Murray weighs in on improving link between national teaching standards, higher education accreditation
Frank Murray
The book cover of Accomplished Teachers, Institutional Perspectives


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8:13 a.m., June 17, 2010----Published this spring, Accomplished Teachers, Institutional Perspectives is a book that discusses the value and utility of the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) from the perspectives of policymakers, administrators and practitioners in the field of education.

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NBPTS is an independent and nongovernmental organization that works to advance the quality of teaching and learning by developing professional standards for accomplished teaching.

Accomplished Teachers, Institutional Perspectives challenges the nation's PK-12 and postsecondary education system, state and local governing bodies and NBPTS to strengthen the link between the NBPTS standards and assessment process and teacher preparation, program accreditation and state licensure.

Frank Murray, H. Rodney Sharp Professor in the School of Education and the Department of Psychology at the University of Delaware, is a contributor to the book.

Within his chapter, Murray challenges NBPTS to shift its standards beyond what's supported simply by well-respected scholars and practitioners in the field. He emphasizes the need for teaching standards that show evidence that their achievement actually makes something better.

He uses the Teacher Education Accreditation Council (TEAC), one of two national organizations that grant accreditation for teacher education programs, as an example. Murray, who is president of TEAC, states that the organization bases its accreditation of teacher education programs on the evidence programs have that their graduates are competent, as well as the fact that the evidence itself satisfies scholarly standards in the field.

Murray argues that NBPTS should follow TEAC's lead and that if its “certification” were based on what the teacher's students had learned, the certification would be strengthened.

"I suggested that one way that could be done was if each teacher used the TEAC accreditation logic about himself or herself as an individual," said Murray. "The candidates would argue, as our accredited programs argue, that they are worthy of certification (accreditation) based on evidence that would support their claim that they are superior teachers."

This book touches on a number of critical issues that institutions face as they work to ensure teacher quality. Murray says the true quality of a teacher education program is defined in terms of the competence of its graduates.

"I hope more educators will come to understand the value TEAC accreditation adds to programs and that the application of its principles to the individual classroom teacher will add similar value to teaching in the country," said Murray.

Representatives from other organizations such as the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) also contributed to the book, as well as professors from various institutions, including Temple University and California State Polytechnic University.

Article by Cassandra Kramer
Photos courtesy of NBPTS and Frank Murray