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List of candidate dispositions

Including fairness and the belief that all students can learn, and related assessments, scoring guides, and data

Candidate Dispositions  

Until Spring 2011, FSEHD aligned curriculum/instruction with and assessed the following dispositions:

  • Self-Reflection:  Exhibits healthy self-awareness and self-confidence, seeks feedback from multiple perspectives and makes appropriate adjustments, has goal clarity, self-monitors progress, demonstrates sound judgment, is insightful.
  • Lifelong Learning:  Is intellectually curious and/or creative, is enthusiastic about learning, upgrades knowledge and skills regularly, takes initiative and is self-motivated, is imaginative and resourceful, manifests pride in one's work.
  • Advocacy for Children and Youth: Promotes practices that facilitate the healthy development of children and youth, holds high and achievable expectations for students, advocates for the well-being of students in schools, demonstrates ability to communicate effectively with children and youth, manifests respect toward students, listens and is responsive to students.
  • Respect for Diversity: Displays commitment to teach all students, welcomes diverse viewpoints and is open minded, manifests sensitivity to the needs and values of diverse learners, establishes rapport and communicates well with diverse audiences, is adaptable to change, seeks to understand cultures of students and their families.
  • Collaboration: Works well with others, is trusting and trustworthy, exhibits highly developed interpersonal skills, uses feedback constructively, is socially tactful, and demonstrates strong communication skills.
  • Professional Work Characteristics: Demonstrates good organization skills, completes quality work in timely manner, is reliable and dependable, works hard and is thorough, behaves in an ethical manner, presents self professionally.

The unit's dispositions were completely revised in 2009-2010, initially in response to faculty input suggesting that the unit's dispositions did not represent faculty consensus.  Furthermore, a validity study conducted by the Director of Assessment of the unit's procedures for assessing candidate dispositions revealed that the Teacher Candidate Dispositions Assessment had poor content and construct validity, as well as other psychometric issues.  Thus, the Director of Assessment and the Assessment and Program Improvement Committee began working to revise the unit's dispositions in Spring 2009.  The following assumptions guided the process of developing revised unit Professional Dispositions:  1) Professional Dispositions are professional attitudes, values, and beliefs demonstrated through verbal and non-verbal behaviors; 2) Professional Dispositions are linked to the unit's Conceptual Framework; 3) Professional Dispositions are not assessed directly; rather, they are assessed based on observable verbal and non-verbal behaviors in college classroom and field settings.  Based on a iterative process involving multiple rounds of input from FSEHD faculty and cooperating teachers, the unit adopted the following professional dispositions which are aligned to the unit's Conceptual Framework:

  • PASSION FOR LEARNING:  Committed to continuous learning; enthusiastic about one's content area(s)/discipline(s); willing to learn new knowledge and skills  (Conceptual Framework:  KNOWLEDGE)
  • ADAPTABILITY:  Values flexibility and reciprocity; believes that plans must be open to adjustment and revision; values ongoing assessment; committed to refining practice. (Conceptual Framework:  PEDAGOGY/PRACTICE)
  • COMMITMENT TO EQUITY:  Respects constituents as diverse individuals; disposed to use constituent strengths as basis for growth; appreciates multiple perspectives; is fair*; believes all constituents can learn/advance (Conceptual Framework:  DIVERSITY)
  • CARING NATURE / CONCERN FOR OTHERS:  Concerned about all aspects of constituents' well-being; is willing to consult with others and receive help to promote constituent well-being; respectful of others' privacy and confidentiality (Conceptual Framework:  PROFESSIONALISM)
  • WORK ETHIC:  Reliable and trustworthy; takes pride in one's work; responsible for one's actions; has integrity; is willing to take initiative, follow through, and work cooperatively  (Conceptual Framework:  PROFESSIONALISM)

Each disposition is listed by a list of attitudinal descriptors.  The Commitment to Equity disposition includes NCATE's specification that fairness and the belief that all children can learn be incorporated among unit dispositions.

