Early Childhood Education

National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE)


The National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) is a voluntary professional accrediting agency that has established rigorous standards for high quality educator preparation. NCATE implements a performance-based accreditation system in which colleges of education provide evidence that their candidates know the subject matter they plan to teach and are able to teach it effectively so that students learn. As a part of accreditation expectations, institutions must develop an assessment system that collects and analyzes data on applicant qualifications and on candidate and graduate performance, and they use that information to improve their programs.

Teachers prepared at NCATE institutions are ready to help all students learn. These teachers know the subject matter, demonstrate knowledge of effective teaching strategies, reflect on their practice and adapt their instruction, can teach students from different backgrounds, have been supervised by master teachers, and can integrate technology into instruction.

Seven hundred of the nation’s colleges of education have chosen to seek the agency’s approval. States (forty-eight out of fifty) formally accept NCATE accreditation, and the U.S. Department of Education has determined that NCATE meets Congressionally mandated criteria for accreditation agencies. Two-thirds of the nation’s new teacher graduates are from NCATE accredited institutions.

NCATE’s partnership with the states has integrated state and national professional standards for teacher preparation. The states see NCATE as a resource in standards development and implementation. A majority of states have adopted or adapted NCATE’s unit (college of education) standards as their state standards for teacher preparation. NCATE’s fifty state partners have adopted NCATE’s national professional content standards (math, science, early childhood education, etc.) or have aligned their state content standards with NCATE’s standards.

The National Association of Early Childhood Education is one of 33 national professional/policymaker member organizations that support NCATE. NCATE recognizes National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) standards for early childhood education and adopts them for use in the professional accreditation process. Teacher preparation institutions that have early childhood education programs use NAEYC standards as a core for the design and delivery of their programs. Members of NAEYC serve as reviewers for NCATE. These individuals review and rate program reports from teacher preparation institutions with early childhood education programs in states that have adopted the NCATE program standards. (States that have not adopted the NCATE program standards use standards closely aligned with the profession’s program standards). The reviewers’ decisions on the quality of the early childhood education programs at an institution undergoing NCATE accreditation feed into NCATE’s Standard 1 on whether candidates have the knowledge, skills, and dispositions to help all children learn.

Web Site: National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education, www.ncate.org.

Arthur E. Wise