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New Mexico State University

New Mexico State University

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New Mexico State's College of Education receives reaccreditation

New Mexico State University's College of Education continues to meet the professional standards required to graduate qualified teachers ready for today's classrooms, according to the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE), which recently approved the college for reaccreditation.

the organization responsible for professional accreditation of teacher education, accredits 554 institutions that produce two-thirds of the nation's new teacher graduates each year.

"This is an extremely rigorous process and we had a very successful visit," said College of Education Dean Robert Moulton.

NCATE-accredited schools must meet 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 must carefully assess this knowledge and skill to determine that candidates may graduate.

The institution must have partnerships with schools from the pre-school to high school level to enable candidates to develop their skills. Candidates must be prepared to understand and work with diverse student populations. Faculty must model effective teaching practices and the education college must have the resources, including information technology resources, necessary to prepare candidates to meet new standards.

"As the only Hispanic-serving, land-grant, doctoral-research university in the nation, we have an important role to play," Moulton said. "New Mexico State provides a unique education for teacher candidates because it addresses issues specific to the border region."

NCATE revises its standards every five years to incorporate best practice and research to reflect a consensus about what is important in teacher preparation today. New Mexico State's next NCATE visit is scheduled for fall 2006, but the process is on-going, Moulton said.

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, before student teaching/internship work, and before completion of the program.

"They are now looking at us through our product," said Stan Lopez, interim associate dean who served on the reaccreditation committee for the college. "They are specifically interested in the quality of the teachers we are graduating and their performance in the classroom."

New Mexico State graduates about 250 teacher candidates per year.

Meeting NCATE accreditation standards also helps institutions prepare new teachers for new, more rigorous licensing standards in many states. NCATE accreditation standards incorporate the model state licensing principles developed by a task force of the Council of Chief State School Officers.

The U.S. Department of Education recognizes NCATE as the professional accrediting body for schools, departments and colleges of education. On-site visits, document review and accreditation decisions are all carried out by professionals from the education community, including teachers, school specialists and teacher educators, as well as members of the public and education policy makers.