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CAEP (Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation).

A nonprofit and nongovernmental agency that accredits educator preparation providers (EPPs). CAEP was created with the October 2010 adoption of a motion to consolidate the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) and the Teacher Education Accreditation Council (TEAC) by the boards of the two organizations. CAEP became operational on July 1, 2013.

CAEP Coordinator.

An educator preparation provider (EPP) representative designated by the EPP as the primary recipient for CAEP related communications.


An individual engaged in the preparation process for professional education licensure/certification with an Educator Preparation Provider (EPP).

Candidate for Accreditation.

An accreditation status achieved after completion of Phase II application to CAEP during which an educator preparation provider (EPP) engages in a developmental/diagnostic evaluation of its readiness to engage in an accreditation review.


An educator preparation provider’s (EPP) stated, reviewed and evaluated ability to deliver and maintain its obligations related to (1) the high quality preparation of candidates for professional roles/licensure/certification; (2) continuous improvement; and/or (3) transformation.

Case Analysis.

An analysis included in the Inquiry Brief site visit review that is focused on the CAEP Standards of the educator preparation provider’s (EPP) case for accreditation. The analysis cites evidence in the record that is consistent or inconsistent with CAEP’s requirements and standards, including whether or not there are credible rival hypotheses for evidence put forward in the EPP’s self study report.

Case Study.

For CAEP a case study is a systematic study of some aspect of preparation that posits a problem of practice, identifies a means to address it, frames appropriate measures, gathers data, and analyzes results for the purposes of preparation improvement and/or accreditation evidence.

Certificate Level.

A professional educator preparation program that provides the courses for a specific certificate or license, but  does not lead to an academic degree.


An official document issued by a state agency that an individual meets state requirements to (1) teach at a specific level or for a specialized discipline/population of students (e.g. middle grades, biology, English Language Learners, etc.); or (2) serve in a specific education role in a school (e.g. principal, reading specialist, etc.).


The process by which a governmental agency or nongovernmental organization grants professional recognition to an individual who meets specified qualifications/requirements. (See Certificate and/or Certification/Licensure Level.)


The statements in the Inquiry Brief self-study report to describe how an educator preparation provider (EPP) meets CAEP standards in preparing competent, caring, and qualified educators (i.e., teachers, administrators, and other school professionals).

Clarification Questions.

A set of questions about the Inquiry Brief self-study report that are prepared as part of the formative evaluation that need clarification in writing before the site visit begins. These questions are included, with the educator preparation provider’s answers, in the site visit report and may lead to follow-up tasks during the visit.

Clinical Educators.

All educator preparation provider (EPP) and P-12-school-based individuals, including classroom teachers, who assess, support, and develop a candidate’s knowledge, skills, or professional dispositions at some stage in the clinical experiences.

Clinical Experiences.

Guided, hands-on, practical applications and demonstrations of professional knowledge of theory to practice, skills, and dispositions through collaborative and facilitated learning in field-based assignments, tasks, activities, and assessments across a variety of settings. These include, but are not limited to, culminating clinical practices such as student teaching or internship.

Clinical Practice.

Student teaching or internship opportunities that provide candidates with an intensive and extensive culminating field-based set of responsibilities, assignments, tasks, activities, and assessments that demonstrate candidates’ progressive development of the professional knowledge, skills, and dispositions to be effective educators.

Code of Ethics.

Guidelines for the appropriate behavior of CAEP board members, Commission members, Accreditation Council members, committee members, site visitors, program reviewers, and staff as they conduct CAEP business. CAEP’s code of ethics can be accessed in the CAEP Policy and Procedures Manual.

Code of Good Practice.

The seven statements accepted by members of the Association of Specialized and Professional Accreditors (ASPA) that define ideal behaviors of national accreditors in the conduct of their work. (See http://www.aspa-usa.org.)


Logical interconnection; overall sense or understandability.


A group of candidates or program completers admitted, enrolled, or graduated at the same time, e.g., a class entering in a fall semester or a class graduating in the spring semester.


