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B. STANDARD 1. CONTINUOUS

IMPROVEMENT

Dispositions - Culturally Competent Teaching Areas - Competency in Classroom Assessment - Advanced Competencies - Unit Assessments - Initial Programs: Exit - Initial Programs: Preparing to Teach - Initial Programs: Admission - Advanced Programs - Plans for the future

The unit has been engaged in intensive continuous improvement efforts related to the articulation of the knowledge, skills, and dispositions necessary for candidates, as well as the unit assessments that indicate that candidates meet professional, state, and institutional standards. 

Unit Dispositions

The unit's dispositions were completely revised in 2009-2010, initially in response to faculty input suggesting that the unit's original 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 Assessment and Program Improvement Committee is a standing unit committee comprised of the Director of Assessment and one or more faculty representatives from each FSEHD department.) 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.

Culturally Competent Teaching Areas

In collaboration with other teacher preparation programs in RI and funded under a Teacher Quality Enhancement Partnership (TQE-P) Grant, FSEHD faculty participated in Diversity Objective Group of Project RITER (Objective 3, Rhode Island Teacher Education Renewal). An important product of this work group was the establishment of five culturally competent teaching areas for the unit, plus a listing of samples of observable teaching behaviors related to each area. Each culturally competent teaching area is aligned with the RIPTS and Unit assessments. The culturally competent teaching areas include:

  1. Area #1: Planning and Instruction
    The culturally competent student teacher should be able to account for, demonstrate awareness of and
    responsiveness to the sociocultural distinctiveness of his or her students, families and communities when
    planning for and delivering instruction.
    • RIPTS - 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6;
    • ILP - Plan 4,5,8, Implement 2,5, Content 4, Climate 5,6, Reflection 4, Technology3;
    • MWS - Learning Goals 1,2,3,4,5,6, Assessment 5, Design 3,4,5,6, Decisions 6:
    • OPR - Plan 4,5,8, Implement 2,5, Content 4, Climate 5,6, Reflection 4, Technology3;
    • TCWS - Context 1,2,3,4,5,6,7, Learning Goals 1,2,3,4,5,6, Assessment 5, Design 3,4,5,6, Decisions 1,2,3,4,5,6,
      Analysis 1,5;
    • ADCC - 7
  2. Area #2: Assessment
    The culturally competent student teacher should be able to use a variety of assessment techniques appropriate
    to diverse learners and accommodate socio-cultural differences that affect learning.
    • RIPTS - 9;
    • ILP - Implement 6, 8 ;
    • MWS - Assessment 2,3,4,6,7, Design 1;
    • OPR - Implement 6, 8;
    • TCWS - Assessment 2,3,4,6,7 Design 1, Analysis 3
  3. Area #3: Professional Behavior
    The culturally competent student teacher is aware of the diverse cultural groups represented in his/her
    classroom, investigates the sociocultural factors which influence student learning, and is able to integrate this
    knowledge into his/her teaching.
    • RIPTS - 10, 11;
    • ILP - Climate 3 Professional 1,6 ,8;
    • MWS - Analysis 7;
    • OPR - Climate 2,3 Professional 1,6 ,8, 9;:
    • TCWS - Analysis 6,7,Refection 1,2,3,4,5;
    • ADCC - 6
  4. Area #4: Collaboration
    The culturally competent student teacher involves and works with families and community resources,
    understanding the differences in families, the important influence of family participation in students' learning,
    and the benefit of collaborating with the wider school community.
    • RIPTS - 7;
    • ILP - Content 5, Professional 5,7;
    • OPR - Content 5, Professional 4,5,7;
    • ADCC - 8
  5. Area #5: Communication
    The culturally competent student teacher communicates in ways that demonstrate sensitivity to sociocultural and linguistic differences, using a variety of verbal and non-verbal communication techniques that encourage positive social interaction and support learning in their classroom
    • RIPTS 8;
    • ILP-Implementation 4,7; Content 3; Climate 4,7; Management 1,2,3,4,5;
    • MWS-Learning Goals 7, Assessment 8;  Descisions 7; Anaylsis 2;
    • OPR-Implementation 4,7; Content 3; Climate 1,4,7; Management 1,2,3,4,5,6; Technology 5;
    • TCWS-Context 7; Learning Goals 7; Assessment 8; Design 7; Descisions 7; Anaylsis 2

 

Under the guidance of the FSEHD Diversity Committee, these culturally competent teaching areas are being integrated into FSEHD curriculum and assessments. The objective is to improve what future teachers know and can do when serving diverse learners and their families.

