Magazine article Black Issues in Higher Education

Accredited Teaching Colleges Passing the Test

Magazine article Black Issues in Higher Education

Accredited Teaching Colleges Passing the Test

Article excerpt

Study shows that programs at HBCUs are improving standards and earning accreditation at higher rates

WASHINGTON--Students who train to be teachers at colleges accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) are more likely to pass state licensure exams than those who attend non-accredited schools, a recent study found.

The study, released last month and conducted by the Educational Testing Service (ETS) with both SAT and ACT, says that this finding is especially noteworthy because the candidates at those institutions enter college with somewhat lower ACT and SAT scores than students at non-NCATE schools.

"Which means we add yet more value than would at first appear," says Dr. Arthur A. Wise, president of NCATE.

Wise greeted the study with satisfaction, saying, "[It] provides an impetus to those institutions seeking NCATE accreditation, provides an additional mark of distinction for those that have achieved accreditation, and provides additional information for state policymakers interested in improving the quality of teacher preparation in their states."

About 500 of the nation's 1,200 schools of education are accredited by NCATE, which requires that its schools have a curriculum that reflects current educational research and that they emphasize performance, new forms of assessment, technology, and diversity.

Vice president of NCATE, Boyce C. Williams, says that the new study proves that people who want to be teachers should look closely at whether their colleges are accredited.

"If I want to increase my chances, it would make sense to align myself with a program that has been aligned with national standards that have been accepted by the profession and authorized by the Department of Education, especially for those of us of color who sometimes star behind the curve," she says.

Williams says that of the 82 historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) that offer education degrees, 74 percent are either accredited by NCATE or are candidates for accreditation--up from 48 percent in 1995. In the last year, Virginia Union, Clark-Atlanta, Delaware State universities, and Morris Brown College all became accredited.

The significance of the accreditation of HBCUs becomes clearer when it is noted that slightly more than half of all African American teachers are graduates of HBCUs. Also, a smaller percentage of African Americans have historically passed licensure exams than White candidates, making the quality of teacher education programs vital to increasing the pool of teachers of color.

Quentin Lawson, executive director of the National Alliance of Black School Educators, says that by becoming accredited, HBCUs "have met a higher standard." He attributes the high rate of accreditation among historically Black institutions to two factors: "NCATE is more inclusive than it's been in the past, and is not operating as an exclusive fraternity. Secondly, the HBCUs are recognizing that this thing isn't going away and their survival is dependent on accreditation."

Other major findings of the new ETS study include:

* Certified teachers have SAT and ACT scores that are just a little lower than those of the general population of college graduates, not a lot lower as has often been reported. …

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