The College’s Accreditation Committee ensures the quality of initial teacher education programs in Ontario through the regular review and accreditation of these programs.
The accreditation process assures the profession and the public that teacher education programs meet the quality assurance requirements established under regulation. The programs integrate theory and practice so that graduates are prepared and qualified for today’s classrooms.
The Accreditation Committee appoints an accreditation panel to review each pre-service teacher education program. Existing programs are reviewed cyclically, usually every seven years, to confirm that the program continues to meet regulatory requirements.
Panel members normally visit the campus after examining all documents submitted by the faculty. They conduct on-site interviews with faculty members and various stakeholders, examine artifacts, and review facilities and resources. Members of the public are always provided with an opportunity to offer feedback about the programs under review at oct.ca/public/accreditation/accreditation-review-feedback.
The panel then develops its report, setting out its recommendations and detailing its supporting evidence. The Accreditation Committee considers the information in the panel’s report and issues a decision.
Enhanced Teacher Education Program
Beginning on September 1, 2015, the initial teacher education program at Ontario’s faculties of education will expand to four semesters and include twice the amount of practise-teaching time (80 days, up from 40). The enhanced program includes more focus on students’ mental health and well-being, how to teach with technology, and diversity among other core elements. The Accreditation Committee will play a critical role in the accreditation of enhanced programs at all Ontario faculties of education.
To support the implementation of the enhanced program, the committee approved a proposed format for the accreditation of initial teacher education programs through verification reports that providers will submit to demonstrate compliance with the amended accreditation requirements as they will read on September 1, 2015. In addition, the College established a SharePoint site for providers to facilitate submission of verification reports by the deadline of March 1, 2016.
Accreditation Process Review
As part of its continuous improvement and in anticipation of the changes associated with the enhanced teacher education program, the College initiated a review of its accreditation processes to identify efficiencies. The consultative review resulted in an amendment to the Accreditation Regulation detailing changes to the size and composition of accreditation panels.
Beginning in September 2015 each panel will have a minimum of four members (down from six). Panels will continue to include one person nominated by the institution providing the program under review, and a roster member with experience evaluating or teaching in a faculty of education program. Panels will now include one appointed and one elected Council member, including one from the Accreditation Committee. For programs in specialized areas, the panel will continue to include at least one panel member with appropriate expertise.
New Pre-service Program Options
Beginning in September 1, 2015, the College’s Accreditation Regulation enables two new program options that build on existing Ontario models.
Providers will have the option of designing a program that integrates professional education with other course work that focuses on education studies. This program would lead to one degree in education, meeting the minimum duration requirement for post-secondary degree study as well as the initial teacher education component.
The regulation will also enable a program leading to qualifications for both general and technological education areas at the secondary level. Graduates would obtain qualifications for one academic subject, and one broad-based technology area. Applicants to this program would be expected to meet the College’s academic and technological certification requirements.
New Accreditation Resources
The College published an Accreditation Resource Guide for the use of accreditation panels during program reviews. The guide will assist panels seeking evidence of sufficiency and currency within the core content outlined in the regulation.
Accreditation staff collaborated with the IT department to develop a new initial teacher education accreditation management system. The system will integrate a report-writing tool for accreditation panels. This will improve efficiency during accreditation reviews.
Regulatory Change to Multi-session Programs
In keeping with the increased length of the practicum in the enhanced teacher education program, the College initiated a change to the first session of multi-session teacher education programs by adding a mandatory practicum. In 2014, the College consulted with education sector stakeholders, including faculties of education and teacher federation affiliates that have expertise or involvement with multi-session programs. As a result, the Accreditation Committee recommended that amendments be made to the Teachers’ Qualifications Regulation to add a mandatory 10-day practicum to the first session of multi-session programs. This amendment was added to the regulation, ensuring that teacher candidates will have experience in the classroom prior to obtaining a Transitional Certificate of Qualification and Registration from the College.
In 2014, the College renewed the accreditation of two teacher education programs provided by the School of Education and Professional Learning at Trent University. The committee granted general accreditation to the full-time consecutive BEd program for the Primary/Junior and Intermediate/Senior divisions and the part-time consecutive BEd program for the Primary/Junior divisions.