Competency in Classroom Assessment

In response to graduate employer surveys, feedback from RIDE, and input from the dean, the assessment committee has put together a plan to examine where classroom assessment content and skills are infused in programs and to make recommendations as needed as to how to strengthen instruction in classroom assessment across FSEHD. This examination will take the form of a self-study in Spring 2011. Input will be sought from faculty, candidates, and cooperating teachers and will be centered around the classroom assessment competencies identified by Richard Stiggins (1999) in Evaluating Classroom Assessment Training in Teacher Education Programs.” The self-study will also examine faculty desire/needs for professional development in the area of classroom assessment. When the self-study is completed, the assessment committee will present conclusions and recommendations to FSEHD regarding the integration of classroom assessment content and skills in FSEHD teacher preparation.

Advanced Competencies

The Advanced Programs Coordinators committee revised the unit's advanced competencies with the goal of making them more meaningful and relevant to the diverse programs at the advanced levels. Ultimately the process resulted in narrowing several existing advanced competency categories, adding clearer language consisting of demonstrable verbs, and re-configuring the topical headings from four to two. Knowledge and Practice are now the larger headings with Diversity and Professionalism infused throughout them, the idea being that what any candidate knows (Knowledge) and can do (Practice) must be in the context of Diversity and Professionalism. The revised Advanced Competencies include Professional Awareness, Information Literacy, Contextual Perspective, and Domain-Specific Knowledge in the category of Knowledge (infused with Diversity of Professionalism) and Evidence-based Decision Making, Technology Use, Diversity of Practice, and Professional Identity Development inted to replace the existing Evaluation of the College Supervisor by the Cooperating Teacher.  The Cooperating Teacher Survey, administered to Cooperating Teachers, provides FSEHD with cooperating teacher input regarding the specified College Supervisor and their experience as a Cooperating Teacher. It is administered to Cooperating Teachers at the end of the student teaching experience. This survey was adapted from the SUNY Cortland Student Teacher Evaluation of Cooperating Teacher (2008), the Lander University Cooperating Teacher Evaluation Form (2004), and FSEHD faculty member Janet Johnson's Cooperating Teacher Survey (2010). A Supervisor Evaluation of Cooperating Teacher was drafted to replace the existing Cooperating Teacher Evaluation completed by College Supervisor. This instrument is designed to inform FSEHD of supervisors' perceptions of the Cooperating Teacher. It is administered to supervisors at the end of their student teaching experience. This survey is adapted from the SUNY Cortland Student Teacher Evaluation of Cooperating Teacher (2008) and The Lander University Cooperating Teacher Evaluation Form (2004). A Teacher Candidate Exit Survey was drafted to replace the existing Cooperating Teacher Evaluation completed by student teacher, School Site Evaluation, and Teacher Preparation Program Evaluation. The Exit Survey, administered to graduating students, is designed to provide input on teacher candidates' perceptions of their ability to function effectively as future teachers and their satisfaction with their Teacher Education program at FSEHD. This survey focuses particularly on: subject matter knowledge, pedagogy, teaching diverse learners, and their pre-practicum and practicum experiences. It is administered to teacher candidates graduating from initial teacher preparation programs. This survey was adapted from the validated Exit Survey developed by the Boston College Teachers for a New Era Evidence Team (2004), which in turn was drawn from established instruments that had been developed and used by other institutions. Finally, the existing Student Teaching Final Evaluation was phased out. It was determined that this instrument provided redundant information to other student teaching data that were collected during a candidate's placement. In its place, the third OPR is now used as a “final” evaluation of the student teacher because it assesses the candidate's teaching performance, ongoing professional and other behaviors, and affords the evaluator the opportunity to make a final recommendation for the candidate to pursue teacher preparation for a teaching license.