One of three governing bodies that make recommendations for an EPP’s accreditation based on standards being met and identifies areas for improvement and/or stipulations for presentation to CAEP’s Accreditation Council. Each Commission also certifies whether CAEP followed its policies and procedures. An educator preparation provider (EPP) is assigned to the Commission that is responsible for the accreditation pathway selected by the EPP: the Continuous Improvement (CI) Commission, the Inquiry Brief (IB) Commission, or Transformation Initiative (TI) Commission.

Complaint Review Committee.

A committee of the Accreditation Council with responsibility for reviewing and taking action on valid complaints against an educator preparation provider (EPP) or CAEP.


The formal submission of documents and other materials to support an allegation (1) that an educator preparation provider (EPP) no longer meets one or more of the CAEP standard(s); (2) that CAEP did not follow its established policies and procedures; or (3) that a member of CAEP’s staff violated CAEP policies or procedures, including but not limited to its code of conduct.


Any candidate who exited a preparation program by successfully satisfying the requirements of the educator preparation provider (EPP).


Presenting sufficient evidence of meeting the standards or requirements of a regulatory or accrediting body.


Sub-indicators of a standard that elaborate upon and further define a standard. CAEP uses its components as evidence categories that are summarized by the educator preparation provider (EPP) and reviewed by the site visit team in order to assign areas for improvement or stipulations that lead to a peer judgment of whether or not a standard is met.


A policy statement to which site visitors, councilors, and staff are required to adhere. The policy includes expectations that individuals will not to disclose or discuss information from an educator preparation provider’s (EPP) self-study, related evidence, interviews, or CAEP’s decision-making process outside of the formal accreditation process meetings.

Conflict of Interest.

Any association, relationship, business arrangement, or circumstance related to an applicant for accreditation by anyone involved in the accreditation process that might suggest to disinterested and objective referees that his or her actions were contrary to CAEP policy; contrary to its stated duties to its clients, members, and stakeholders; or for personal gain or the gain of family, close friends, or non-CAEP associates.

Consumer Information.

Information about the status and trends of outcomes for completers that should be available for prospective candidates, parents of applicants, employers of completers, parents of P-12 students and generally for the public.

Content Knowledge.

The acquisition and understanding of facts, truths, or principles associated with the academic disciplines that are taught at the elementary, middle, and/or secondary levels, or a professional field of study such as special education, early childhood education, school psychology, reading, or school administration.

Continuing Accreditation.

The accreditation process for an educator preparation provider (EPP) to renew its accredited status.

Continuous Improvement.

A process of gathering information about all aspects of preparation activities and experiences, analyzing that information (looking for patterns, trends, making comparisons with peers), identifying what works and what seems to be troubled, making adjustments, and repeating the cycle.

Continuous Improvement (CI) Commission.

The CAEP governing body that is responsible for determining the standards that are met by an educator preparation provider (EPP) in the continuous improvement pathway.

Continuous Improvement (CI) Pathway.

One of the three CAEP accreditation pathways in which an educator preparation provider (EPP) provides evidence that standards are met. The focus of the self study is on the ways the EPP has been strengthened and the improved quality of its completers since the previous accreditation visit.

Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP).

A nonprofit and nongovernmental agency that accredits educator preparation providers (EPPs). CAEP was created with the October 2010 adoption of a motion to consolidate the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) and the Teacher Education Accreditation Council (TEAC) by the boards of the two organizations. CAEP became operational on July 1, 2013.


The quality of being believable or worthy of trust.

Cross-cutting Themes.

Overarching emphases on diversity and technology that are threaded throughout the standards and reflect the Commission’s perspective that they need to be integrated throughout preparation experiences.


For CAEP purposes, measures of candidate performance that increase or grow across successive administrations. Measures gain credibility as additional sources or methods for generating them are employed. The resulting triangulation helps guard against the inevitable flaws associated with any one approach. The same principle applies to qualitative evidence whose “weight” is enhanced as new cases or testimonies are added and when such additions are drawn from different sources. In sum, the entire set of measures used under a given Standard should be mutually reinforcing.


Courses, experiences, and assessments for preparing educator candidates to teach students at a specific age level, to teach a specific subject area, or to work as another school professional such as a principal, school library media specialist, or superintendent.

Cut Score.

A score or rating that is designated as the minimally acceptable level of performance on an assessment.