Standard 1: Content and Pedagogical Knowledge
The provider ensures that candidates develop a deep understanding of the critical concepts and principles of their discipline and, by completion, are able to use discipline-specific practices flexibly to advance the learning of all students toward attainment of college- and career-readiness standards.
The Educator Preparation Program at Purdue University Northwest’s School of Education and Counseling (SoEC) is committed to ensuring that candidates develop a deep understanding of the critical concepts and principles of their discipline. The mission of PNW’s SoEC, in collaboration with other professional educators and agencies, is to re-imagine and change education by creating opportunities for students, candidates, families, educators and our local communities. We aim to prepare and support education professionals and related specialists who:
- apply the appropriate knowledge, dispositions, and performances in developing diverse approaches to educational strategies that are constructive, consistent, and reflective of sound practice;
- are prepared to use current research, knowledge, and technology to empower the people they serve;
- are sensitive and responsive to the unique needs of themselves, of others, and of the diverse society in which they practice; and
- are advocates for and models of quality education and lifelong learning.
Role of Standards
Faculty members are committed to providing the human and technological resources which enable students and themselves to develop as educational professionals in constructing knowledge, developing practice, and fostering relationships. Each of the program areas in the Purdue University Northwest (PNW) Educator Preparation Program (EPP) is grounded in the ten Interstate New Teacher Assessment and Support Consortium (INTASC) Standards, providing opportunities for candidates to develop and demonstrate a deep understanding of knowledge, skills, and dispositions necessary to create and facilitate learning experiences in pre-k- 12 classroom settings. The EPP ensures that candidates in all programs demonstrate an understanding of InTASC Standards in these categories: Learner and Learning; Content; Instructional Practice; and Professional Responsibility(Alignment Chart, EPP Programs and InTASC Standards). The induction of professional educators means that candidates develop knowledge and skills at the appropriate progression levels which results in the ability to plan for appropriate and effective curriculum for all learners, implement meaningful and engaging instruction and use assessment data to inform instruction and show impact on student learning. To prepare for this self-study and to compile and analyze data for Standard 1, programs compiled evidence including the SPA reports and state reports for low-enrolled programs, exemplars of program practices and candidates’ experiences, and identified areas for improvement (SPA Reports and State Reports for Low-Enrolled Programs).
Role of Research
The PNW EPP conceptual framework highlights the value of research-based practices. The EPP is also committed to ensuring that candidates use research and evidence to develop an understanding of the teaching profession. Further, the faculty and clinical educators work with the candidates to make certain that decisions about instruction, student learning and their own professional practice are informed by research and evidence. Throughout the programs, candidates’ work reflects the EPP’s Conceptual Framework of the Educational Leader and commitment to the transformation of education through research-based practices (Conceptual Framework).
In course work and field experiences, the faculty and clinical educators model the use of research and evidence to develop professional practice and to assess students’ growth and development. Bridging the connection between research and practice is one of the tenets of the unit’s conceptual framework. Throughout their coursework, candidates complete smaller-scale assignments which demonstrate the use of research to inform practice. These course assignments are broadened and enhanced through completion of the edTPA. The EPP adopted the edTPA, a performance based assessment which is completed during the candidates’ capstone student teaching semester.
Role of Coursework
During professional course work, candidates complete assignments which demand the use of research and evidence to both measure students’ progress and their own professional practice. For example, candidates in both Early Childhood and Elementary Education programs complete the course Literacy Intervention Strategies for Diverse Learners (EDCI 36800). Candidates spend the semester focusing on supporting the literacy development of a learner who has been identified as struggling. They complete appropriate assessments to understand students’ developmental needs, create an instructional plan for students based upon their assessments, and compile their understandings of the learner and his/her response to instructional intervention in a Diagnostic Tutoring Report, in which they explain their instructional choices with the use of research and evidence from assessment and the instruction they provide. Candidates enrolled in secondary programs of study complete a course dedicated to the development of pedagogical content (EDCI 34100, EDCI 34200, EDCI 34400, EDCI 34600, or EDCI 34700). Within this course, they are required to create and implement a minimum of three learning segments where they create and implement plans in their specific content area. Segments build upon one another as candidates are required to synthesize feedback from university supervisors and cooperating teachers, assessments of student learning, and research and/or theory to plan the subsequent learning segment and justify their instructional choices/decision-making processes. Those candidates pursuing dual licensure (Elementary Education-Special Education) complete the Impact on Student Learning assignment as part of the course Teaching Students with Mild to Moderate Needs I (EDPS 32800). This assessment requires that they identify a student with exceptionalities, document the learner needs and present levels of academic performance, plan differentiated and individualized instruction, implement evidence- based teaching and motivational instruction, measure and evaluate learning outcomes, and report and reflect upon overall impact on student learning. Finally, candidates in the graduate special education program are asked to create a two-to-three week unit plan based on the principles of Universal Design for Learning (UDL) for improving reading and/or writing within the Intervention Strategies and Research II: Mild Intervention (EDPS 69500).
