AECT Association for Educational Communications and Technology
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  1. What is the history of the field?
  2. What is the knowledge base?
  3. What is the history of AECT's partnership with NCATE?
  4. How are the 2000 performance-based standards different from the previous guidelines?
  5. Is my program an ECIT program?
  6. Is my program initial or advanced?
  7. What are the initial standards?
  8. What are the advanced standards?
  9. What are the components of a Program Report?
  10. What are the critical aspects of an Assessment Plan?
  11. What are some types of data to include?
  12. Why should we be interested in National Recognition?
  13. What are common weaknesses in Program Reports?
  14. How is AECT responsible for ECIT program review?
  15. How does the program review process work once I submit a program report?
  16. How do I know whether my state has a review partnership with NCATE?
  17. What are the expectations for program reviewers?
  18. Who are my contacts at AECT?
  19. Which programs currently have National Recognition?
  20. What do I do if I have a school library media specialist program?
3. What is the History of AECT/NCATE Program Accreditation Partnership?

The Association for Educational Communications and Technology (AECT) has a long history of concern for the place of instructional media and technology in teacher education and for the professional preparation of media personnel. In 1971, AECT President Robert Heinich appointed two task forces to work on accreditation and certification. The task forces were chaired by Clarence Bergeson and William Grady, respectively. The task forces worked for three years reviewing the literature, conducting work sessions and open hearings, publishing documents, and receiving written responses. In total, some 700 educators and trainers from education and business/industry participated in the work. The work was completed when the AECT Board of Directors formally adopted the recommendations and published the results in the November, 1974 issue of Audiovisual Instruction. A continuing outgrowth of this activity has been the accreditation of professional education programs. AECT's actions in the area of accreditation have primarily been in cooperation with the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE). In 1972, under the direction of Clarence Bergeson and later William Grady, AECT began conducting workshops to train members of the Association to serve on NCATE visiting teams. AECT's efforts in conjunction with NCATE were recognized when AECT was accepted as a liaison member in 1978 and was granted constituent membership on the Council in 1980.

NCATE standards have for some time stipulated that institutions should consider, in both the design of basic teacher education and advanced professional preparation programs, guidelines developed by appropriate professional associations. To meet this requirement and to assist institutions in program design, AECT, again under the leadership of Clarence Bergeson, developed and published the Basic Guidelines for Media Technology in Teacher Education (AECT, 1971). The basic guidelines were followed by the Guidelines for Advanced Programs in Educational Communications and Technology (AECT, 1974b). Both were designed to accompany and amplify the NCATE standards.

Problems with, and omissions in, the original guidelines were soon identified. In 1977 AECT decided to conduct a major expansion and revision of the guidelines to correspond more closely with the NCATE Standards. An initial draft revision was prepared by the AECT Accreditation Committee and presented to the membership of the Association during open hearings in 1978. Suggestions and comments offered during the hearings were reviewed by the committee and a revised draft was prepared for further membership review during open hearings in 1981. Minor editorial changes were made by the committee following the hearings, and the final draft of the guidelines for media support to basic teacher education and for advanced professional programs was adopted by the AECT Board of Directors in April, 1981. While revision of the existing guidelines was taking place, a draft of guidelines for undergraduate professional programs was being developed. These guidelines were completed and approved by the AECT Board in January, 1983.

In 1983, a new set of NCATE standards became effective. The previous standards called for institutions to only show that they have studied the professional association guidelines. The new standards called for an institution to adapt and show the effect of professional association guidelines on the design of the institution's professional preparation programs. Programs in educational communications and instructional technologies were also added to the annual listing of accredited programs published by NCATE. The AECT guidelines were first adopted by NCATE in 1984, one of four association guidelines used in a pilot study to develop procedures for the implementation of the new NCATE standards.

A redesign of NCATE operations in 1986 resulted in the requirement that teacher education institutions submit curriculum folios for review by NCATE affiliated professional societies (Grady, 1987). This resulted in the AECT Accreditation Committee’s revision of existing guidelines to reflect current practices, changes in the field, and adjustments in the review process.

During the early 1990's two AECT groups worked in concert to redefine the field and to revise the NCATE guidelines. The two groups were the Definitions and Terminology Committee chaired by Barbara Seels and the NCATE Guidelines Task Force chaired by Edward Caffarella. The Definitions and Terminology Committee prepared a new document entitled Instructional Technology: The Definition and Domains of the Field (Seels & Richey, 1994). They described the field in terms of five domains namely: design, development, utilization, management, and evaluation. The revised guidelines are based largely upon this work and oriented around the knowledge base of the field.

The NCATE Guidelines Task Force developed a new set of guidelines for basic and advanced programs in educational communications and instructional technologies. Those guidelines were approved by the AECT Board of Directors in February 1994 and by the NCATE Specialty Areas Studies Board in the Fall of that year. The older Basic Guidelines for Media and Technology in Teacher Education has been merged into the general NCATE Standards. All programs seeking NCATE accreditation must now describe the use of technology as part of the teacher education program in the Institutional Report to NCATE rather than in a separate program report as was previously the case.

These AECT guidelines (now renamed “standards”) for initial and advanced professional programs in educational communications and instructional technologies have been published as a single document. However, although they are complementary, each serves a different purpose and is aimed at different audiences within the educational community. These purposes are stated in the introduction to each section of the new standards.

Based upon NCATE’s 1996 call to move to performance-based accreditation, a task force chaired by Rodney Earle revised the 1994 guidelines to reflect a performance perspective as evidence for addressing the major domains of the field as described by Seels and Richey (1994). These new standards were approved by the AECT Board of Directors in July 2000 and by the NCATE Specialty Areas Studies Board in the Fall of that year.

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