NCATE Blue Ribbon Panel Report


National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education. (2010, November). Transforming

teacher education through clinical practice: A national strategy to prepare effective teachers. Washington, DC: Blue Ribbon Panel on Clinical Preparation and Partnerships for Improved Student Learning.



This panel calls for a paradigmatic shift in teacher preparation. They call for programs to be clinically-based, which places a greater emphasis on the clinical experience. They outline principles of these programs and ways in which it can be actualized. 


The call:

·      “To prepare effective teachers for 21st century classrooms, teacher education must shift away from a norm which emphasizes academic preparation and course work loosely linked to school-based experiences. Rather, it must move to programs that are fully grounded in clinical practice and interwoven with academic content and professional courses (p. ii).”

·      Call for partnerships that have shared decision making for teacher preparation

·      To create an excellent programmatic system for teacher preparation

They don’t say this directly, but indirectly the BRP wants teacher education programs to address school needs and positively impact student learning. That is a paradigmatic shift in focus from the teacher candidate to the P-12 student.

To actualize this call requires re-thinking structures and roles in clinical preparation.

Ten Design Principles to Actualize the Call:

1.     More Rigorous Accountability

a.     Stricter and more rigorous NCATE accountability and standards

b.     Accountability for school-based outcomes so that schools are invested in the process

c.     Link candidate evaluation of performance to student learning

d.     Program accountability – similar standards for all

2.     Strengthening Candidate Selection and Placement

a.     Call for the “teaching hospital” model using in medicine to be applied to teacher preparation

b.     Increase rigor and standards for admittance into teacher preparation programs

c.     Increased opportunities and experiences in “hard-to-staff” schools

3.     Revamping Curricula, Incentives, and Staffing

a.     They place a focus on clinical faculty and call for more recognition of this role in academia. These individuals should also be “highly qualified” (although they do not use that term specifically. They use “rigorous criteria” for the selection process.

b.     Integrating coursework with school experiences

c.     Focus on helping candidates develop skills to make data-informed decisions

d.     Developing better reward structures for university faculty – working in schools needs to be valued. Universities also need to rethink and reduce structural barriers such as course schedules, etc that inhibit clinically-based programs

e.     Supporting the professional learning of clinical education faculty

                                               i.     “At minimum, clinical faculty must be experienced and highly competent teachers, and also have the skills and knowledge to help others learn to be effective teachers (p. 21).”

                                             ii.     Call for identifying the specific skills and attributes of clinical faculty (RELATES TO MY RESEARCH)

f.      Clinical faculty, coaches, and mentors (HOW ARE THESE DIFFERENT? THEY DON’T DEFINE EACH!) need to be qualified

4.     Supporting Partnerships

a.     Call for more funding so that partnerships are appropriately funded

b.     Incentives for meeting school district needs

c.     Incentives for producing more effective teachers for high needs schools

d.     Supporting and creating new hybrid (my word) roles

e.     Innovative funding

5.     Expanding the Knowledge Base to Identify What Works and Support Continuous Improvement

a.     Call for research on clinical education because the research base on effective practices is limited.

b.     Funding focused on building the research base and identifying exceptional programs

c.     Share results nationally by creating a data network

Because these kinds of programs may cost more, the report calls for changes in funding – funding could/should be shared between schools and universities. These programs would reduce turnover and prepare better teachers for the districts in which they serve during the preparation process.

·      Teachers need skills in collaboration, communication, and problem-solving.

·      Preparing teachers requires a shared responsibility among institutions of higher education and their preparation programs, school districts, teachers, and policy makers

·      When schools and universities work together, teachers are better and more appropriately prepared to face “the realities of teaching” and schools are able to hire better prepared and effective teachers.

The cite the continuum for partnership development from the NCATE (2001) Standards for Professional Development Schools:



·      We should draw upon and learn from the medical model of preparation as we endeavor to re-envision teacher preparation.

·      Troubles of clinical preparation:

o   Poorly defined

o   Poorly funded

o   Lack of consistency of this program across states – some states require PDS while some states do not even require a field experience

o   Under valued

Ten Design Principles for Clinical Preparation

1.     Focus on student learning

2.     Integrating clinical preparation

a.     “The core experience in teacher preparation is clinical practice. Content and pedagogy are woven around clinical experiences throughout preparation, in course work, in laboratory-based experiences, and in school-embedded practice (p. 5).”

3.     Data based evaluations of teacher candidates

a.     This data includes student data to determine effectiveness and observational data

4.     Developing teachers who are content experts, innovators, collaborators, and problem solvers

5.     Preparation occurs in an interactive, professional community

a.     That means a collaborative environment

b.     Peers engage in reviewing each other’s practice

6.     Highly qualified clinical educators and coaches

a.     “Those who lead the next generation of teachers throughout their preparation and induction must themselves be effective practitioners, skilled in differentiating instruction, proficient in using assessment to monitor learning and provide feedback, persistent searchers for data to guide and adjust practice, and exhibitors of the skills of clinical educators. They should be specially certified, accountable for their candidates’ performance and student outcomes, and commensurately rewarded to serve in this crucial role (p. 6).”

7.     Better funding to appropriately support these kinds of rigorous preparation programs

8.     Focus on technology

9.     Focus on rigorous programmatic research and development

10.  Focus on creating partnerships


NCATE calls for clinically-based programs, and here is how they define those:

“In clinically based programs, preparation programs learn more directly what they need to know about what schools really need and they enable districts to hire new teachers who are prepared to be effective in their schools. In these programs, teacher preparation can more fully incorporate practitioner knowledge through the development of clinical faculty 12 (pp. 7-8).”

NCATE identifies the following strategies for preparing candidates (MY THOUGHTS – Could these be signature pedagogies?)

·      Community mapping exercises to acclimate candidates to the surrounding community

·      The use of case studies of individual children and situations

·      NSRF protocols to structure conversations

·      Action research

·      Developing an inquiry stance

·      Instructional rounds

·      “Defense of Learning” – candidates make a presentation as a capstone experience that defends their learning

·      (MY THOUGHTS – I would add co-teaching as a signature pedagogy, too)

The Vision:



“Effective practitioners learn these abilities through professional study and by mastering their profession’s knowledge base, skills and dispositions of practice (p. 27).”



·      National Research Council Report – Preparing Teachers: Building Evidence for Sound Policy