Regents Accreditation of Teacher Education Programs
At its meeting in September 2010, the Board of Regents voted to discontinue offering the Regents Accreditation of Teacher Education (RATE) option to teacher and school leader preparation programs. The report on this action is available at http://www.regents.nysed.gov/meetings/2010Meetings/September2010/0910hea2.pdf.
In 1998 the Board of Regents adopted a new teaching policy, "New York’s Commitment: Teaching to Higher Standards." The revised Regulations, adopted in 1999, require colleges to achieve accreditation of their registered programs that prepare candidates for initial or professional New York State certification as classroom teachers.
The purpose of Regents Accreditation of Teacher Education (RATE) is to ensure that education programs seeking this accreditation prepare all their program graduates to be effective teachers, meaning teachers who:
- promote the well-being of all their students,
- help them learn to their highest levels of achievement and independence,
- use their knowledge of human developmental processes and variations and their skill in applying that knowledge to form a caring and nurturing environment for all their students, including those with diverse characteristics and backgrounds, students for whom English is a new language, students with varying abilities and disabilities, and students of both sexes.
New York State Regents Accreditation entails a rigorous, on-site accreditation visit. The costs of accreditation are borne by the colleges. Programs registered before September 2001 must be accredited by December 2006. Programs registered for the first time on or after September 1, 2001, must be accredited within seven years of initial registration.
Standards for New York State Regents Accreditation Reviews
The standards to be used in the RATE reviews are established by Subpart 4-2 of the Rules of the Board of Regents:
Standards of Quality:
- Commitment and vision
- Philosophy, purposes, and objectives
- Standards for program registration
- Teaching effectiveness of graduates
- Assessment of candidate achievement
- Financial resources
- Support services
- Candidate complaints
- Public disclosure of accreditation status
- Annual reports
New York State Regents Accreditation Actions
For programs undergoing initial review, the New York State Regents Accreditation process can result in one of the following actions:
- Accreditation for a seven-year term, without conditions.
- Accreditation with conditions, requiring provision of a report or reports on specified matters the Regents direct the institution to provide at specified times and/or follow-up visits or actions the Regents direct the Department accreditation staff to undertake. Follow-up matters may not be of such a core nature or scope as to call into reasonable question the programs’ compliance with the accreditation standards for the term of accreditation.
- Denial of accreditation, based on a determination that the programs do not adhere consistently and continuously to the standards for program accreditation and cannot in the near future be expected to do so.
Procedures for New York State Regents Accreditation Reviews
For Regents Accreditation, comprehensive, on-site reviews will be conducted at least every seven years, based on information provided in a Self-Study prepared by the institution for its teacher education programs. Annual data reports are required. Substantial interim reports and visits may be required for accreditation with conditions, as described above.
Institutions pay an annual fee of $1,000 to partially defray direct costs. They also provide funds to the Department to cover expenses related to accreditation reviews, such as previsits, team visits, and expert reviews of curricular content. If complete education programs are separately registered at branch campuses, separate annual fees will be charged for the main campus and each branch campus.
Curriculum reviewers and site visitors are nominated by institutions of higher education in New York State, New York State public school districts, District Superintendents, New York State Education Department (SED) staff, and other relevant parties. SED trains site visitors for participation on site visit teams.
Protocol for New York State Regents Accreditation Reviews
The institution notifies the Deputy Commissioner for Higher Education, in writing, of its intention to have its education programs accredited by the Regents.
The Office of College and University Evaluation (OCUE) sends the institution an Accreditation Agreement and materials to prepare for the site visit.
The institution sends the Deputy Commissioner for Higher Education its completed Regents Accreditation Agreement with payment of the annual $1,000 fee.
The annual fee is due by June 1 of each year thereafter. The Department sends an invoice for the fee on April 1.
Receipt of Annual Fee, June 1 of Each Year:
If an accreditation visit is pending within 2 years of receipt of Annual Fee:
OCUE sends the institutional contact person a list of its programs requiring external expert curricular review prior to the next RATE accreditation visit.
The institutional contact person and OCUE verify the dates of the accreditation site visit in writing.
If an accreditation visit is pending within 1 year of receipt of Annual Fee:
OCUE sends the institutional contact person the name of the OCUE staff member who is designated the RATE Review Coordinator for that institution and a list of its programs requiring external expert curricular review prior to the RATE accreditation visit.
OCUE solicits third-party comment on the institution’s teacher education programs from the public by publishing a notice in the State Register.
For each program to be reviewed, the institution sends the Review Coordinator a list of three proposed external expert reviewers, with a curriculum vita for each proposed reviewer. The proposed reviewers must be qualified to review the programs to be accredited, knowledgeable of the time frame for generating their report, and free of conflicts of interest with the institution seeking their services. The RATE Review Coordinator and institutional contact person collaborate on the selection of reviewers and verify, in writing, that no conflicts of interest exist.
The institution sends each selected reviewer a current institutional catalog; a statement of each program’s philosophy, purposes, and objectives; an analysis of how each program prepares its graduates to teach to the New York State Learning Standards; syllabi for all pedagogical and content core requirements, by program; and curricula vitae for all full-time and part-time faculty, indicating which courses in the program each faculty member teaches.
Prior to the Previsit:
The RATE Review Coordinator sends the institution a list of the proposed site-visit team, including the team chair. The RATE Review Coordinator and the institution verify, in writing, that no conflicts of interest exist with the site visit team. If a conflict of interest is identified, the review coordinator adjusts the team’s membership as appropriate. Team size (normally, five to twelve members) varies according to the number and complexity of an institution’s education programs.
