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B.  Standard 1. Knowledge, Skills, and Dispositions

Initial Teacher Preparations Programs - State Standards - Advanced Programs - Conclusions

Data from original and revised unit assessments were examined over the past three years to uncover trends in candidate performance on unit, state, and professional standards. At all assessment transition points, evaluators judged candidates to have met expectations for appropriate standards. Details to this effect, plus areas meriting further programmatic and unit emphasis, are described below.

Initial Teacher Preparation Programs

Original Dispositions

At admissions, mean disposition ratings awarded by service learning supervisors over the past three years have consistently been “near perfect,” ranging from 3.7 to 3.9 on a four-point scale.  FSEHD faculty have 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 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.

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 do, the difference is minimal and both sets of ratings are quite high with an overall average rating of 3.80 out of 4.0.

In Student Teaching Final Evaluation data over the past three years, cooperating teachers have consistently provided very high dispositions ratings for all candidates.  While the evaluation prompted cooperating teachers to rate teacher candidates on 12 different dispositional indicators, little variability between indicators was present. 

Revised Dispositions

In an effort to collect more meaningful data, the unit 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 Transition Point.  Data from a small pilot group (n=10) indicates high performance on the Revised Dispositions. While adequate in terms of overall performance, areas receiving slightly lower ratings included being prepared for class (Passion for Learning); being engaged in and respectful of learning environment (Passion for Learning), and handing in assignments that are complete, on time, and show best effort (Work Ethic) . Comprehensive reporting on Revised Dispositions performance at Admissions, Preparing to Teach, and at Exit will commence at the conclusion of Spring 2011.

The unit strives to encourage development of leadership skills among teacher candidates. Many teacher candidates are recognized at the annual Student Leradership Award ceremony.

Conceptual Framework

Assessment data provides insight on the growth that occurs between the Preparing to Teach point and the Exit point in relation to the Knowledge Theme of the Conceptual Framework theme.  Data trends indicate candidates are strong in this theme prior to student teaching and an upward trend continues to the Exit point.

Assessment data related to the Conceptual Framework provide support for the claim that candidates are strong in Pedagogy at the Preparing to Teach point. While there is not much room for growth, there has been slight yet consistent growth across the collection of RIPTS when comparing Preparing to Teach scores to Exit scores. Data reporting candidate performance on assessments measuring progress on the Diversity theme of the Conceptual Framework tell a story of success. While there is little difference between candidates' performance between Preparing to Teach and Exit, this is an area of strength for candidates prior to student teaching. While there is a very slight increase between the two gates during most years, the more important message is that FSEHD candidates perform well in this area before entering the student teaching experience. The Knowledge theme is another area which reflects skills candidates successfully develop earlier in the program, particularly those related to professional development. The slight growth present in other themes between the Preparing to Teach gate and the Exit point is not as obvious in the Knowledge theme because the candidates begin the student teaching experience with a strong skill set leaving less room for growth at Exit.

A Teacher Preparation Program Evaluation is also used to collect data from teacher candidates at the Exit point about their perceptions and knowledge of preparation related to the FSEHD Conceptual Framework. Candidates report they were well prepared in skills related to the Conceptual Framework Themes: Knowledge, Pedagogy, Diversity, Professionalism, and the over-arching theme reflecting the theory-practice relationship: PAR-Planning, Action, and Reflection. Across time, there is little variability among scores on the various themes. Nevertheless, data indicate consistently lower scores in candidates' perceptions of their preparation in the area of Technology Use.

A follow up survey of 2008-2011 initial programs graduates reported that they perceived their preparation to be adequate or better in all areas except classroom management (Pedagogy) and working collaboratively with families to create a professional learning community and environment that supports the improvement of teaching, learning and student achievement (Collaboration).

Employers of recent initial graduates (2008-2010) reveal graduate strengths in Professionalism:  working collaboratively, maintaining professional standards, assuming responsibility for their own professional growth, and reflecting on their practice), Knowledge (using a broad base of knowledge), Diversity (reflecting respect for the diversity of learners), and Pedagogy  (incorporating digital tools/resources into teaching). Employers rated FSEHD graduates lower in certain pedagogical areas, however, including classroom management, formal and informal assessment, and differentiated instruction.