Initial Programs: Preparing to Teach

After careful consideration of existing Preparing to Teach assessments and input from faculty who had been using them, two major changes to assessment at the Preparing to Teach point were implemented. First, the concept of an Implemented Lesson Plan assessment at Preparing to Teach was retained, but with a significant change. To foster greater consistency in assessment expectations at FSEHD across time and in order to document candidate growth over time, it was proposed that an abbreviated version of the OPR employed at Exit be used to evaluate the implemented lesson at Preparing to Teach. An abbreviated version of the OPR for use at Preparing to Teach was thus created; it included all indicators for Planning, Implementation, Content, and Reflection, as well as selected indicators for Climate, Professionalism, Classroom Management, and Technology. The abbreviated OPR was called the Revised Implemented Lesson Plan for the sake of continuity.

Second, it was observed that the revised Implemented Lesson Plan assessment alone did not provide sufficient evidence of a candidate's teaching skills for student teaching. While the Revised Implemented Lesson Plan provided evidence of a candidate's ability to teach a lesson, it did not demonstrate that s/he was capable of designing a unit of instruction. It was therefore recommended that a Mini Work Sample be required of candidates wishing to student teach. (The inclusion of a Mini Work Sample prior to the full Teacher Candidate Work Sample is also standard practice at institutions nationally.) The Mini Work Sample, which consists of just three components of a full Teacher Candidate Work Sample (Learning Goals, Assessment Plan, Design for Instruction), would provide additional evidence of a candidate's readiness to student teach. Using the same prompts and rubrics as the Teacher Candidate Work Sample at Exit, it was believed that the use of the Mini Work Sample would establish consistency in assessment expectations at FSEHD across time.

To reflect the unit's revised professional dispositions and current thinking on assessment of dispositions, a new process for dispositions assessment was designed at Preparing to Teach. Based on the observable behaviors identified by faculty as indicative of unit dispositions in the college classroom, the Assessment of Professional Dispositions in the College Classroom was instituted as a requirement at this important transition point. Candidates are now required to submit one completed Assessment of Professional Dispositions in the College Classroom form from a methods or practicum course. Due to the considerable degree of alignment of the unit's revised dispositions with existing the Mini Teacher Candidate Work Sample and the revised Implemented Lesson Plan, no new instruments were developed for assessment of dispositions in field settings at the Preparing to Teach. Rather, the Mini Teacher Candidate Work Sample and revised Implemented Lesson Plan indicators are coded to the dispositions and reporting on dispositions in field settings at Preparing to Teach is now derived from these existing assessments.

The same process was implemented for determining whether a separate assessment needed to be developed to reflect the unit's adoption of the Culturally Competent Teaching Areas. Given the substantive changes in assessment at Preparing to Teach, the existing Reflective Essay was deemed unnecessary and subsequently eliminated. Again, considerable alignment existed between the Culturally Competent Teaching Areas and the indicators in the Mini Teacher Candidate Work Sample and the revised Implemented Lesson Plan, no new instruments were developed for assessment of dispositions in field settings at the Preparing to Teach. Rather, the Mini Teacher Candidate Work Sample and revised Implemented Lesson Plan indicators are coded to the dispositions and reporting on dispositions in field settings at Preparing to Teach is now derived from these existing assessments. The same process is being used to assess candidates' Culturally Competent Teaching through aligned indicators in the Teacher Candidate Work Sample and Observation and Progress Report at Exit.

