Accreditation is a process of external peer review in which institutions of higher learning are evaluated based on a comprehensive set of established standards and criteria. Accreditation is maintained through various state and national professional accrediting bodies. The process of program accreditation provides a means of continuous quality assurance and represents the ongoing dedication of Orlean Beeson School of Education to provide effective, high-quality professional programs that meet the needs our communities.

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The accreditation of Educator Preparation Providers (EPPs) is granted by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP). Through its accreditation process, CAEP assures the quality of educator preparation and supports continuous improvement to strengthen P-12 student learning. The Orlean Beeson School of Education has long maintained its national accreditation through NCATE.

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NCATE was subsumed by CAEP in 2013, such that CAEP is now the current accrediting body for EPPs. Following our most recent accreditation review and site visit in fall 2012, the Unit Accreditation Board determined that Orlean Beeson School of Education successfully met all NCATE standards at the initial teacher preparation and advanced preparation levels. This accreditation decision indicates that our institution and its programs meet the rigorous standards set forth by the professional education community and has maintained continued accreditation status. Current accreditation extends through June 2020.

Samford University's Orlean Beeson School of Education is hosting an accreditation visit by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) November 17-19, 2019. Interested parties are invited to submit third-party comments to the site team. Please note that comments must address substantive matters related to the quality of professional education programs offered, and should specify the party's relationship to the provider (i.e., graduate, present or former faculty member, employer of graduates).

We invite you to submit written testimony to:
CAEP
1140 19th Street NW, Suite 400
Washington, DC 20036
Or by email to: callforcomments@caepnet.org 

Such comments must be submitted no later than October 4, 2019 and must be based on the core tenets of CAEP accreditation standards of excellence, which recognize that:

  • In CAEP's performance-based system, accreditation is based on evidence that demonstrates that teacher candidates know the subject matter and can teach it effectively so that students learn. In the CAEP system, EPPs must prove that candidates can connect theory to practice and be effective in an actual P-12 classroom.
  • A professional education provider that is accredited by CAEP is expected to be involved in ongoing planning and evaluation; engaged in continuous assessment and development; ensure that faculty and programs reflect new knowledge, practice, and technologies; and be involved in continuous development in response to the evolving world of education and educational reform.
  • Comments must address substantive matters related to the quality of professional education programs offered, and should specify the respondent's relationship, if any, to the institution (i.e., graduate, present or former faculty member, employer of graduates).
  • Copies of all correspondence received will be sent to the university for comment prior to the review. No anonymous testimony will be considered.

Standard 1: Content and Pedagogical Knowledge

Initial Standard 1: The provider ensures that candidates develop a deep understanding of the critical concepts and principles of their discipline and, by completion, are able to use discipline-specific practices flexibly to advance the learning of all students toward attainment of college- and career-readiness standards.

Candidate Knowledge, Skills, and Professional Dispositions

Candidates demonstrate an understanding of the 10 InTASC standards at the appropriate progression level(s) in the following categories: the learner and learning; content; instructional practice; and professional responsibility.

Provider Responsibilities

1.2 Providers ensure that candidates use research and evidence to develop an understanding of the teaching profession and use both to measure their P-12 students’ progress and their own professional practice.

1.3 Providers ensure that candidates apply content and pedagogical knowledge as reflected in outcome assessments in response to standards of Specialized Professional Associations (SPA), the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS), states, or other accrediting bodies (e.g., National Association of Schools of Music – NASM).

1.4 Providers ensure that candidates demonstrate skills and commitment that afford all P-12 students access to rigorous college- and career-ready standards (e.g., Next Generation Science Standards, National Career Readiness Certificate, Common Core State Standards).

1.5 Providers ensure that candidates model and apply technology standards as they design, implement and assess learning experiences to engage students and improve learning; and enrich professional practice.

Advanced Standard 1: The provider ensures that candidates for professional specialties develop a deep understanding of the critical concepts and principles of their field of preparation and, by completion, are able to use professional specialty practices flexibly to advance the learning of all P-12 students toward attainment of college- and career-readiness standards. 

Standard 2: Clinical Partnerships and Practice

Initial Standard 2: The provider ensures that effective partnerships and high-quality clinical practice are central to preparation so that candidates develop the knowledge, skills, and professional dispositions necessary to demonstrate positive impact on all P-12 students’ learning and development.

Partnerships for Clinical Preparation

2.1 Partners co-construct mutually beneficial P-12 school and community arrangements, including technology-based collaborations, for clinical preparation and share responsibility for continuous improvement of candidate preparation. Partnerships for clinical preparation can follow a range of forms, participants, and functions. They establish mutually agreeable expectations for candidate entry, preparation, and exit; ensure that theory and practice are linked; maintain coherence across clinical and academic components of preparation; and share accountability for candidate outcomes.

