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?

15. How does the Program Review process work once the Program Report is submitted to NCATE?

The program reviews and proposals prepared by the various institutions or states are reviewed by a team of program reviewers trained by the AECT Accreditation Committee. The program reviews or state proposals are forwarded by NCATE to the AECT Program Review Coordinator who distributes each document to three program reviewers. The reviewers independently evaluate each program/proposal, noting its strengths and weaknesses using the NCATE critique form and determine the compliance of the program/proposal. The reviewers do not know which other individuals are reviewing the same program. The Program Review Coordinator does not actually evaluate any program reviews but serves in a coordination role. Approximately three weeks elapse while the program reviews are being independently evaluated.

When the reviews are completed they are returned to the Program Review Coordinator. If two or more reviewers agree in their evaluation of a program/proposal, then that recommendation is sent to NCATE. When there is disagreement between the readers the Coordinator conducts a phone interview with the program reviewers in an effort to reach consensus. If there is still disagreement among the three readers then the materials are sent to three new readers and the process described above is repeated.

Once there is agreement between at least two reviewers the Program Review Coordinator compiles the three reviews into one report. This report, including recommendations, is then returned to NCATE for subsequent return to the institution.

Program Reviewer Selection and Training

All program reviewers participate in a training seminar. The Association also holds training sessions for institutions preparing AECT program reviews. These sessions are held during the annual AECT convention so that they alternate with the program reviewer training sessions. Institutions that are preparing to submit an AECT program review are invited to send a representative to these sessions.

Selection. An invitation to apply for positions as Board of Examiner (BOE) site-visitors and Program/State Partnership Reviewers is distributed to all AECT members through the organizational publications, Tech Trends and Educational Technology Research and Development, and on the AECT web page (http://www.aect.org). Nominations are also sought from current reviewers, committee members, and the AECT leadership. Candidates are asked to submit a vita to the AECT Accreditation Committee. Those who respond are sent a letter specifying the duties and responsibilities of the positions and inviting them to attend the session on accreditation training at the next AECT conference. The vitae are evaluated by the committee and invitations to participate as program reviewer and/or BOE member are issued.

Training and Evaluation of Reviewers and Responses to Standards. The BOE training is provided by NCATE and the site visits are coordinated by the NCATE Office. Once the request for BOE trainees is received by AECT, the names and vitae are submitted and all further contact for training and site visits is handled through NCATE.

The purposes of the program review/state partnership training are to prepare program/state partnership proposal reviewers to evaluate the state proposals and programs in educational communications and instructional technologies (ECIT); to provide guidance for teacher preparation institutions and states that are developing or updating ECIT programs; and to assist applicants in preparing program reviews/proposals for the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) program evaluation.

The program/proposal review training and procedures are directed by the AECT Accreditation Committee. Program reviewer training is managed by the Program Review Coordinator, a member of the Accreditation Committee. The training session for new program reviewers is conducted every other year in conjunction with the annual AECT convention. The nature of this training includes presentations, simulation, role playing, and review of AECT/NCATE standards. The session is conducted by the Chair of the AECT Accreditation Committee, assisted by one or more other members of the committee. Training session participants receive materials beforehand with which they are asked to familiarize themselves (the standards, the policy and procedures for program approval, and a sample program documentation). During training, the role of program review within the NCATE accreditation process is explained. Then the NCATE approved standards for AECT programs are reviewed and discussed. Expectations for program consistency with the standards also are discussed, as are common explanations and responses by programs, as well as potential sources of evidence of consistency with the standards. Sources of confusion regarding standards and program responses are explored. Examples of actual program responses to standards, blinded for identification, are reviewed with the participants.

A sample program review is distributed and evaluated by the participants. The practice evaluations and the sample program review are then discussed by the trainers. Individual participants receive feedback regarding their practice evaluation. Finally, there is a discussion of issues that emerge during the practice program review process.

Upon the conclusion of the session, the performance of the participants is evaluated by the trainers. Although it happens very rarely, some individuals could be and have been eliminated as reviewers at this point.
Upon completion of the training, readers are given a certificate/letter indicating that they have completed reviewer training for particular sets of guidelines and stipulating the date by which they must renew their training (based on renewal/revision of guidelines).

When the Program Review Coordinator distributes proposals/program reviews, newly trained reviewers are grouped with experienced reviewers so that comparisons can be made regarding elements that may not be clear to particular individuals and that may require follow-up training. The term of service for reviewers is three years, but experienced reviewers are encouraged to serve again. Reviewers who do not respond to reviews appropriately or do not submit evaluation materials on time will not receive additional reviews at the discretion of the Program Review Coordinator and will not be invited to continue as reviewers. This decision is made by the Program Review Coordinator in consultation with the Chair of the AECT Accreditation Committee.

Procedures for Evaluation. The NCATE/AECT program and state review process (including development of procedures and the training of program reviewers) is directed by the AECT Accreditation Committee under the auspices of the AECT Board. The procedures for program evaluation are as follows:

  1. Institutions and states submit accreditation documents to NCATE.
  2. NCATE forwards ECIT program reviews/proposals to the AECT Program Review Coordinator.
  3. The Program Review Coordinator assigns three independent reviewers to evaluate each program/proposal.
  4. Reviewers use the appropriate rubrics and forms (see Appendix E) to either evaluate programs or determine the alignment of state standards.
  5. The Program Review Coordinator compiles reviewer responses and writes the final report which includes the evaluation recommendation.
  6. The report is submitted to NCATE, with a copy to the Chair of the AECT Accreditation Committee, and one copy is kept on file by the Program Review Coordinator.
  7. Notations are made regarding the consistency among the three evaluations and of any obvious misunderstandings of standards that should be addressed with the individual reviewers or in future training sessions. This information is conveyed to reviewers and to the Chair of the AECT Accreditation Committee.
  8. NCATE reviews the reports and forwards them to the university or state.
  9. A summary of results of all reviews is reported yearly to the AECT Accreditation Committee and to the AECT Board.
  10. AECT submits an annual report of reviewer data to NCATE.

If the institutional program/state proposal is not approved, a rejoinder may be filed by the institution or state to make further explanations, add documentation, or otherwise address areas of weakness. When NCATE receives a rejoinder it is forwarded to the appropriate specialty organization for a second review.

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