Assessment of Candidate Dispositions

While revised dispositions were adopted in Fall 2009, it took time to arrive at consensus on how and they should be assessed.  Hence, the existing, “traditional” dispositions assessments were retained until Spring 2011.  These included*:

* Assessments/scoring guides are hyperlinked to this document.

Until Spring 2011, reporting on candidate dispositions centered on data derived from these existing, “traditional” dispositions assessments.

As of Spring 2011, revised dispositions assessments have been implemented at the initial teacher preparation level.  These include*:

* Assessments/scoring guides/alignment documents are hyperlinked to this document.

Based on the observable behaviors identified by faculty and cooperating teachers as indicative of unit dispositions in the college classroom, the committee developed a draft instrument in Spring 2010 for the assessment of dispositions indicators that can be observed in the college classroom.  The format of the Assessment of Candidate Dispositions in the College Classroom is semantic differential, meaning that assessment items are designed to measure the direction (e.g., positive vs. negative) and intensity (slight through extreme) of candidate dispositions (as manifested through observable behaviors) in terms of ratings on scales with contrasting behaviors at each end.  The Assessment of Candidate Dispositions in the College Classroom is to be administered for unit assessment at the following times Admission in FNED 346 and at Preparing to Teach in all methods or practicum courses (with just one being submitted to the unit). 

During the dispositions assessment development process, the alignment of the revised dispositions with existing unit assessments conducting in field settings (Mini Work Sample and Implemented Lesson Plan at Preparing to Teach and Teacher Candidate Work Sample and Observation and Progress Report at Exit) was examined in detail.  It was concluded that considerable alignment existed.  In other words, the indicators in existing unit assessments reflected the same behaviors that faculty and cooperating teachers identified as demonstrating unit dispositions.  The unit thus decided that no new instrument needed be developed for assessment of dispositions in field settings at the Preparing to Teach and Exit transition points.  Rather, relevant indicators from the Mini Work Sample, Implemented Lesson Plan, TCWS and OPR have been coded to the dispositions.  Reporting on candidate dispositions in field settings at Preparing to Teach and Exit be derived from these existing assessments, beginning in Spring 2011.

In order to gather baseline data on candidate dispositions in the field at Admission, FNED 346 field evaluators assess applicant dispositions via the Professionalism indicators from the Observation and Progress Report (used at Exit), beginning in Spring 2011.  This Supervisor Reference Form: Assessment of Candidate Dispositions in Field Settings includes an overall recommendation from the assessor:  Recommended for admission to FSEHD; Recommended with reservations and concerns; or Not recommended for admission to FSEHD.

Reporting on the assessment of revised unit dispositions will commence following the Spring 2011 semester.

With the re-filling of the FSEHD Director of Graduate Studies position in Spring 2010, there are now sufficient human resources to re-examine the assessment of candidate dispositions at the advanced level.  In particular, format and timing of the assessment of advanced candidates' dispositions is currently under discussion.

Dispositions Data

Initial Teacher Preparation Programs- Original Dispositions

Candidates' dispositions are evaluated by college faculty and service learning supervisors at admission.  Prior to Spring 2011, candidate dispositions were assessed via the Disposition Reference Form that had been in effect since 2007.  The 12 items on this form were designed to assess the following dispositions: Professional Work Characteristics, Collaboration, Respect for Diversity, Advocacy for Children and Youth, Lifelong Learning, and Self-Reflection.  Over the three years, mean dispositions ratings of applicants by FNED 346 faculty ranged from 3.1 to 3.6 on a scale of 1 (low) to 4 (high).   Mean disposition ratings awarded by service learning supervisors are consistently “near perfect,” ranging from 3.7 to 3.9 on the same scale.  Figure 1 displays the distribution of mean dispositions ratings by the two groups of evaluators over three years and highlights the fact that service learning supervisors' ratings were consistently higher than those of FSEHD faculty.  These findings were one of the reasons that the assessment of candidate dispositions at admission has been revised.  The new assessment dispositions instruments have been designed with clearer indicators and rating scales so that the evaluator has the opportunity to discriminate more among possible ratings. 

