Educator Preparation

Guidelines for Program Approval

Massachusetts uses a rigorous outcomes-based system to evaluate educator preparation programs. Our Guidelines Download Word Document explain the standards and procedures required for Sponsoring Organizations to attain approval to prepare educators in the Commonwealth. Sponsoring Organizations must demonstrate their capabilities in each of six domains: Organization, Partnerships, Continuous Improvement, Candidate, Field-Based Experiences, and Instruction. Each Domain contains its own set of criteria Download Word Document that requires evidence of impact. In summary, DESE expects our prep program completers to be ready on day one to effectively teach and lead in high-needs placements.

It is important to note that the Guidelines Download Word Document encourage development of deep partnerships between educator preparation programs and school districts and charter schools. The shared responsibility for teacher candidate success increases the likelihood that effective, qualified, and dynamic individuals will seek licensure and employment as educators in Massachusetts.

During the review process, DESE collects and reports data such as educator evaluation ratings, program graduates' impact in producing growth in student learning, employment, and stakeholder survey data. By collecting and analyzing these data, DESE identifies strong programs worthy of recognition and replication, guides program improvement, and also closes programs that are failing to produce the types of educators required for the needs of Massachusetts' schools. We publish our overview analysis of each review cycle in our annual Formal Review Culminating Report.

To support organizations' understanding of the Guidelines, we offer a Toolkit and an Eval Tool Criteria List Download Word Document. If you have any questions, please contact

Download Word Document
Guidelines for Program Approval (Updated November 2016)

Development of the Guidelines

The updated Guidelines were initiated by the amendments to the Regulations for Educator Licensure and Preparation Program Approval, 603 CMR 7.00, passed by the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education in June 2012. The revised regulations improved instruction in the Commonwealth by supporting educators through every stage of their career. The revisions also streamlined the regulations and enabled DESE to update the detailed indicators for each program approval standard based on research and best practices. Periodic updates to indicators involve consultation with the field and with state and national experts, including the Council of Chief State School Officers' State Consortium on Educator Effectiveness (SCEE) in which we participate.

Contact Us

Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
75 Pleasant Street, Malden, MA 02148-4906

Voice: (781) 338-3000
TTY: (800) 439-2370


Disclaimer: A reference in this website to any specific commercial products, processes, or services, or the use of any trade, firm, or corporation name is for the information and convenience of the public and does not constitute endorsement or recommendation by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.