Clinical Educators

2.2 Partners co-select, prepare, evaluate, support, and retain high-quality clinical educators, both provider- and school-based, who demonstrate a positive impact on candidates’ development and P-12 student learning and development. In collaboration with their partners, providers use multiple indicators and appropriate technology-based applications to establish, maintain, and refine criteria for selection, professional development, performance evaluation, continuous improvement, and retention of clinical educators in all clinical placement settings.

Clinical Experiences

2.3 The provider works with partners to design clinical experiences of sufficient depth, breadth, diversity, coherence, and duration to ensure that candidates demonstrate their developing effectiveness and positive impact on all students’ learning and development. Clinical experiences, including technology-enhanced learning opportunities, are structured to have multiple performance-based assessments at key points within the program to demonstrate candidates’ development of the knowledge, skills, and professional dispositions, as delineated in Standard 1, that are associated with a positive impact on the learning and development of all P-12 students

Advanced Standard 2: The provider ensures that effective partnerships and high-quality clinical practice are central to preparation so that candidates develop the knowledge, skills, and professional dispositions appropriate for their professional specialty field.

Standard 3: Candidate Quality, Recruitment and Selectivity

Initial Standard 3: The provider demonstrates that the quality of candidates is a continuing and purposeful part of its responsibility from recruitment, at admission, through the progression of courses and clinical experiences, and to decisions that completers are prepared to teach effectively and are recommended for certification. The provider demonstrates that development of candidate quality is the goal of educator preparation in all phases of the program. This process is ultimately determined by a program’s meeting of Standard 4.

Plan for Recruitment of Diverse Candidates who Meet Employment Needs

3.1 The provider presents plans and goals to recruit and support completion of high-quality candidates from a broad range of backgrounds and diverse populations to accomplish their mission. The admitted pool of candidates reflects the diversity of America’s P-12 students. The provider demonstrates efforts to know and address community, state, national, regional, or local needs for hard-to-staff schools and shortage fields, currently, STEM, English-language learning, and students with disabilities.

Candidates Demonstrate Academic Achievement

3.2 The provider meets CAEP minimum criteria or the state’s minimum criteria for academic achievement, whichever are higher, and gathers disaggregated data on the enrolled candidates whose preparation begins during an academic year.

The CAEP minimum criteria are a grade point average of 3.0 and a group average performance on nationally normed assessments or substantially equivalent state-normed assessments of mathematical, reading and writing achievement in the top 50 percent of those assessed. An EPP may develop and use a valid and reliable substantially equivalent alternative assessment of academic achievement. The 50th percentile standard for writing will be implemented in 2021.

Starting in academic year 2016-2017, the CAEP minimum criteria apply to the group average of enrolled candidates whose preparation begins during an academic year. The provider determines whether the CAEP minimum criteria will be measured (1) at admissions, OR (2) at some other time prior to candidate completion.

In all cases, EPPs must demonstrate academic quality for the group average of each year’s enrolled candidates. In addition, EPPs must continuously monitor disaggregated evidence of academic quality for each branch campus (if any), mode of delivery, and individual preparation programs, identifying differences, trends and patterns that should be addressed under component 3.1, Plan for recruitment of diverse candidates who meet employment needs.

CAEP will work with states and providers to designate, and will periodically publish, appropriate “top 50 percent” proficiency scores on a range of nationally or state normed assessments and other substantially equivalent academic achievement measures, with advice from an expert panel.

Alternative arrangements for meeting the purposes of this component will be approved only under special circumstances and in collaboration with one or more states. The CAEP President will report to the Board and the public annually on actions taken under this provision.

Additional Selectivity Factors

3.3 Educator preparation providers establish and monitor attributes and dispositions beyond academic ability that candidates must demonstrate at admissions and during the program. The provider selects criteria, describes the measures used and evidence of the reliability and validity of those measures, and reports data that show how the academic and non-academic factors predict candidate performance in the program and effective teaching.

Selectivity During Preparation

3.4 The provider creates criteria for program progression and monitors candidates’ advancement from admissions through completion. All candidates demonstrate the ability to teach to college- and career-ready standards. Providers present multiple forms of evidence to indicate candidates’ developing content knowledge, pedagogical content knowledge, pedagogical skills, and the integration of technology in all of these domains.

Selection At Completion

3.5 Before the provider recommends any completing candidate for licensure or certification, it documents that the candidate has reached a high standard for content knowledge in the fields where certification is sought and can teach effectively with positive impacts on P-12 student learning and development.

3.6 Before the provider recommends any completing candidate for licensure or certification, it documents that the candidate understands the expectations of the profession, including codes of ethics, professional standards of practice, and relevant laws and policies. CAEP monitors the development of measures that assess candidates’ success and revises standards in light of new results.