Initial Programs: Admission

At admissions, new RI Department of Education regulations concerning minimum passing scores on the Reading, Writing, and Mathematics sections of the Pre-Professional Skills Test of the PRAXIS I or SAT or ACT were implemented. Following approximately two years in which FSEHD faculty revised the unit's professional dispositions and dispositions assessments, assessment of candidate dispositions at admission was significantly revised. First, candidates are required to submit a completed Assessment of Candidate Dispositions in the College Classroom completed by their FNED 346 instructor. In order to gather baseline data on candidate dispositions in the field at Admission, candidates are also required to submit a revised Disposition Reference Form completed by their FNED 346 field evaluators. This form was revised to assess applicant dispositions via the Professionalism indicators from the Implemented Lesson Plan (ILP) used at Preparing to Teach and the Observation and Progress Report (OPR) at Exit. Finally, the Career Commitment Essay requirement was eliminated due to long-standing validity and resource concerns. In its place a new requirement of a grade of B or better in Writing 100 was instituted.

The table below summarizes the changes in the unit assessment system for initial teacher preparation programs since the last NCATE visit:

REVISIONS TO INITIAL PROGRAMS UNIT ASSESSMENT SYSTEM (2008-2011)

Program Admission
(Initial Assessment)

Acceptance to Student Teaching
(Formative Assessment)

Program Exit
(Summative Assessment)

Post Graduation

Admissions Portfolio:

  • An application form
  • Transcripts
  • Successful completion of FNED 346 with a minimum grade of “B-”
  • Completion of at least 24 semester hours with a GPA of 2.50 in all college level courses
  • Successful completion of the RIC Writing and Mathematics requirements
  • Successful completion of the Reading, Mathematics, and Writing sections of the Pre-Professional Skills Test of the PRAXIS I (new minimum requirements) or SAT or ACT
  • Supervisor Reference Form: Assessment of Candidate Dispositions in Field Settings adapted from OPR
  • Faculty Reference Form: Assessment of Candidate Dispositions in the College Classroom
  • Proof of technology competency
  • Two confidential recommendations
  • B or better in Writing 100
  • Career commitment essay
  • Other, program-specific requirements, as appropriate

Preparing to Teach Portfolio:

  • GPA of 2.5 in all undergraduate coursework
  • Passing scores on required PLT, Praxis II and/or Content tests
  • Implemented Lesson Plan
  • Reflective Essay
  • Revised Implemented Lesson Plan
  • Mini Teacher Candidate Work Sample
  • Self Disposition Evaluation
  • Faculty Disposition Evaluation
  • Assessment of Candidate Dispositions in the College Classroom
  • (Assessment of Candidate Dispositions in Field Settings derived from scores on ILP and Mini WS)
  • (Assessment of Candidate Cultural Competence derived from ILP, Mini WS, and dispositions assessment)
  • Community Service
  • Other, program-specific requirements, as appropriate

Exit Portfolio:

  • School Analysis
  • Implemented Unit Plan with lesson plans and assessments of student learning
  • Professional Development Reflection
  • Teacher Candidate Work Sample
  • Teacher Candidate Observation and Progress Report (3)
  • (Assessment of Candidate Dispositions in Field Settings derived from scores on OPR and TCWS)
  • (Assessment of Candidate Cultural Competence derived from OPR & TCWS)
  • Other, program-specific requirements, as appropriate
  • Student Teaching Mid-Term Evaluation
  • Student Teaching Final Evaluation
  • Observation Report (but no data collected)
  • Cooperating Teacher Evaluation
  • Teacher Preparation Program Evaluation
  • School Site Evaluation
  • Supervisor Evaluation of Cooperating Teacher (Replaces Cooperating Teacher Evaluation)
  • Teacher Candidate Exit Survey (Replaces Cooperating Teacher Evaluation, School Site Evaluation, and Teacher Preparation Program Evaluation)
  • Cooperating Teacher Survey (Replaces Evaluation of the College Supervisor by the Cooperating Teacher)
  • Employer Surveys
  • Alumni Surveys
Assessments in strikethrough have been eliminated. Assessments in bold have been revised or adopted.

