The Graduate School of Education (GSE) has been reaccredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) after overhauling its system of evaluating students.
NCATE, which is responsible for evaluating 623 teacher-education organizations in the United States, announced on Nov. 10 that it approved the school’s accreditation, which is subject to renewal every five years.
Unlike previous rounds, GSE had to develop a school-wide assessment system that helped form the University assessment system used during its Middle States evaluation process.
James D. Hennessy, Ph.D., dean of GSE, said the bar for accreditation has been rising. He noted that the school has greatly advanced how it assesses students and graduates, and aggregates data about the skills, attitudes and knowledge they have developed.
“In the past, the indicators on which accreditation rested were primarily internal to programs, and in presenting information such as, ‘In my judgment, we’re doing A, B and C,’” Hennessy said.
“That’s not what they’re looking for anymore. It’s ‘What are the candidates’ exam scores? What’s the knowledge base that they’ve acquired? What is their impact on the pupils and clients they serve?’”
The changes were spearheaded by Vincent Alfonso, Ph.D., professor of psychology in the Division of Psychological and Educational Services, who was associate dean for academic affairs during the review process; and Anthony Cancelli, Ed.D., director of assessment, who worked with the administration and faculty to revamp GSE’s assessment system.
“It was tremendous preparation on the part of the administration, the faculty and the staff to collect, analyze and summarize all the necessary data,” Alfonso said. “We’re a pretty big school.”
“It was a real challenge for the school to design and implement a new assessment system,” Cancelli said. “Under the dean’s leadership, the faculty worked hard and, together with the administration, put into place a system that will serve the school well for years.”
Hennessy said that GSE is readying itself for the next round of certifications.
“We will continue to aggregate information and demonstrate that we’re doing what we’re doing,” he said. “It has changed the way we function—to our advantage, in most instances. It’s led to an improvement in teacher preparation.”