file. In the narrative, compilers are asked to provide a very brief description of the assessment, describe how the assessment addresses the standards (as checked in the chart in Section III), summarize the data for the assessment, and then provide a rationale for how the data demonstrates candidate mastery of the cited standards. Please note that, again, each set of documents for a single assessment should be combined into one total document, if it is possible. There is a limit of no more than 20 attachments per each program report as a whole.

Section IV provides compilers their best opportunity to convince reviewers that each assessment aligns with the SPA standards it is assigned to in Section III. Compilers should include information about any data that appear questionable or are missing.

Reviewers will use this information to answer two primary questions:  are the assessments appropriate for the cited standards and do the candidate data demonstrate that most candidates meet the standard?

Section V--Use of Assessment Results to Improve Candidate and Program Performance

The purpose of the final portion of the program report, Section V, is to demonstrate that faculty have used results from the key assessments to improve candidate achievement and strengthen program performance. The description should not link improvements to individual assessments but, rather, summarize principal findings from the evidence, the faculty’s interpretation of those findings, and changes made in (or planned for) the program as a result. Compilers should describe the steps program faculty have taken to use information from assessments for improvement of both candidate performance and the program. There is a 12000 character limit for this section. 

Section V should be organized around three categories: (1) content knowledge, (2) professional/ pedagogical/ dispositional knowledge and skills, and (3) effects on P-12 student learning. 

General Instructions for Preparing Files

Assessment Files: The files for each assessment should be prepared as Word, Word Perfect, Excel, or PDF documents. Our system will now accept documents that have been created in the newest version of Word and saved with a “.docx” extension.

Attachments will not be accepted if they are larger than 2 MB.

As much as possible, combine all of the files for one assessment into a single file. That is, create one file for Assessment #1 that includes the two-page narrative from Section IV, the assessment itself (or a description of the assessment), the scoring guide, and the data chart. There is a limit of 20 attachments for the entire report so it is crucial that you combine files as much as possible.

Name these files as listed in the chart below:

File name

File contents

“Assessment 1”

Two page narrative from Section IV for Assessment 1 and the three attachments for Assessment 1 (assessment, scoring guide, and data chart)

“Assessment 2”

Two page narrative from Section IV for Assessment 2 and the three attachments for Assessment 2 (assessment, scoring guide, and data chart)

“Assessment 3” (and so on for other assessments)

Two page narrative from Section IV for Assessment 3 and the three attachments for Assessment 3 (assessment, scoring guide, and data chart)