Becoming a Partnership State

State Agencies interested in a NCATE/State Partnership, should contact:

Shari Francis, Vice President NCATE State Relations: shari@ncate.org

2010 Massachusetts Avenue, NW
Suite 500
Washington, DC 20036
Phone: (202) 466-7496
Fax: (202) 296-6620

NCATE Staff members are available to assist with all elements of the state partnership application process. Don’t hesitate to call us.

The State Agency Completes an On-Line Partnership Agreement Form Choosing Options Within Three Partnership Features:

  1. Members of the partnership

  2. On site review team composition, and

  3. Institutional program review agent.

Feature 1: The Partners

  1. A two-way partnership between NCATE and the state teacher education agency or,

  2. A three-way partnership between NCATE, the state teacher education agency and the state higher education commission or standards board.

Feature 2: The Composition of the On-Site Unit Review Team

The state may choose:

  1. An all NCATE review team;

  2. Concurrent teams -- NCATE and a state team conduct separate reviews at the same time;

  3. Joint NCATE/State team -- both NCATE and state members make up the review team and decisions are made together. If this option is chosen the state must:

    • Assure that the state team successfully completes a state-based training conducted by NCATE;

    • Document its system for training, evaluating and assigning state team members; and

    • Enforce a code of ethics and conflict of interest for state reviewers.

Feature 3: Who Will Conduct the Institutional Program Reviews?

The state may choose to:

  1. Delegate the program review process to NCATE; or

  2. Conduct a state program review itself.

Explanation of the Program Review Process

The NCATE Program Review

If the state agency delegates NCATE to conduct the program reviews it defers to NCATE’s Specialized Professional Associations’ (SPA) standards and review process. The state must indicate which subject matter programs require state approval. No further documentation is required and the agreement is submitted to the State Partnership Board for approval.

The State Program Review

If the state agency conducts program reviews for purposes of NCATE Accreditation it must either:

  1. Provide policy documentation that the state has adopted SPA program standards as its own; or,

  2. Demonstrate that state program standards align with NCATE’s SPA program standards.

If the state chooses to align its program review standards so that they are similar to NCATE SPA standards, program standards alignment forms for each SPA must be submitted to NCATE in February, prior to the October State Partnership Board Meeting. The approval process is as follows:

  1. The state submits alignment forms to NCATE.

  2. NCATE sends the alignment forms to the appropriate SPA for review.

  3. The SPA reviews the alignment forms and issues a report that indicates the degree to which the state program standards align with the SPA standards on a scale from 1 – 5 (very closely aligned to not aligned). The SPAs often offer recommendations to the state for improving their program standards.

  4. The state may choose to respond (rejoin) to the SPA by making changes or submitting clarifications and return the response to NCATE for final SPA review.

  5. The results of these reviews are compiled by NCATE for use by the State Partnership Board (SPB) when it considers the agreement. A summary of the reviews is also sent to the state director of teacher education or, where applicable, to the chief executive officer of the independent state professional standards board.

The state must also describe its program review process – how it selects, trains, evaluates and assigns program reviewers, as well as what it expects of institutions in determining the degree to which the institution meets the program standards. This information, along with the SPAs’ reports of the states’ standards alignment is considered by the State Partnership Board (SPB) in its deliberations regarding a state’s partnership status.

The State May Seek Authority to Grant National Recognition

If the state chooses to conduct its own program reviews it may seek the right to recommend programs for “National NCATE Recognition”. If that is the case, the state must complete the program alignment exercise (see above) as well as a special form detailing its program review process for review by the NCATE Specialty Area Studies Board (SASB). The state may recommend a program for National Recognition only if the SPA certifies that its program standards are sufficiently aligned with the standards and the SASB determines that the state’s program review process meets its expectations.

Alternatively, the state may choose not to seek the right to recommend programs for “National NCATE Recognition."

Approval for Entering into an NCATE/State Partnership

In addition to completing the on-line State Partnership Agreement Form, the state must submit a Protocol using the NCATE template.  The Protocol is a public document posted on the NCATE website and distributed to institutions in the state.  It outlines the policies and processes of NCATE and the state and defines the roles, responsibilities, and timelines for institutions and visiting teams. 

When these two documents are submitted, NCATE State Relations staff conducts a review of the application documents to assure their completeness. When the agreement form and protocol application are complete, they are submitted to the State Partnership Board (SPB) at its annual meeting in October.

The State Partnership Board (SPB) makes its decision about the status of a partnership based on all the information provided in the state partnership agreement and the SPA reports. In some cases, the Board will grant a conditional partnership if the state is working to revise some of its program standards or processes. The philosophy of the State Partnership Program is based on “inclusiveness” – because it is in the states’ and NCATE’s best interest to continue to work together to improve the quality of teacher education through high and rigorous standards.

The SPB is comprised of a majority of state education policy makers; the chair of the board is always a state education policymaker. During the annual meeting, an audit committee, who must meet the conditions established by the Board’s conflict of interest policy, conducts an in-depth review of each state’s agreement and supporting materials for new and renewing partnerships. The audit committee reviews the state’s responses to the partnership conditions and develops a recommendation regarding the partnership which is presented to the full Board.

The full SPB acts on the recommendation of the audit committee and reports its results to the state representative and, in a written report, to the state director of teacher education or the chief executive officer of the state professional standards board. States are asked to ensure a representative is available by telephone during the SPB meeting.


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