The committee granted extensions of accreditation to the following institutions to enable implementation of the enhanced teacher education programs or harmonization of review cycles: Nipissing University, Laurentian University (English-language programs), Wilfrid Laurier University, Université d’Ottawa (French-language programs), and York University. Accreditation Committee decisions for professional teacher education programs, including extensions, are posted on the College website.
Monitoring Programs with Conditions
When a teacher education program is accredited with conditions, a faculty of education provides the committee with a plan for satisfying the conditions, followed by annual reports detailing progress. Faculties may also request that the committee remove conditions from accredited programs.
The Accreditation Committee received and reviewed a plan from the Université d’Ottawa, Faculté d’éducation to satisfy the conditions on the new French-language concurrent BEd program (Primary/Junior and Junior/Intermediate divisions). This program is accredited in a full distance education format with a traditional practicum experience.
The committee received and reviewed an initial plan and annual report for the following programs:
- Université d’Ottawa, Faculté d’éducation (French-language programs)
- Consecutive BEd program (Primary/Junior, Junior/Intermediate and Intermediate/Senior divisions)
- Multi-session BEd consecutive program in an alternative delivery format (Primary/Junior and Junior/Intermediate divisions)
- Concurrent BEd program (Primary/Junior, Junior/Intermediate and Intermediate/Senior divisions).
- Nipissing University, Schulich School of Education
- Multi-session consecutive Teacher of Anishnaabemwin as a Second Language program (Native Languages), leading to a Diploma in Education.
The committee removed one of three conditions from the Teacher of Anishnaabemwin as a Second Language program offered by Nipissing University, Schulich School of Education.
The committee also received and reviewed annual reports for the following programs:
- University of Ottawa, Faculty of Education (English-language programs)
- Consecutive BEd program (Primary/Junior, Primary/Junior with a focus on teaching French as a Second Language, Junior/Intermediate and Intermediate/Senior divisions)
- Consecutive program for persons of First Nation, Métis or Inuit ancestry (Primary/Junior divisions). The Aboriginal Teacher Education Program leads to a BEd or a Certificate in Aboriginal Teacher Education.
- Université Laurentienne, l’école des sciences de l’éducation (French-language program)
- Multi-session consecutive BEd program (Primary/Junior and Junior/Intermediate divisions) offered in an alternative delivery mode.
- Lakehead University, Faculty of Education
- Consecutive BEd program (Primary/Junior, Junior/Intermediate and Intermediate/Senior divisions)
- Concurrent BEd program (Primary/Junior, Junior/Intermediate and Intermediate/Senior divisions), including a concurrent Native Teacher Education Program
- Multi-session consecutive Native Language Teachers’ Certification Program (Native Languages), leading to a Diploma in Education.
The committee removed all conditions from the programs at Lakehead University and Université Laurentienne. These programs are now accredited without conditions.
Revocation of Additional Qualification Programs
Ongoing professional learning is highly valued by Ontario teachers. The College Registrar determines if Additional Qualification (AQ) courses and programs satisfy the requirements for accreditation. In 2014, the Registrar accredited 233 AQ courses.
AQ courses are offered by 35 providers across the province. The following school boards discontinued their AQ programs in 2014: Bruce-Grey Catholic District School Board, Ottawa Catholic School Board, Rainy River District School Board, and St. Clair Catholic District School Board. As required in the Accreditation Regulation, the committee revoked the accreditation of the Additional Qualification programs offered by these providers.
In response to the many changes currently taking place in teacher education, as well as to enhance its ability to carry out its regulatory responsibilities, the committee received a number of presentations, and engaged in professional discussions about:
- the quality assurance criteria for accreditation of initial teacher education programs
- possible future regulatory amendments to the accreditation regulation
- the distinctive characteristics of dance as an assessed strand in the Ontario curriculum for The Arts
- approved options for alternative practicum requirements for Native Language programs.
The College invites public input about the teacher education programs it reviews.
An email notification tool on the College website allows members of the public to learn about upcoming accreditation reviews and offer input on the quality of the programs for the panel’s consideration. The College also welcomes presentations made directly to the panel. Open forum meetings are held during accreditation site visits to provide the public with opportunities to offer input to the panel.
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