AIKEN -- The University of South Carolina Aiken is one of the latest universities to have its education school recognized by the nation's leading accreditation board.
The announcement came Wednesday, when educators were told the department had been cleared by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education, ending three years of preparation.
The council is the accrediting organization for schools, colleges and education departments in the United States. It judges teacher-training programs on how well their students do, how carefully curricula are planned, faculty caliber, and resource availability.
USC Aiken is one of 40 schools to receive initial or continuing accreditation by the council in its most recent round of decisions, making it one of 500 nationwide. It's the initial accreditation for USC Aiken, which will be re-evaluated in five years for continuing status.
The Aiken campus is the third in the University of South Carolina system recognized by the national council. USC's Columbia and Spartanburg campuses also are accredited.
Augusta State, Georgia State and Georgia Southern universities are accredited by the group.
The council's stamp of approval means:
New teacher candidates know their subject matter and the most effective ways to teach it.
USC Aiken's School of Education has undergone rigorous external review and its programs meet standards set by the teaching profession.
Candidate performance is thoroughly assessed throughout the program and before candidates are recommended for licensing.
The campus' education department graduates 100 to 130 teacher candidates each year. Of that pool, at least 93 percent pass National Teacher Exams on the first try.
Wednesday's announcement brings to two the university's schools that are nationally accredited by their specialty organizations. The other is the School of Nursing. The School of Business is undergoing accreditation.
Reach Chasiti Kirkland at (803) 279-6895.