Teacher Ed Programs at A&M International Get Thumbs Up

Teacher education programs at Texas A&M International University have been singled out for accreditation by the State Board for Educator Certification (SBEC).

Over 40 percent of the State's teacher certification programs, 35 institutions, failed to meet new State accreditation standards, according to the first report by the SBEC, known as the "Accountability System for Educator Preparation."

The program graded 12 education service centers, four school districts and 69 universities. Among programs not accredited were those by the University of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio and Sul Ross State University in Uvalde. Only 50 programs statewide met the new SBEC standards.

News of A&M International's accreditation was received by the University Sept. 1 based on student scores on ExCET exams over two academic years submitted in June.

Mark Littleton, SBEC Executive Director, in written comments praised the University, congratulating "contributing to the Board's mission to 'ensure the highest level of educator preparation and practice to achieve student excellence,' " Littleton wrote.

University president Dr. Charles Jennett said the accreditation stands as a testament to hard work by faculty and students.

"This is a clear indication of faculty commitment to student success and to student commitment to doing their best. This speaks highly of these students' readiness to assume teaching positions in our community and beyond and helps to assure that the young students they will teach will have dynamic, qualified instruction," Dr. Jennett said.

Dr. Rosa Maria Vida, dean of the College of Education, concurred and said she is glad to see the programs' excellence being recognized.

"This is a significant accomplishment, and one that both faculty and students share in. Both faculty and students are committed to these programs and that commitment was seen by the SBEC. Just last week we learned that our new Superintendency Program was also accredited, so we're on cloud nine," Dr. Vida said.

Programs that passed the SBEC standard had to meet at least a 70 percent first-time pass rate on ExCET exams taken in the past academic year, or 80 percent cumulative pass rate on ExCET exams of experienced test takers over a two academic year-period.

The accountability system for educators was authorized in 1995 when the Legislature passed Senate Bill 1, a rewrite of the Texas Education Code.

Those institutions not accredited will first receive assistance from Texas Education Association (TEA) teams and later may have monitors assigned to them. They will have three years to improve or risk losing accreditation or having programs terminated. Once a program is terminated, no new students can enter the program and they must continue their studies elsewhere, according to the SBEC.

For additional information on accredited teacher education programs at Texas A&M International University, please contact the College of Education at 956.326.2420.

University office hours are from 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. Monday-Friday.

Journalists who need additional information or help with media requests and interviews should contact the Office of Public Affairs and Information Services at pais@tamiu.edu