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Figure 1 :  Mean Disposition Ratings of Faculty and Service Learning Supervisors

Using faculty ratings of applicants, which are probably more realistic and discriminating than service learning supervisors' ratings, item means were averaged over three years to examine whether new FSEHD candidates were stronger in some dispositional areas than others.  As shown in Figure 2, results indicate that FSEHD faculty perceived applicants to be strongest in Self-Reflection, Lifelong Learning, and Advocacy for Children and Youth, with means ranging from 3.42 to 3.47. In contrast, applicants Professional Work Characteristics were rated markedly lower, with a mean of 3.27. Nevertheless, faculty ratings of applicants on all dispositions exceed 3.0 on a four point scale, indicating that they viewed applicants' dispositions positively.

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Figure 2 :  Mean Disposition Ratings at Admission, 2008-2011

At Preparing to Teach, both faculty members and candidates rated performance in the FSEHD dispositional areas quite positively, with mean scores for the frequency with which candidates display the dispositions consistently falling between “frequently” and “almost always”. While candidates consistently rate themselves higher than faculty ratings, the difference is minute and both sets of ratings are quite high with an overall average rating of 3.70 out of 4.0 (see Table ). 


Table 1:  Self and Faculty Disposition Evaluation Mean Scores at Preparing to Teach by Question, 2008-2010
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The Student Teaching Final Evaluation has been used to provide opportunity for cooperating teachers to assess candidates' professional dispositions.  In this evaluation candidates were assessed on the six categories of dispositions:  self-reflection, lifelong learning, advocacy for children and youth, respect for diversity, collaboration, and professional work characteristics.  As one can see in Figure 3, cooperating teachers typically provided a very high overall dispositions rating.  While the survey prompted cooperating teachers to rate teacher candidates on 12 different dispositional indicators, little variability between indicators was present.  In an effort to collect more meaningful data, candidate dispositions in field placements are now assessed through the Student Teaching Observation and Progress Report and through the Teacher Candidate Work Sample.  The expectations for FSEHD dispositions have been revised with faculty and cooperating teacher input and a semantic differential tool has been developed to assess candidate dispositions in the college classroom. 

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Figure 3 :  Trends in Candidate Performance:  Student Teaching Final Evaluation

Initial Teacher Preparation Programs- Revised Dispositions

In an effort to collect more meaningful data, FSEHD has developed new dispositions and dispositions assessments. FSEHD is in the beginning stages of assessing the Revised Dispositions  of its initial candidates. Assessment of Candidate Dispositions in the College Classroom data are available from only one cohort of pilot candidates at the Preparing to Teach Point.  Data from a small pilot group (n=5) indicates high performance on the Revised Dispositions. While adequate in terms of overall performance, an area with higher variability than others is Work Ethic, specifically taking initiative to get things going in class, as opposed to waiting for others to do so. Comprehensive reporting on Revised Dispositions performance at Admissions, Preparing to Teach, and at Exit will commence at the conclusion of Spring 2011.

Advanced Programs

When a candidate applies to a FSEHD advanced program, referees are asked to rate applicants in the advanced programs reference forms using the following scale:  1 = below average; 2 = average; 3 = above average; 4 = high level.  The following indicators are evaluated in these forms:

  • Capacity for insight (Self-Reflection)
  • Clarity of goals (Self-Reflection)
  • Intellectual curiosity (Lifelong Learning)
  • Motivation and initiative (Lifelong Learning)
  • Rapport with children and youth (Advocacy for Children and Youth)
  • Rapport with adults (Advocacy for Children and Youth)
  • Emotional stability (Respect for Diversity)
  • Adaptability to change (Respect for Diversity)
  • Reliability and dependability (Professional Work Characteristics)
  • Ability to organize ideas or tasks (Professional Work Characteristics)
  • Oral and written communication skills (Collaboration)
  • Overall potential

On all indicators except #5, Rapport with Children and Youth, referees ratings ranged from 3.5 to 3.9 over all three years.  In contrast, it is worthy of note that mean ratings on indicator #5, Rapport with Children and Youth, were significant lower during each time period:  3.1 in 2008-2009, 3.1 in 2009-2010, and 2.9 in 2010-2011. Given that the majority of advanced programs applicants intend to work with children and youth, it would be interesting to explore why those that are admitted score lower in this area than in all others. 

