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CEC Program Review and National Recognition

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About the Process

CEC Program Review and National Recognition

Special educator preparation programs may seek National Recognition from the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) as part of the the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) Accreditation Process.

Programs in states requiring specialized professional association (SPA) program review with National Recognition or programs that choose to participate in SPA review will submit their SPA report at least three years in advance of their CAEP site visit and in consultation with CAEP staff.

The program will submit evidence using CEC’s program report templates (or shells) for each content area and degree level. The evidence will describe candidates’ performance on a set of key assessments that demonstrate meeting the CEC's Standards.

    CEC Program Review and National Recognition is available in the following areas for programs who pursue the SPA Program Review Option during their CAEP Accreditation process: 

    1. Initial Professional Preparation Standards
    2. Advanced Professional Preparation Standards
    3. Initial Gifted Educator Preparation Standards
    4. Preparation for Advanced Gifted Education Roles
    5. 2020 Initial Practice-Based Professional Preparation Standards for Special Educators (Initial K-12 Standards)
    6. Initial Practice-Based Professional Preparation Standards for Early Interventionists/Early Childhood Special Educators (EI/ECSE)

    Two sets of CEC Standards have been approved in Spring 2021. The 2020 Initial K-12 Practice -Based Professional Preparation Standards for Special Educators and the Initial Practice-Based Professional Preparation Standards for Early Interventionists/Early Childhood Special Educators (EI/ECSE) have been approved for use in SPA Program Review as of Spring 2021.

    The 2020 Initial K-12 Practice -Based Professional Preparation Standards for Special Educators are a revision to the 2012 Initial Standard and include updated standard and component statements and a narrowed focus on preparing educators who will be working with students in kindergarten through 12th grade.

    The Initial Practice-Based Professional Preparation Standards for Early Interventionists/Early Childhood Special Educators (EI/ECSE) represent the first standards to focus specifically on the preparation of professionals who work with young children ages birth through 8 who have or are at-risk for developmental delays and disabilities and their families, across home, classroom and community settings.

    In the event an initial program prepares P-12 Educators, a program will use the following criteria to determine which set of initial standards are applicable: 

    • If the program prepares B through 8 years – use the EI/ECSE standards 
    • If the program prepares Pre-K through 12 (or some grade) – use EI/ECSE for the 3-8 portion of the program 
    • If the program prepares B-5 years or KG – use the EI/ECSE Standards 
    • If the program prepares K-12 or K-12+ – use the Initial K12 Special Educator Standards 

    The 2012 Initial standards are applicable to program reports submitted through Fall 2022. Fall 2022 will be the last opportunity for programs to submit initial reports using the 2012 Initial CEC Standards.

    Initial Report Submission Cycle Which Standards to Submit for an Initial Report
    Fall 2021 2012 or 2020 Initial K12 Standards; 2012 Advanced; 2020 EI/ECSE Standards
    Spring 2022 2012 or 2020 Initial K12 Standards; 2012 Advanced Standards; 2020 EI/ECSE Standards
    Fall 2022 2012 or 2020 Initial K12 Standards; 2012 Advanced Standards; 2020 EI/ECSE Standards
    Spring 2023 2020 Initial K12 Standards; 2012 Advanced Standards; 2020 EI/ECSE Standards

    VIEW THE CEC PROGRAM REPORT FAQ

    Click here for a flowchart demonstrating determining which level of standards and specialty set to use.

    Partnership with CAEP

    For our program recognition work, we partner with the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP). Both the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) and CAEP view the foundation of a strong profession as a shared body of specialized knowledge and skill based on research and public confidence that professionals are prepared to practice. 

    VIEW PROGRAMS

    For Programs

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    Resources for programs pursuing national recognition.

    Volunteer Reviewers

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    Resources for volunteer program reviewers.

    Gifted Preparation Program Recognition

    In March 2018, CEC, in collaboration with The Association for the Gifted (TAG), became the Specialized Professional Association (SPA) of record for gifted educator preparation programs, which will allow teacher preparation programs to continue to seek National Recognition through the CAEP accreditation process.

    To learn more about high-quality gifted education preparation, check out CEC’s Initial and Advanced Gifted Education Professional Standards.

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