West College of Education Earns NCATE Accreditation

The Gordon T. and Ellen West College of Education has proven its commitment to producing quality teachers for our nation's children by achieving accreditation this month under the performance-oriented standards of the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE), the organization responsible for professional accreditation of teacher education.

NCATE-accredited schools must meet rigorous standards set by the profession and members of the public. Teacher candidates must have in-depth knowledge of the subject matter that they plan to teach as well as the skills necessary to convey it so that students learn. The college or university must carefully assess this knowledge and skill to determine that candidates may graduate. The institution must have partnerships with P-12 schools that enable candidates to develop the skills necessary to help students learn. Candidates must be prepared to understand and work with diverse student populations. College and university faculty must model effective teaching practices. And the school, college, or department of education must have the resources, including information technology resources, necessary to prepare candidates to meet new standards.

NCATE revises its standards every five years to incorporate best practice and research in order to ensure that the standards reflect a consensus about what is important in teacher preparation today. In the past decade, NCATE has moved from an accreditation system that focused on curriculum and what teacher candidates were offered, to a data-driven performance-based system dedicated to determining what candidates know and are able to do. The new system expects teacher preparation institutions to provide compelling evidence of candidate knowledge and skill in the classroom. Multiple types of performance assessment are expected throughout the program of study. Candidate qualifications are assessed upon entry, and candidate competence is assessed throughout the program as well as prior to student teaching/internship work, and before completion of the program.

"The faculty and staff of the West College of Education have worked diligently over the last few years to make this accreditation a reality. Unless you go through something like accreditation, you cannot really appreciate just how difficult it is," said Matthew Capps, Dean of the West College of Education. "I am appreciative to the faculty and administration of Midwestern State University and the local school districts in supporting the teacher education program.

"In particular, I want to thank the teachers and administrators of WFISD and Burkburnett ISD along with the staff of Hirschi High School, Wichita Falls High School, Cunningham Elementary, Alamo Elementary, John Tower Elementary, IC Evans, Hardin Elementary, and Burkburnett Middle School in their contributions as Professional Development Schools over the last few years," said Capps.

The U. S. Department of Education recognizes NCATE as a specialized accrediting body for schools, colleges, and departments of education. NCATE is composed of more than 30 professional and policymaker organizations representing millions of Americans committed to quality teaching. It was founded in 1954 by the teaching profession and the states. NCATE continues its mission today: the profession and the states working together for excellence in teacher preparation and development.

For more information about Midwestern State University's teacher education program, visit www.msutexas.edu. More information about NCATE is available at www.ncate.org.