Frostburg State University has achieved accreditation by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education.
FSU is one of the first institutions nationally to reach accreditation under new standards implemented by NCATE that dramatically change the way teacher education is evaluated. FSU is one of 36 schools to meet the new performance-based standards, out of a total more than 640 institutions that have either been accredited or are seeking accreditation by NCATE.
FSU, like all higher education institutions in Maryland with enrollments of more than 2,000 students, was required to gain NCATE approval by the state of Maryland under its Redesign for Teacher Education.
According to Dr. Susan Arisman, dean of the FSU College of Education, when the new rule was enacted in the late 1990s, FSU had already set its accreditation drive in motion. A number of Maryland institutions have NCATE accreditation but most have not yet been evaluated under these new guidelines.
As part of the NCATE process, FSU's various teacher certification programs had to achieve recognition from 14 different professional content associations, such as math, science and health education, including the Association for Childhood Education International, from which Frostburg was one of the first two institutions recognized under ACEI's new performance-based standards.
NCATE and the national associations are putting new emphasis on not only what courses are taught in a teacher education program, but also on collecting the data that proves how well the content is learned. 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 institution must provide evidence to that effect.
"For students, NCATE accreditation increases the prestige of their degrees. Graduates can say proudly that they graduated from an NCATE institution," Arisman said.
FSU was last accredited by NCATE in the 1980s, but when the state of Maryland chose a different direction regarding standards, the accreditation was not renewed, Arisman said. "It's a credit to the quality of the program that we made it on the first attempt," explains Arisman. "It's a tribute to the faculty that they remained at such a peak of performance over the years even though they didn't go through the national [accreditation] process."
According to Arisman, a number of schools have expressed interest in looking at Frostburg's information as they go through the NCATE process themselves.
NCATE-accredited institutions must met rigorous standards set by the profession and members of the public. Among those standards:
Teacher candidates must have in-depth knowledge of the subjects they plan to teach, as well as the skills necessary to convey those subjects so that students learn.
The university must carefully assess this knowledge and skill to determine that candidates may graduate.
The institution must have partnerships with elementary and secondary schools that enable the candidates to develop the necessary skills.
Teacher candidates must be prepared to understand and work with diverse student populations.
University faculty must model effective teaching practices themselves.
The College of Education must have the resources, including information technology, necessary to prepare candidates.
Meeting the new NCATE accreditation standards also helps institutions prepare new teachers for new, more rigorous licensing standards now found in many states.
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 policymakers.
For more information, call the College of Education at (301) 687-4759. For more information about NCATE, visit their Web site at www.ncate.org.
For further information on this release, contact:
Office of News and Media Services
Frostburg State University
101 Braddock Road
Frostburg, MD 21532-2303