Figure 4 displays mean ratings on all indicators over the three year period. On average, applicants scored higher in Overall Potential than in all other areas (mean=3.83), followed by Motivation and Initiative and Reliability and Dependability (mean=3.8). As mentioned previously, Rapport with Children and Youth received the lowest mean rating (mean=3.0).  The next lowest rated indicators were Clarity of Goals, Emotional Stability, and Adaptability to change, with mean ratings over three years of 3.6.

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Figure 4 : Reference Form Mean Scores of Advanced Program Applicants, 2008-2011

Applying the dispositions indicators evaluated in the reference forms for admission to FSEHD advanced programs to the dispositions with which they align, it becomes evident that candidates admitted to advanced programs enter strongest in dispositions related to Lifelong Learning and Professional work characteristics (see Table 2).  In contrast, they clearly are weakest (although still rated above average) in Advocacy for Children and Youth.

Table 2:  Mean Dispositions Ratings at Admission to Advanced Programs, 2008-2011

FSEHD Disposition

Mean Rating

Lifelong Learning

3.75

Professional Work Characteristics

3.73

Respect for Diversity

3.60

Self-Reflection

3.58

Collaboration

3.56

Advocacy for Children and Youth

3.35

 

At the formative and summative transition points, assessment of advanced candidates' dispositions has taken place via the unit's Formative and Summative Self and Faculty Evaluations.  The items on each version of the forms are identical and differ only in terms of the point of view of the evaluator (candidate or faculty) and time frame (formative or summative).  The items on the forms are aligned both with the original Advanced Competencies and the unit's original dispositions as displayed in Table 3:

Table 3: Alignment of Self and Faculty Evaluation Items with Dispositions and Advanced Competencies


ITEM

ADVANCED COMPETENCY

DISPOSITION(S)

  • Reflects on issues of student development from a biological or psychological perspective                                       

Diversity:  systems view of human development

Self-reflection
Respect for diversity

  • Reflects on issues of student development from a social or cultural perspective                                                

Diversity:  systems view of human development

Self-reflection
Respect for diversity

  • Frames learning within a cultural or individual differences model                                                              

Diversity:  individual differences

Self-reflection
Respect for diversity

  • Understands cultures of students and their families

Diversity:  family centeredness and engagement

Respect for diversity

  • Communicates well with families whose background differs from one's own                                                

Diversity:  family centeredness and engagement

Collaboration
Respect for diversity

  • Engages families in collaborative decision-making                                                                          

Diversity:  family centeredness and engagement

Collaboration
Advocacy for children and youth

  • Behaves in an ethical manner

Professionalism:  professional ethics

Professional work characteristics

  • Presents self professionally                                                     

Professionalism:  professional ethics

Professional work characteristics

  • Exhibits effective interpersonal skills                                              

Professionalism:  collaboration

Collaboration

  • Practices collaborative problem-solving and reflection

Professionalism:  collaboration

Collaboration

  • Communicates a professional vision and works with others toward shared goals              

Professionalism:  leadership

Professional work characteristics
Collaboration

  • Takes responsibility for one's own professional development     

Professionalism:  professional development

Lifelong learning

Trends in the data reflect similar performance ratings from both candidates and faculty members (see Figure 5).  While there is little variability in the scores across the three semesters of collected data, performance on all diversity indicators (and aligned dispositions) was rated at an average score in the Adequately Developing range with lowest mean scores ranging between 3.12 and 3.38.  Patterns of strengths and weaknesses among faculty ratings were not clear but among self-assessments by candidates, indicator 6, “Engages families in collaborative decision-making” was consistently rated as the weakest skill related to diversity and indicator 2, “Reflects on issues of student development from a social or cultural perspective” was consistently rated as the strongest skill.  


