Accreditation assures the public of high quality teacher education

Pre-service and in-service teacher education has a new yet familiar champion -- the Ontario College of Teachers.

The College of Teachers is believed to be the first of Canada's self-regulatory bodies authorized to accredit education programs for existing members and those entering the profession. The College was granted formal responsibility for the accreditation of all pre- and in-service teacher education programs in December. Traditionally, accrediting authority for professional training has been given to independent bodies.

"This is a privilege that will help to build public confidence in the teaching profession," says College Registrar Joe Atkinson.

"Teachers will receive the same high quality teacher education whether they are educated in Thunder Bay, North Bay or Toronto," Atkinson said. "As well, teachers will benefit from the accreditation of all Additional Qualification courses."

Sets Criteria

The regulation that gives the College the authority to accredit initial and on-going teacher education programs sets the criteria by which teacher education programs must be assessed. Programs must be consistent with and reflect:

  • the College's Standards of Practice for the Teaching Profession and the Ethical Standards for the Teaching Profession
  • current research in teacher education
  • the integration of theory and practice in teacher education.

Accredited programs must also meet all regulatory requirements in such areas as methods and foundations courses, divisional studies and practical experience.

Accreditation assures the public that graduates of teacher education programs in Ontario are competent and qualified. It ensures that Ontario's teacher education programs are based on sound research. Accreditation also ensures that academic and professional qualifications of faculty members working in pre-service have been demonstrated by advanced study, contributions to the field and professional experience.

Before they can enrol students, faculties that offer programs of initial teacher preparation that lead to teacher certification by the College will have to be accredited. Atkinson says this means the College will be able to positively influence and enhance the professional practice of new teachers entering the profession.

Collaborative Process

College Registrar Joe Atkinson and Council Chair Larry Capstick sign the regulation papers giving the College authority to accredit pre- and in-service teacher education programs in Ontario. Frances Thorne, Chair of the College's Accreditation Committee, observes the historic occasion.

"The regulation exemplifies the College's commitment to transparency and a collaborative, consultative process for development," Atkinson says. "It's a textbook model, no-surprise regulation, which came from a pilot project developed with people in the field."

Soon after it was established in 1996, the College formed agreements with the Ontario Association of Deans of Education (OADE) and the Ontario faculties of education to launch a three-year pilot project to accredit the 11 pre-service teacher education programs at the nine faculties and one school of education. After a thorough review, all programs received an initial accreditation.

The final report on the pilot project is available at acc_final.pdf. Similar College work in Additional Qualifications (AQ) programs and courses over the last three years also contributed to the regulation.

Faculty members, deans, associate teachers, teacher candidates, Council and College members, individuals from accrediting bodies, the Ontario Teachers' Federation and affiliates, and members of the public were all involved in developing the accreditation process.

The regulation gives the College its formal accrediting power as the government is granting authority to new degree-granting institutions to apply to offer more pre-service teacher education programs.

Appeals Process

As well as setting the conditions for the accreditation of programs, the regulation provides for an appeals process.

Under the new regulation, the Accreditation Committee has the authority to review or revoke accreditation of any provider that makes substantial changes to its program, loses its authority to operate, or ceases to run a program at all.

The regulation also protects students. If, for example, a program's accreditation expires, is denied or revoked, enrolled students in the current academic year will be deemed to have completed the program.

AQ Programs

AQ program providers must meet nine different conditions. The College can grant, deny or approve accreditation with or without conditions for a minimum of six months or a maximum of three years. Those that are denied accreditation must inform all program applicants and wait for a year after an appeal before reapplying. Student protection measures are in place for AQ programs too.

The College is responsible for initiating a review of the regulation within three years of its having been filed.

Ontario Regulation 347/02-Accreditation of Teacher Education Programscan be viewed at

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