Advanced Standard 3: The provider demonstrates that the quality of advanced program candidates is a continuing and purposeful part of its responsibility so that completers are prepared to perform effectively and can be recommended for certification where applicable.

Standard 4: Program Impact

Initial Standard 4: The provider demonstrates the impact of its completers on P-12 student learning and development, classroom instruction, and schools, and the satisfaction of its completers with the relevance and effectiveness of their preparation. Impact on P-12 Student Learning and Development: The provider documents, using multiple measures that program completers contribute to an expected level of student-learning growth. Multiple measures shall include all available growth measures (including value-added measures, student-growth percentiles, and student learning and development objectives) required by the state for its teachers and available to educator preparation providers, other state-supported P-12 impact measures, and any other measures employed by the provider.

Indicators of Teaching Effectiveness

4.2 The provider demonstrates, through structured validated observation instruments and/or student surveys, that completers effectively apply the professional knowledge, skills, and dispositions that the preparation experiences were designed to achieve.

Satisfaction of Employers

4.3 The provider demonstrates, using measures that result in valid and reliable data and including employment milestones such as promotion and retention, that employers are satisfied with the completers’ preparation for their assigned responsibilities in working with P-12 students.

Satisfaction of Completers

4.4 The provider demonstrates, using measures that result in valid and reliable data, that program completers perceive their preparation as relevant to the responsibilities they confront on the job, and that the preparation was effective.

Advanced Standard 4: The provider documents the satisfaction of its completers from advanced preparation programs and their employers with the relevance and effectiveness of their preparation. 

Standard 5: Provider Quality Assurance and Continuous Improvement

Standard 5: The provider maintains a quality assurance system comprised of valid data from multiple measures, including evidence of candidates’ and completers’ positive impact on P-12 student learning and development. The provider supports continuous improvement that is sustained and evidence-based, and that evaluates the effectiveness of its completers. The provider uses the results of inquiry and data collection to establish priorities, enhance program elements and capacity, and test innovations to improve completers’ impact on P-12 student learning and development.

Quality and Strategic Evaluation

5.1 The provider’s quality assurance system is comprised of multiple measures that can monitor candidate progress, completer achievements, and provider operational effectiveness. Evidence demonstrates that the provider satisfies all CAEP standards.

5.2 The provider’s quality assurance system relies on relevant, verifiable, representative, cumulative and actionable measures, and produces empirical evidence that interpretations of data are valid and consistent.

Continuous Improvement

5.3 The provider regularly and systematically assesses performance against its goals and relevant standards, tracks results over time, tests innovations and the effects of selection criteria on subsequent progress and completion, and uses results to improve program elements and processes.

5.4. Measures of completer impact, including available outcome data on P-12 student growth, are summarized, externally benchmarked, analyzed, shared widely, and acted upon in decision-making related to programs, resource allocation, and future direction.

5.5. The provider assures that appropriate stakeholders, including alumni, employers, practitioners, school and community partners, and others defined by the provider, are involved in program evaluation, improvement, and identification of models of excellence.

CAEP Annual Reporting Measures

The Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) has eight annual reporting measures which are used to provide information to the public on both program outcome and program impact. The following is the list of the CAEP measures.

Measures of program impact

Measure 1: Pre-service candidate impact on P-12 student learning

Measure 2: Indicators of teaching effectiveness

Measure 3: Results of employer surveys, and including retention and employment milestones

  • Principal survey (Initial/ Advanced) — a survey of principals' perception of graduates' preparation by the university 12-18 months after completion of program.

Measure 4: Results of completer surveys

  • Graduate survey (Initial/Advanced) — a survey of pre-service teachers as they exit the preparation program.

Measures of program outcome and consumer information

Measure 5: Graduation rates from preparation programs

Measure 6: Ability of completers to meet licensing (certification) and any additional state requirements

Measure 7: Ability of completers to be hired in education positions for which they are prepared

  • Employment follow-up — employment rates of completers of initial and advanced programs 12 months after program completion. Most employment occurs 2-3 months after completion but is documented at 12 months.

Measure 8: Student loan default rates and other consumer information

  • Samford University student loan default rates based on data provided by Director of Student Financial Services:
    • (2015 - 1.9%)
    • (2014 - 2.1%)
    • (2013 - 2.0%)
    • (2012 - 0.7%)
  • Samford University Rate Schedule 2018-2019
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The human development and family science undergraduate degree program at Samford University has been reviewed by the National Council on Family Relations. It has been recognized as an NCFR CFLE–approved program offering coursework covering the content required for the Certified Family Life Educator (CFLE) designation. Graduates of NCFR CFLE–approved programs qualify to apply for the CFLE designation via an abbreviated application process. Learn more about our Human Development and Family Life Education department.