Council for Social Foundations of Education
Education is a social process.  
Education is growth.   
Education is, not a preparation for life;   
education is life itself.   

-John Dewey  
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CSFE Standards
For Academic and Professional Instruction
In Foundations of Education Educational Studies
And Educational Policy Studies


This Second Edition of the Standards for Academic and Professional Instruction in Foundations of Education, Educational Studies, and Educational Policy Studies is presented to the educational community by the Council of Learned Societies in Education (CLSE) on behalf of the Council’s twenty member societies. The Standards were first developed and published in 1977-1978 by the American Educational Studies Association, and CLSE assumed proprietorship and responsibility for dissemination and advocacy of the Standards following adoption of the document by each of its member societies in the early 1980s. In 1986, the original Standards were republished with a new introduction by CLSE through Prakken Publications and the resulting booklet was widely circulated at colleges of education, state departments of education, and national accreditation agencies. In response to recent developments in the field of teacher preparation, licensure, and assessment, CLSE has revised the Standards sufficiently to warrant publication of this Second Edition in 1996.

Purposes of the Standards

The original Standards were designed to inform evaluation criteria published by national, regional, and state accreditation agencies, state departments of education, local education agencies, teacher centers, and teacher organizations. The standards therefore included treatments of each of the following professional education components: (1) Initial teacher certification; (2) Professional development (in-service education); (3) Non-foundations graduate degrees and programs; (4) Graduate degrees and programs offered jointly by foundations and other faculty; (5) Masters and educational specialist degrees and programs in the foundations; (6) Preparation of faculty; and (7) Professional development of faculty. This Second Edition continues to address these major components while providing greater emphasis on defining the foundations of education and on foundational studies in preparation of such school professionals as psychologists, counselors, and administrators. A new standard was created to capture this emphasis, bringing the total to eight. The underlying assumption for the Standards in each of these areas is that important correlations exist among educators’ professional and scholarly qualifications, professional judgments, and professional performance, even though the last cannot appropriately be reduced to a prescribed set of behaviors or standardized performance levels. Good program assessment requires informed judgment, and the Standards are designed to assist qualified professionals in making sound and helpful judgments about program quality. The ultimate purpose of the Standards, in turn, is to promote quality instruction and learning in foundational studies to guarantee to the extent possible that students have opportunities to acquire interpretive, normative, and critical perspectives on education through rigorous study and field experiences.

Role of the Humanities and Social Sciences

At the time the Standards were first developed, it was considered important to affirm clearly the important role of the humanities and social sciences in preparing educational professionals and to address the failure of accreditation criteria to distinguish between the social and behavioral sciences in foundational studies. Thus, the original Standards emphasized that instruction in the behavioral sciences, usually represented by foundational studies in Educational Psychology, was not an acceptable substitute for foundational studies in the humanities and social sciences. The Second Edition sustains this conviction. As tomorrow’s educators are called upon to exercise sensitive judgments amidst competing cultural and educational values and beliefs, they will continue to need studies in the ethical, philosophical, historical, and cultural foundations of education to inform their decisions. The Standards were first developed partly to resist an emphasis, growing in the 1970s, on a narrowly behaviorist, competency-based evaluation movement in education. In the 1990s, this behaviorist emphasis has been replaced by a diversity of approaches to evaluation in education and, more specifically, in teacher education. What is prominent amidst this diversity, however, is the growing consensus that more systematic and theoretically sound assessment of teachers and teacher preparation programs is a necessary component of educational improvement in this country. The last decade has witnessed the establishment of a National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS), for example, and the decision by the great majority of states to establish formal partnership agreements with the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE). In addition, the newly established Interstate New Teacher Assessment and Support Consortium (INTASC) has established formal relations with NBPTS and NCATE, and a number of states have adapted INTASC principles to state-level teacher assessment. Whether these organizations will have their intended impact on the teaching profession remains to be seen, but it is reasonable to conclude that the standards they establish for professional preparation programs and for what teachers should know and be able to do will have consequences for what is included in, and omitted from, teacher preparation programs and curricula. In the late 1980s, recognition of the growing emphasis on evaluation of teachers and teacher preparation programs led CLSE to organize support among member societies for affiliation as a member of NCATE and a voting seat on one of NCATE’s five governing boards (Executive, Unit Accreditation, State Partnership, Specialty Area Studies, and Appeals). CLSE has exercised its voice vigorously and effectively in NCATE deliberations and decision-making since the early 1990s.

Deliberations of CLSE Task Force

CLSE formed a Task Force in 1992 to re-examine the Standards in light of the changing assessment climate in teacher education. The charge to the Task Force was to consider the extent to which the Standards adequately reflected the issues being debated in national credentialing and accreditation forums and among member societies of CLSE with regard to the role of the foundations in teacher education, and to recommend changes where necessary. The Task Force deliberations were assisted by special issues of Teachers College Record (Vol. 91, No. 3, Spring 1990) and Educational Foundations (Vol. 7, No. 4, Fall 1993), both devoted to re-examination of the role of the foundations in teacher preparation. This Second Edition of the Standards is the result of broad consultation by the Task Force with and among member societies of CLSE. The revisions presented here preserve the strengths of the original edition of the Standards, while further clarifying the role and nature of foundational studies in professional preparation programs. CLSE anticipates that this Second Edition will be of valuable assistance not only to those seeking to evaluate teachers and teacher preparation and development programs, but also to anyone engaged in preparing educators to understand and respond to the social contexts that give meaning to education itself—both in and out of schools.

A Concluding Word

The ultimate purpose of these Standards is to promote quality instruction and learning in foundational studies as a means to guarantee to the extent possible that teachers have preservice and professional development opportunities to acquire interpretive, normative, and critical perspectives on education through rigorous study and supervised field experiences. While different approaches are possible, that overarching objective provides the fundamental criterion for assessing foundational studies.