Advanced Programs

Significant accomplishments have been achieved at the advanced level, as well. A Feinstein Advanced Competencies Assessment subcommittee was formed in Fall 2008. This committee consisted of the Director of Graduate Studies, the Directors and Assistant Directors of Assessment, and two members of the Advanced Programs Coordinators committee. The subcommittee met regularly to review the current advanced program assessment system and design needed modifications to the system. The subcommittee began meeting in Fall 2008 to modify the advanced programs assessment system, beginning with the summative/exit transition point. In Fall 2008, the subcommittee drafted a FSEHD Professional Intervention Project (including descriptive rubrics) for Advanced Programs (PIP) to be completed by candidates at the end of their programs. The purpose of this assessment is for advanced program candidates to create a relevant Professional Intervention Project for Advanced Programs that includes all Practice aspects of the Advanced Competencies: Evidence-Based Decision Making; Technology Use; Diversity; Professional Identity Development. Through this Professional Intervention Project process, it is expected that advanced candidates will provide credible evidence of their ability to facilitate impact on constituents and reflect upon their practice. Several faculty members volunteered to field test the PIP in Spring 2009. Based on their feedback, the PIP was revised and subsequently implemented on the unit level in Fall 2010. The table below summarizes the changes in the unit assessment system for advanced programs since the last NCATE visit:

REVISIONS TO ADVANCED PROGRAMS UNIT ASSESSMENT SYSTEM (2008-2011)

Program Admission Formative Transition Point Summative Transition Point Continuous Follow Up
  • Grade Point Average
  • Official standardized test scores (Graduate Record Examination or the Miller Analogies Test)
  • Professional Goals Essay
  • Performance-based Evaluation
  • Two Candidate Reference Forms
  • Minimum grade of B in courses/ assessments tied to standards
  • Individual work sample in key course/practicum
  • Candidate's self-
  • reflection of progress
  • Faculty's reflection of candidate progress
  • Exit GPA of 3.0 or higher and comprehensive assessment
  • Capstone performance assessment(s)
  • Professional Impact Project
  • Candidate's self-
  • evaluation of outcome
  • Faculty's evaluation of candidate achievement
  • Professional Licensure/
  • Certification Exam Results (as applicable)
  • Valid certificate (as applicable)
  • Surveys of Graduates & Employers

Assessments in strikethrough have been eliminated. Assessments in bold have been revised or adopted.

Timeline

A detailed description of the timeline, process, and data used to revise the unit assessment system at the initial and advanced levels at FSEHD is attached.

Plans for continuous improvement

The unit has committed to continuous program improvements by using the data we were able to generate and analyze. Our priorities for the initial programs are:

  1. Cclassroom management (developing a new required course or curriculum streams)
  2. Classroom assessment, use of data to improve instruction
  3. Differentiated instruction, including grounded understanding of ELL students, the RTI methodology, and cultural competencies.
  4. Appropriate uses of technology in classroom instruction
  5. Fostering collaborative relationships with families to support students' learning

At the advanced level, programs may benefit from an increased focus on technology use, evidence-based decision making, and engaging families in collaborative decision-making.

   
  • Official standardized test scores (Graduate Record Examination or the Miller Analogies Test)
  • Professional Goals Essay
  • Performance-based Evaluation
  • Two Candidate Reference Forms
  • Assessments in strikethrough have been eliminated. Assessments in bold have been revised or adopted.

    Timeline

    A detailed description of the timeline, process, and data used to revise the unit assessment system at the initial and advanced levels at FSEHD is attached.

    Plans for continuous improvement

    The unit has committed to continuous program improvements by using the data we were able to generate and analyze. Our priorities for the initial programs are:

    1. Cclassroom management (developing a new required course or curriculum streams)
    2. Classroom assessment, use of data to improve instruction
    3. Differentiated instruction, including grounded understanding of ELL students, the RTI methodology, and cultural competencies.
    4. Appropriate uses of technology in classroom instruction
    5. Fostering collaborative relationships with families to support students' learning

    At the advanced level, programs may benefit from an increased focus on technology use, evidence-based decision making, and engaging families in collaborative decision-making.