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Figure 5:  Trends in Advanced Candidates' Performance:  Diversity (Formative)
Note:  Diversity Competency aligns with the following dispositions:  Advocacy for children and youth
Collaboration, Self-reflection, Respect for diversity

Candidates and faculty members also provided comparable scores on indicators assessing professionalism—and aligned dispositions (see Figure 6).  Again, variability is minimal but the ratings indicate appropriate levels of candidate performance at the formative point.  The data indicates candidates perform slightly better in the professionalism competencies compared to the diversity competencies at this point in the program.  Across semesters, lowest mean ratings range between 3.24 and 3.61.  Indicator 7, “Behaves in an ethical manner” was consistently rated as the strongest skill by both instructors and candidates.
                     
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Figure 6:  Trends in Advanced Degree Candidates' Performance:  Professionalism (Summative)
Note:  Professionalism Competency aligns with the following dispositions:  Lifelong learning, Collaboration, and
Professional work characteristics

Candidates' competency in the diversity and professionalism standards (and aligned dispositions) are assessed through the self-evaluation tool and a faculty evaluation.  Mean ratings range from 3.08 to 3.39 on the summative assessment of the diversity competency (see Figure 7).  Patterns among faculty ratings are not evident but self-assessment ratings by candidates reflect patterns similar to the formative point.  Candidates report the lowest ratings in diversity indicator 6, “Engages families in collaborative decision-making” until the Fall 2009 semester, where candidates report a higher degree of development in this indicator compared to others within diversity.  Indicator 2, “Reflects on issues of student development from a social or cultural perspective” is still rated by candidates among the most developed skill. 

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Figure 7:  Trends in Advanced Degree Candidates' Performance:  Diversity (Summative)
Note:  Diversity Competency aligns with the following dispositions:  Advocacy for children and youth
Collaboration, Self-reflection, Respect for diversity
    
With the exception the Fall 2008 semester, there is little change in faculty ratings between the formative and summative assessment points in the diversity competency—and aligned dispositions (see Figure 8).  This lack of variability reflects an opportunity to focus on candidate weaknesses related to diversity and consider strategies to enable candidates make additional gains between the formative and summative assessment points.  

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Figure 8:  Trends in Advanced Degree Candidates' Performance at Formative and Summative Points:  Diversity
Note:  Diversity Competency aligns with the following dispositions:  Advocacy for children and youth
Collaboration, Self-reflection, Respect for diversity

At the exit point, candidates' competencies related to professionalism standards are assessed through the self-evaluation tool and a faculty evaluation.  This data reflects professionalism—and aligned dispositions-- as a strength perceived by both candidates and faculty.  Clear patterns are not evident among faculty ratings but the assessment data reflects commendable abilities for candidates at the exit point (see Figure 9).  The self-assessment data indicates that candidates continue to experience highest levels of professionalism development in indicator 7: “Behaves in an ethical manner”.  Additionally, candidates report strengths in indicator 8: “Presents self professionally” and indicator 12: “Takes responsibility for one's own professional development”. 

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Figure 9:  Trends in Advanced Degree Candidates' Performance:  Professionalism (Summative)
Note:  Professionalism Competency aligns with the following dispositions:  Lifelong learning, Collaboration, and
Professional work characteristics

Data reflect maintenance or small increases between the formative and summative assessment points in regards to the professionalism competency—and aligned dispositions (see Figure 10).  Since this competency was reported at as strength at the formative point, this is a positive profile.  As more data is collected, program faculty will be looking for opportunities to help candidates make additional gains in this area.          
                                              
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Text Box: Figure 10:  Trends in Advanced Degree Candidates’ Performance at Formative and Summative Points:  Professionalism  Note:  Professionalism Competency aligns with the following dispositions:  Lifelong learning, Collaboration, and Professional work characteristics

 

 

 



Unit dispositions have been revised.  As of Spring 2011, the newly revised dispositions are assessed at admissions.  These dispositions include:  Passion for Learning, Adaptability, Commitment to Equity, Caring Nature/Concern for Others, and Work Ethic.