Gains and Challenges in the National Accreditation Process: A Case Study

By Jingzi Huang and Mirta Barrea-Marlys.

Published by The Learner Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

In the current standards movement in the US, all institutions housing a school of education are facing the challenges to be nationally recognized by addressing a set of standards by major national accrediting bodies such as NCATE (National Council for Accreditation of Teaching Education). While the rigorous NCATE Standards set high expectations for teacher education programs which presumably will lead to stronger teacher education programs in the US, the process of earning national recognition is a challenging one that requires collaboration and creativity from all sides of the university. In the research area, while very limited studies exist examining the strengths and weaknesses of the established national standards and explore the relations between national accreditation and the quality of programs (e.g., Newman & Hanauer, 2005; Warner, 1993), there is little known about the specific efforts and struggles accompanying the accreditation process. An exploration focusing on the details of the process may contribute to a more in-depth understanding of the accreditation phenomenon.
This article reports on a self-study to examine the struggle experienced at a medium size, comprehensive university in the US in an effort to address the requirement for national accreditation to strengthen its teacher education program. Using its foreign language education program as a case, it explores critical accreditation issues related to intradepartmental collaboration, acquisition and assessment of content and pedagogical knowledge of teacher candidates, and the support or lack of support from the accrediting body. While the study identifies and analyzes factors leading to a more successful foreign language education program, it also reveals challenges and frustrations that teacher education programs inevitably have to face in the standards movement. The findings of the study provide insights into the multi facets of the current phenomenon of national accreditation of teacher education programs in the United States.

Keywords: Teacher Education, Collaboration, Higher Education, Educational Reform, National Accreditation, Language Teachers, Standards, Oral Language, Language Proficiency, Program Evaluation

The International Journal of Learning, Volume 15, Issue 8, pp.57-64. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 581.556KB).

Dr. Jingzi Huang

Department Chair, Department of Curriculum and Instruction, School of Education, Monmouth University, West Long Branch, NJ, USA

Growing up and educated in China, further educated and “polished” in Canada, and currently teaching and researching in an American University, I have cultivated in myself the sensitivity to language issues across academic settings. With a Ph.D in Curriculum and Instruction from University of British Columbia, I am currently working as an Associate Professor of language education, the Chair of the Curriculum and Instruction Department, and the University Coordinator for the On-campus LMS Support Services. Teaching courses in the areas of ESL education, foreign language education, diversity in the classroom, and content literacy across the curriculum, I have been doing research in all these areas focusing on classroom discourse, integration of language and content, and mainstreamed ESL students at all levels. Recent publications include articles in Communication Education; Language and Education; Linguistics and Education; Language, Culture, and Curriculum; International Journal of Learning; International Journal of Applied Linguistics; Language Teaching Research.

Dr. Mirta Barrea-Marlys

Assitant Professor, Department of Foreign Language Studies, Monmouth University, West Long Branch, NJ, USA

I am currently an assistant professor in the Department of Foreign Language Studies at Monmouth University. I hold a Ph.D. in Romance Languages from the University of Pennsylvania, where I was extensively trained in the communicative method of teaching foreign languages, linguistics, and pedagogy. I teach all levels of Spanish language, culture, literature, linguistics, and methods for teaching world languages. I also teach Italian and have studied in Italy and Spain as an undergraduate and graduate student. I have published a book, Jael, on the eighteenth-century Spanish theater and am coeditor of the Encyclopedia of Latin American Theater. My publications include articles and book chapters on contemporary Latin American women authors, the novel and film in Spain and Latin America, and contemporary Argentine authors. I have also contributed to the Dictionary of Mexican Literature and my work entitled La obra literaria de Altaír Tejeda de Tamez, a prolific Mexican female author, is currently in press. My present research interests include a study of the linguistic variations of Spanish in Monmouth County, NJ and preparation for and efficacy of oral proficiency testing.

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