Importance of Accreditation in Education Programs

Mississippi College’s School of Education is accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE). Mississippi College has been accredited for more than 50 years, longer than any other educational institution in the state.

What Is Accreditation?

While people may notice that a program is accredited, they may not know what accreditation means.

Accreditation is a lengthy and rigorous process in which established professionals in a field review an institution of higher education and its programs to make sure it meets quality standards that are thoroughly grounded in research.

The NCATE web site refers to accreditation as a quality “seal of approval,” indicating that the teachers, specialist educators and administrators who come from that institution have participated in a rigorous program whose standards are agreed upon by leading professional educators.

To be accredited by the NCATE, an institution undergoes a voluntary peer review process. A comprehensive evaluation is done of each unit (college, school and department) that bears chief responsibility for teacher preparation.

The review is based on the NCATE Unit Standards. These standards are national, research-based standards developed by multiple sectors of the teaching profession.

The accrediting body conducts on-site reviews, while also reviewing the individual program’s materials and standards. Seasoned educational professionals observe teacher classrooms and materials.

It can take up to three years to fully accredit an institution. Accredited institutions are also reviewed regularly to make sure they maintain the accreditation standards.

What Is the NCATE?

In 1954, the NCATE was founded as an accrediting body by five professional associations that represented teaching and educational stakeholders — the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE), the National Association of State Directors of Teacher Education and Certification (NASDTEC), the National Education Association (NEA), the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) and the National School Boards Association (NSBA).

NCATE continues to be responsible for establishing that teacher, specialist and administrator preparation is high quality and conforms to research-based standards. Its purpose is to ensure that each student has a highly qualified teacher who is competent and caring.

Accreditation’s Value and Importance

For students considering an M.Ed. program, accreditation means that the program is rigorous and recognized as such. It means the school will use methods and materials similar to those of other teachers and employ education professionals who also obtained degrees from accredited schools. The standards are nationally recognized.

Many schools require job candidates to have a degree from an accredited school. When a teacher earns a degree from an accredited institution, it also signals to parents and students that the teacher has knowledge of subject matter and knows how to teach the students in their own classrooms.

Educators in an M.Ed. program learn how to teach students with various learning styles. They learn multiple methods of assessment to capture their students’ learning over time.

Accreditation is a process by which a program and its on-site delivery is evaluated by seasoned professionals using current research. Graduates from an accredited institution have received training in a rigorous program with nationally recognized standards. Many institutions require new hires to hold a degree from an accredited institution. Some also require a degree from an accredited institution for promotion.

Learn more about the Mississippi College online M.Ed. programs.


Sources:

NCATE: About NCATE

NCATE: NCATE Accreditation

NCATE: The Importance of Being Accredited

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