Use of Speciality Licensure Area Data to Improve Instruction
An integral part of this assessment is the inclusion of evidence-based strategies and research within their lesson. These measures indicate that candidates are required to integrate and apply the principles of research in their planning and implementing of instruction (Candidate Use of Research and Theory Assignments).
These smaller-scale assignments support candidate development toward the capstone assessment, the Teacher Performance Assessment (edTPA). Candidates in all programs complete this capstone assessment during the final semester. The edTPA is aligned with the InTASC Standards (edTPA Crosswalk: InTASC Standards, SCALE, 2014). For the edTPA, candidates operate within the constructs of Planning, Instruction and Assessment, in an iterative process that is grounded in research and evidence. Through the series of these three tasks, candidates create and examine their instructional practices responding to prompts that shape a commentary, making the case for the use of evidence-based practices and strategies. Specifically within the Planning Commentary (edTPA Task 1: Planning– Rubrics 1-5), they are required to use principles from research and/or theory to support their justifications of their lesson plans and choice of instructional materials that they will use to support students’ learning. To do this effectively, candidates must make overt and explicit connections between the research and/or theory, their understanding of students’ prior academic learning and personal/cultural/community assets, and the learning tasks of their plans. Further, in the Assessment Commentary (edTPA Task 3: Assessment– Rubric 14),they are required to describe and explain how the assessment data they have gathered throughout their unit of instruction (i.e., learning segment) will be used to inform instruction. They must articulate not only how the next steps for instruction follow from analysis of student performance data, but support their explanations with principles from research and/or theory. Within the EPP it has been determined that the target level of performance on each rubric for candidates is a 2.5/5.0. When examining the average rubric scores for Task 1: Planning and Rubric 14 in Task 3: Assessment in the EPP data, it is apparent that candidates perform above target level expectations on these measures (edTPA Performance by Program Area and Rubric). Their performance on the edTPA illustrates proficiency in using research and evidence.
Overall, the EPP has created a culture in which candidates, faculty and clinical instructors rely on research to inform instructional decisions and to measure impact on students’ learning as well as their own professional practice.
Candidates across the EPP demonstrate their understanding of content knowledge (CK), learners and learning, inclusive instruction and pedagogical practices related to content (PCK), and curriculum through assignments in course work and applied exercises in clinical placements. Although grades are not utilized as a measure of CK and PCK, the EPP requires that candidates receive a grade of at least a “C” in all coursework and a minimum GPA of 2.5 for admission into their program area’s professional coursework. These requirements exceed or are similar to the performance of undergraduates at the institution(Candidate performance comparison). When coupled with candidate performance on specific content and pedagogical content knowledge measures undertaken in each program area, candidates’ performances indicate that they have developed content area understandings and are able to integrate these in their instruction. Further, program completers integrate content knowledge in their practice (i.e., pedagogical content knowledge, PCK) as reflected in outcomes in response to standards of Specialized Professional Associations (SPAs), Indiana Professional Teaching Standards (IPTS), and InTASC Standards. The EPP submitted reports to the following Specialized Professional Associations (SPA) for the initial licensure programs: National Association for the Education of Young Children, NAEYC (Early Childhood Education), Association for Childhood Education International, ACEI, Council for Exceptional Children, CEC (Special Education), and National Council of Teachers of English, NCTE. The B.A. in Elementary Education, B.A. in English with Teaching Option, and the M.S. Ed. in Special Education was recognized with conditions in their respective 2018 SPA review. The B.A. in Elementary and Special Education (Dual Licensure) was nationally recognized by its SPA in 2018 and the B.S. in Early Childhood Education was nationally recognized by NAEYC in 2020 (Compiled SPA Review). Currently, there are seven identified low-enrolled programs as well as the Transition to Teach program for which State Report plans were submitted to the Indiana Department of Education. These programs are all Secondary Education leading to initial licensure; they are: French, Spanish, Social Studies, Mathematics, Chemistry, Physics, and Biology/Life Science (DOE Low-Enrollment Program with State SPA-Waiver).
