Saturday, January 20, 2018 BOE › Conducting the Visit › Program Reviews AIMS Member Login
Program Reviews

For obvious reasons, BOE teams are not expected to conduct their own in-depth reviews of programs offered by the institution. Instead, teams rely on the program evidence presented by (a) state reports, including licensure results; (b) specialized professional association (SPA) reports conducted through the NCATE process; and (c) the accreditation reports of other programmatic national accreditation agencies. The sources and combinations of reports written by program reviewers outlined above will differ from institution to institution and state to state. Each type of program review is briefly described below.

Program reports are valuable to BOE teams in a number of ways. Evidence that programs are of high quality, have achieved recognition or approval status, and produce successful graduates are strong indicators that the unit will fare well under Standard 1. Information provided by program reports may also provide evidence related to other areas covered by NCATE standards, particularly technology, diversity, the conceptual framework, and field experiences. For example, a BOE team may find that reviews of a number of programs in the unit include commendations of the integration of technology in coursework. Conversely, several reviews of different programs might indicate that candidates do not have opportunities to explore the application of technology in the classroom. Such evidence should lead a team to look more deeply into the issues that surface as common problems in the program reports.

Serious concerns indicated by Specialized Professional Association (SPA) reports or state reports should trigger investigation by the BOE. The team should determine what steps have been taken by the unit to address the identified concerns or its plans to address them. When the unit has not properly addressed the concerns raised by the SPA or state, the team should determine the effect on candidate knowledge, skills, and dispositions, and cite areas for improvement. In other words, the team should cite areas for improvement that clearly link the stated concerns to candidate proficiencies. The section on the BOE report provides additional information on reporting team findings for program reviews.

Teams may find that, for various reasons, the program review process is still in progress at the time of the visit. When an institution has not received the final SPA report indicating whether the program has been nationally recognized, the BOE team must review the earlier SPA reports and the institution’s rejoinder to determine if there are any serious concerns with the program that have not been sufficiently addressed by the rejoinder. Candidate assessment data and interviews with faculty and school personnel should also provide data on whether candidates are developing the proficiencies expected in their professional fields.

SPA Reviews

A growing number of states require national reviews by SPAs. In this process, reviewers from the SPAs determine whether programs meet national standards and communicate that information in SPA reports. Program reports prepared by the institution, SPA reports, and rejoinders should be available to team members in the exhibit room.

Some institutions opt for a national program review in addition to the state review. In these cases, the BOE teams will examine both state and national reviews to determine program quality. Institutions located in states that do not have partnerships with NCATE are required to submit their programs to NCATE for review by SPAs.

State Program Reviews

In approximately half of the partnership states, program reviews are conducted by the state using either state standards or the national SPA standards. Some states conduct program reviews through a process similar to an NCATE program review in which program reports are submitted several months before the on-site visit. Other states review programs in an on-site visit several months prior to the visit or during the on-site visit with a state team operating concurrently with the BOE team.

If the state agency conducted its review of a program prior to the on-site visit, the state report should be available to the BOE team at the time of the visit. If the state is reviewing programs during the on-site visit, the state team should share its findings with the BOE team.

Accreditation Decisions of Other National Accrediting Agencies

For several programs, NCATE accepts the accreditation decisions that have been conferred by accrediting agencies recognized by the U.S. Department of Education and/or the Council of Higher Education Accreditation. This confirmation should be afforded the same weight as SPA reports and/or program review documents from state agencies. If accreditation has been granted with qualifications or has been denied or revoked, the unit should provide other evidence of the quality of that program and information on steps being taken to bring the program into compliance.

Most of these agencies do not have specific standards for the preparation of education professionals, but they do review the overall content of a field. Therefore, BOE teams should look for evidence that the pedagogical and professional components of these programs prepare candidates to meet state and institutional standards. Evidence on candidate performance (e.g., licensure tests results and internship assessments) should be available for these programs during the on-site visit. These programs are expected to contribute to the unit’s meeting of the six NCATE unit standards.

Accrediting Agency

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

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American Library Association

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American Association of Family and Consumer Sciences

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National Association of Schools of Theater

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