Teacher Candidate Mini Work Sample data (at Preparing to Teach) and the Teacher Candidate Work Sample data (at Exit) demonstrate that candidates do not improve in their ability to design learning goals and objectives from Preparing to Teach to Exit, with a mean score at PTT of 5.18 and a mean score at Exit of 5.14.  These skills appear to be solidified by Preparing to Teach. On the other hand, candidates improve in the quality of their assessment plans, with mean scores increasing from 4.86 to 5.01, and their designs for instruction, with mean scores increasing from 4.88 to 5.03, by the end of student teaching. While demonstrating acceptable performance throughout, TCWS data also reveal that candidates are slightly weaker in instructional decision making skills, analysis of student learning, and analyzing contextual factors that impact instruction than in other areas. Both the strengths and the weaknesses described pertain to differing aspects of the Conceptual Framework theme of Pedagogy.

Using common indicators from the revised Implemented Lesson Plan at Preparing to Teach and the Observation and Progress Report at student teaching, data reveal significant growth in all areas. Data from the newly developed Observation and Progress Report for student teaching reveals steady growth over the student teaching placement on all key indicators.  In particular, candidates experience greatest growth in Planning (Pedagogy) and Technology Use (Practice), and least growth in Professional Behavior (Professionalism).

State Standards

At admission and preparing to teach, FSEHD candidates meet state cut scores on Praxis I and Praxis II assessments.

Teacher candidates are assessed at the Preparing to Teach point through artifacts aligned to the Rhode Island Professional Teacher Standards (RIPTS).  These data reflect scores on artifacts completed prior to student teaching.  The data reflect high levels of performance among teacher candidates but little variability over time.  Trends reflect minor differences between RIPTS.  Candidates consistently score lowest on RIPTS #1:  Teachers create learning experiences using a broad base of general knowledge that reflect an understanding of the nature of the world in which we live.  At Preparing to Teach, candidates consistently demonstrate highest performance on RIPTS #10: Teachers reflect on their practice and assume responsibility for their own professional development by actively seeking opportunities to learn and grow as professionals and on RIPTS #4:  Teachers create instructional opportunities that reflect a respect for the diversity of learners and an understanding of how students differ in their approaches to learning.  While minor differences are present, a revised assessment system will increase opportunities to improve the unit through data analyses.  Minor growth between Preparing to Teach and Exit points can be seen across most RIPTS.   Candidates maintained high levels of proficiency in RIPTS #10 (professionalism) and RIPTS #4 (diversity) during the student teaching experience.  Improvement can be seen between Preparing to Teach and Exit in the RIPTS #1 (general knowledge). 

Cooperating teachers who supervise student teaching experiences assess candidate performance on skills related to the Rhode Island Professional Teaching Standards (RIPTS) through the Student Teaching Final Evaluation assessment.  This data, as with other sources, reflected high levels of candidate success over time in each of the RIPTS.  Low levels of variability between scores hindered meaningful analysis leading towards program improvement.  In the case of the Student Teaching Final Evaluation, it was also difficult to collect the data and analyze it in a timeframe that was beneficial to the teacher candidate.   As a result, use of the Student Teaching Final Evaluation has been discontinued.  Similar data is now collected through via the Student Teaching Observation and Progress Report.

At the conclusion of the student teaching experience, FSEHD candidates are surveyed in an effort to collect program evaluation data.  There is little variation among the data points; however a small dip in rating is seen for RIPTS 7:  Teachers foster collaborative relationships with colleagues and families to support students' learning.  Candidates consistently rate this standard as the skill they are least prepared to perform.   

A follow up survey of 2008-2011 initial programs graduates reported that their preparation was adequate or better in all areas  except classroom management (RIPTS 6) and working collaboratively with families to create a professional learning community and environment that supports the improvement of teaching, learning and student achievement (RIPTS 7). 
A survey administered to employers of recent graduates (2008-2010)  revealed positive evaluations of graduates in  working collaboratively (RIPTS ), maintaining professional standards (RIPTS 11), assuming responsibility for their own professional growth (RIPTS 10), and reflecting on their practice (RIPTS 10). FSEHD graduates were rated lower in areas related to classroom management (RIPTS 6), formal and informal assessment (RIPTS 9), and differentiated instruction (RIPTS 4).

