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
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
Committees 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 NCATEs 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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