How are schools accredited

Accreditation

Like most other federal states, the state of North Rhine-Westphalia has replaced the first state examination as a quality assurance element at the end of a teaching degree with accreditation procedures.

The legal basis is regulated in Section 11 of the Teacher Training Act, but formal and content-related requirements for teacher training courses have also been specified, e.g.

  • Teaching-specific elements already in the Bachelor's degree
  • Final module exams in the master’s
  • Elementary and special educational focus in educational sciences for the primary school teaching position
  • a three-month stay abroad while studying modern foreign languages
  • and, last but not least, compliance with the nationwide agreements between the federal states for teacher training, such as the KMK standards for teaching subjects.

Further state requirements to be observed when setting up and accrediting a teacher training course are listed in the teaching training access ordinance, such as

  • the possible subject combinations for the various teaching posts
  • the scope of subject didactics per subject
  • proof of foreign language skills
  • vocational education for teaching at vocational colleges
  • the obligation to implement inclusion-oriented questions in the course of every subject
  • the goals and contents of the practical phases (aptitude and orientation internship, professional field internship and practical semester).

In the case of (program) accreditation, a course (e.g. biology) or several technically related (teaching) courses (e.g. biology, chemistry, physics, natural sciences) are assessed in writing by experts after an on-site inspection.

The expert group is composed of

  • Specialists in the subjects to be accredited (usually professors from another federal state)
  • a student representative
  • a representative of professional practice (usually a specialist manager)
  • a representative of the Ministry of Schools and Education (usually an adviser from the State Examination Office).

The final report evaluates in particular

  • the objectives of the course
  • the quality of the curriculum
  • the studyability
  • the professional field orientation
  • human and material resources
  • quality assurance.

The listed deficiencies must have been remedied prior to formal accreditation. The Ministry of Schools and Education must be involved in the accreditation of a teacher training course and give its formal approval. The accompanying quality assurance takes place through reaccreditation - with the same procedure - after six years at the latest.

On the homepage of the Accreditation Council you can view a database of all accredited and re-accredited teacher training courses at universities.

Since 2018, accreditations have been based on an agreement between all federal states, the study accreditation treaty. The Kultusministerkonferenz (KMK) is based on this in its model ordinance with regard to the formalities of accreditation procedures.

For North Rhine-Westphalia, the NRW Study Accreditation Ordinance regulates the individual procedural steps, the institutions to be involved (ministries, universities, agencies) and persons (experts, representatives of professional practice, student representatives) and the decision-making processes. In these modified procedures, too, the state examination office for teaching posts is usually commissioned by the Ministry of Schools and Education to participate.