Teacher Candidate Mini Work Sample data (at Preparing to Teach) and the Teacher Candidate Work Sample data (at Exit) provide nuanced information on candidate proficiencies. Data analyses reveal that candidates do not improve in their ability to design learning goals and objectives (RIBTS 3) from Preparing to Teach to Exit, with a mean score at PTT of 5.18 and a mean score at Exit of 5.14.  These skills appear to be solidified by Preparing to Teach. On the other hand, candidates improve in the quality of their assessment plans (RIPTS 9), with mean scores increasing from 4.86 to 5.01, and their designs for instruction (RIPTS 2), with mean scores increasing from 4.88 to 5.03, by the end of student teaching. While demonstrating acceptable performance throughout, TCWS data also reveal that candidates are slightly weaker in instructional decision making skills (RIBTS 4), analysis of student learning (RIBTS 9), and analyzing contextual factors that impact instruction (RIBTS 4) than in other areas.

Using common indicators from the revised Implemented Lesson Plan at Preparing to Teach and the Observation and Progress Report at student teaching, data reveal significant growth in all areas. Data from the Observation and Progress Report for student teaching reveals steady growth over the student teaching placement on all key indicators.  In particular, candidates experience greatest growth in Planning (RIPTS 2) and Technology Use (RIPTS 8), and least growth in Professional Behavior (RIPTS 10).

Cultural Competence

FSEHD is in the beginning stages of assessing the Culturally Competent Teaching Areas of its initial candidates.  Comprehensive reporting on Revised Dispositions performance at Admissions, Preparing to Teach, and at Exit will commence at the conclusion of Spring 2011.

Advanced Programs

Original Advanced Competencies

Formative assessment trends reflect similar performance ratings from both candidates and faculty members in the area of Diversity.  While there is little variability in the scores across the three semesters of collected data, performance on all diversity indicators was rated at an average score in the Adequately Developing range.  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.   At the summative point, 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 09 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.  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.  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.  

e on all diversity and professionalism indicators (and aligned dispositions) was rated at an average score in the Adequately Developing range.  Patterns of strengths and weaknesses among faculty ratings were not clear but among self-assessments by candidates, “Engages families in collaborative decision-making” (Advocacy for Children and Youth) was consistently rated as the weakest skill related to diversity. There was little change in faculty ratings between the formative and summative assessment points in dispositions performance. However, the data reflects the Professional Work Characteristics as a strength perceived by both candidates and faculty. 

Professional Standards

National recognition by Specialized Professional Associations is used as evidence that candidates at these programs are meeting professional standards.  Among programs not nationally reviewed, the evidence presented above supports the assertion that candidates are meeting state and unit standards.

Conclusions

There is ample evidence that FSEHD candidates are meeting unit, state, and professional standards. Careful analyses of data, however, indicate that initial teacher preparation programs could benefit from an increased emphasis on classroom management, formal and informal assessment, differentiated instruction, technology use, and 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.

   
technology effectively in research based activities; and selecting technology effectively  in collaborative work environments. 

In a recent survey, employers of 2008-2010 graduates of advanced programs rated advanced graduates highest in areas related to Technology Use and Domain Specific Knowledge. While still quite adequate, lower rated indicators included demonstrating a comprehensive understanding of diversity as it relates to field specific content (Contextual Perspective); selecting and using technology effectively  in research based activities (Technology Use); creating a plan to further their own professional growth (Professional Identity Development); and incorporating considerations of other professionals and/or stakeholders when determining a plan of action (Evidence-Based Decision Making). 

Dispositions

Assessment data reveal that candidates admitted to advanced programs enter strongest in dispositions related to Lifelong Learning and Professional work characteristics.  In contrast, they clearly are weakest (although still rated above average) in Advocacy for Children and Youth. Trends in the data reflect similar performance ratings on dispositions from both candidates and faculty members at the formative stage.  While there is little variability in the dispositions scores across the three semesters of collected data, performance on all diversity and professionalism indicators (and aligned dispositions) was rated at an average score in the Adequately Developing range.  Patterns of strengths and weaknesses among faculty ratings were not clear but among self-assessments by candidates, “Engages families in collaborative decision-making” (Advocacy for Children and Youth) was consistently rated as the weakest skill related to diversity. There was little change in faculty ratings between the formative and summative assessment points in dispositions performance. However, the data reflects the Professional Work Characteristics as a strength perceived by both candidates and faculty. 

Professional Standards

National recognition by Specialized Professional Associations is used as evidence that candidates at these programs are meeting professional standards.  Among programs not nationally reviewed, the evidence presented above supports the assertion that candidates are meeting state and unit standards.

Conclusions

There is ample evidence that FSEHD candidates are meeting unit, state, and professional standards. Careful analyses of data, however, indicate that initial teacher preparation programs could benefit from an increased emphasis on classroom management, formal and informal assessment, differentiated instruction, technology use, and 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.