The RATE Review Coordinator receives the institution’s Self-Study (electronic and hard copy), with additional documents listed in the Self-Study Guide or requested by the review coordinator.
The RATE Review Coordinator and the institution confirm that the institution’s Self-Study includes sufficient information for the accreditation visit team to conduct the visit. The institution forwards the Self-Study and other relevant information to the site visit team chair and external expert program reviewers.
6 weeks prior to the Site Visit:
The RATE Review Coordinator and the institution receive the external expert reviewers’ reports.
Note: The site visit may be postponed if all external reviewers’ reports are not received at least 6 weeks before the site visit date.
The Previsit (6 to 10 Weeks Prior to the Site Visit):
The team chair and/or RATE Review Coordinator make a previsit to discuss the site visit with staff of the institution and to develop the specific visit schedule.
Between Previsit and Site Visit
The institution sends the site-visit team the Self-Study and accompanying documents, the reports of the external reviewers, and a current institutional catalog.
The RATE Review Coordinator sends the site-visit team any third-party comments received, with copies to the institution, and forms and materials to prepare for the accreditation visit.
The institution prepares a preliminary response to the reports of the external reviewers for the team to review during the site visit.
OCUE sends an invoice to the institution for the external reviews and for the honoraria for the site visit team members, requesting payment within 30 days.
The Site Visit:
During the site visit, normally three to four days in length, the team members interview faculty, administrators, candidates, program graduates, and school personnel involved in candidates’ field experiences and student teaching; visit classes; review syllabi and candidates’ work; check relevant records, including candidate and faculty records; assess physical facilities and equipment; visit student-teaching, field placement, and collaboration sites; and visit off-campus locations, if any, where education courses are offered.
At the exit interview, the team chair and review coordinator summarize the remaining steps in the accreditation process for representatives of the institution. Since the team’s draft compliance review report is not yet complete, at this point information cannot be shared about the content of that report.
After the Accreditation Site Visit:
OCUE sends the draft compliance report to the chief executive officer of the institution within 6 weeks of the site visit. The institution writes to OCUE, responding to the findings in the draft compliance report and correcting any factual errors within 4 weeks of receiving the draft compliance report.
The draft compliance report and the institution’s response, with the Department’s preliminary recommendation regarding program accreditation, together constitute the compliance report. The Assistant Commissioner for Quality Assurance sends the compliance report to the institution and submits it to the State Professional Standards and Practices Board for Teaching (PSPB) for consideration at a scheduled meeting of the PSPB, with the complete record reviewed by the Department. The State Professional Standards and Practices Board for Teaching invites staff of the Department, the institution and, at the Board’s discretion, other interested parties to make oral presentations at the meeting.
The institution may submit to the Department further written documentation pertinent to the accreditation review at least 20 days before the scheduled meeting of the State Professional Standards and Practices Board for Teaching.
The State Professional Standards and Practices Board for Teaching reviews the compliance report with the Department’s preliminary recommendation, any further written documentation submitted by the Department or the institution, and any written information presented at the meeting, and votes to recommend accreditation action to the Deputy Commissioner for Higher Education.
Within 20 days of the meeting of the State Professional Standards and Practices Board for Teaching, the Deputy Commissioner for Higher Education considers the findings and recommendations of the State Professional Standards and Practices Board for Teaching, together with the entire record before the State Professional Standards and Practices Board for Teaching, and transmits to the Commissioner the Deputy Commissioner’s findings and recommendations, together with a report of the factual basis and findings in support of the Deputy Commissioner’s recommendations, with a copy to the chief executive officer of the institution.
If the institution does not appeal the Deputy Commissioner’s findings and recommendations:
The Commissioner adopts the findings and recommendations of the Deputy Commissioner for Higher Education and transmits them to the Board of Regents. At a regularly scheduled public meeting of the Board of Regents, the Board of Regents considers the findings and recommendations of the Commissioner and makes the final determination of accreditation action.
If the institution does appeal the Deputy Commissioner’s findings and recommendations:
An institution which intends to appeal must notify the Commissioner, in writing, of its intent to appeal the Deputy Commissioner’s findings and recommendations within 15 days of receiving the findings and recommendations of the Deputy Commissioner for Higher Education.
The institution may appeal the Deputy Commissioner’s findings and recommendations by sending its appeal in writing to the Commissioner, with a copy to the Deputy Commissioner for Higher Education, within 90 days of receiving the findings and recommendations of the Deputy Commissioner for Higher Education.
The Deputy Commissioner transmits to the Commissioner the entire record before the Deputy Commissioner and the Deputy commissioner’s recommendations, together with a report of the factual basis and findings in support of those recommendations within 10 days of receiving the institution’s written appeal.
The Deputy Commissioner may submit a response to the institution’s appeal by sending the Deputy Commissioner’s response in writing to the Commissioner, with a copy to the institution within 30 days of receiving the institution’s written appeal.
Within 60 days after the Commissioner receives the institution’s appeal and the Deputy Commissioner’s response, if any, and the relevant materials cited above, the Commissioner affirms, reverses, or modifies the findings and recommendations of the Deputy Commissioner for Higher Education. The Commissioner’s determination constitutes a recommendation regarding accreditation action that is transmitted to the Board of Regents for final determination of accreditation action.
The Board of Regents considers the findings and recommendations of the Commissioner and makes the final determination of accreditation action at a regularly scheduled public meeting of the Board.
You may also write to the Office of College and University Evaluation, New York State Education Department, 89 Washington Avenue, 5 N. Mezzanine, Albany, New York 12234.
The Handbook is available in PDF (1,471 KB)