Pedagogical Content Knowledge
A common tool used to assess the development of candidates’ content knowledge and pedagogical content knowledge across the EPP is the Teacher Performance Assessment (edTPA). The edTPA requires candidates to demonstrate the knowledge and skills necessary to help all learners learn. Occurring during the final semester of the candidates’ programs of study, they plan and implement lessons and are evaluated on their abilities to make content clear and help diverse students learn, assess the effectiveness of their instruction, and modify their teaching as necessary. As previously stated, the edTPA is aligned to the InTASC Standards (edTPA Crosswalk: InTASC Standards, SCALE, 2014). Examining candidate performance on edTPA rubrics 1-4, 7-9, and 14 illustrate the development of candidates’ content knowledge and pedagogical content knowledge (edTPA Performance by Program Area and Rubric). The target level of performance on each rubric for candidates is a 2.5/5.0. Candidates have historically exceeded this level of performance on all of the aligned content knowledge rubrics, with the exception of the first semester implementation performance on rubric 4 that requires candidates to identify and support language demands associated with the task; rubric 8 which requires candidates to elicit student responses that promote thinking and develop content- specific skills, concepts, strategies and/or processes; and rubric 14 which requires candidates’ to analyze students’ use of language to develop content understanding. As is illustrated in the edTPA Performance by Program Area and Rubric, during the spring 2018 administration of the assessment, early childhood (ECH) program candidates performed slightly below the target level of performance on these rubrics (R4=2.2; R8=2.4 and R14=1.8); Elementary education candidates scored slightly below target performance on R14 (2.1). Subsequently, the early childhood program area incorporated requirements in the practicum course (a course that occurs in the semester prior to student teaching) where language and development of content understandings were foregrounded. Additionally, all program areas engaged candidates in clarifying key concepts of content knowledge rubrics especially: language demands (i.e., vocabulary, functions, discourse, syntax); language function (purpose for which language is used); vocabulary; discourse; syntax; and language supports (those scaffolds, representations, and strategies used to help learners understand and use the concepts and language of the discipline). Similar difficulties on rubrics 1 (planning for content learning) and 2 (planning support for varied learning needs) are noted in the first administration with special education candidates in the spring 2019. To address the development of these understandings, the special education program area implemented activities within coursework requiring candidates to develop and implement units of study based on Universal Design for Learning (UDL) principles, and that required purposeful and intentional use and development of academic language within the content area.
The Skills of Teaching Observation Tool (STOT), developed by the North Dakota Association of Colleges for Teacher Education as a means for determining student teachers’ ability to meet professional standards (InTASC Standards). Created in 2016, there have been two confirmatory factor analyses to establish this tool as both a valid and reliable measure on four factors: the learner and learning context, knowledge, instructional practices, and professional responsibilities. Candidate performance on the STOT provides further evidence of their development of content knowledge and abilities to apply these understandings in authentic contexts (i.e., pedagogical content knowledge). Candidate performance on the STOT (Candidate Skills of Teaching Observation Tool on InTASC Standards by Program Area) provides additional evidence that candidates across the EPP have developed the content knowledge and pedagogical content knowledge appropriate for their discipline and are able to incorporate these understandings within their instruction.
A focus on academic standards is foundational to the EPP and teaching to academic standards is a central component of candidate course work and clinical experiences. The Indiana Academic Standards serve as the College and Career Readiness Standards that have been adopted for use in classrooms throughout the state. Within the academic standards for each grade level, college and career goals or benchmarks are identified allowing the standards to be validated as college and career ready. This means that students who master them will be prepared to join the workforce or pursue post-secondary education (Indiana Department of Education Readiness Standards, 2018). A variety of measures are employed by the EPP to ensure that candidates demonstrate the skills and commitment necessary to afford all P-12 students access to rigorous educational experiences that prepare them for college-and/or careers.
One such measure is the determination of coursework that is required for candidates as part of their educator preparation program. Candidates’ programs of study are guided by the Indiana Department of Education Rules for Educator Preparation and Accountability (REPA). REPA provides guidance to EPPs in how to document alignment for educator licensure. These standards provide a broad and comprehensive understanding of the knowledge and skills needed for educators seeking licensure. Consisting of five components (i.e., standard statement, links to Indiana academic standards, articulation of standard statements into essential elements of knowledge, bibliography, and alignment with Indiana and national standards), REPA includes both content and process standards. (EPP Plans of Study and link to REPA).
Lesson plans are another measure that is utilized across program areas to measure candidates’ abilities to plan and implement learning experiences that develop students’ awareness of careers, their exploration of career options, and how they will plan and prepare to achieve their goals. Within these plans, candidates are required to explicitly identify the appropriate Indiana academic standard(s), describe evidence-based learning experiences and opportunities that are appropriate for the identified standard(s), delineate how they will assess students’ understanding and how they will use this data to improve instruction. Implemented in guided and controlled experiences with professionals in early childhood, elementary, secondary, and/or special education settings these plans provide evidence of candidates’ abilities to prepare students for college- and careers. (Lesson Plan Exemplars)
The observational tool, the STOT, provides a framework for measuring candidate performance. Using the ten InTASC standards as the basis of observation for each experience, it is used throughout a candidates’ plan of study in all field experiences including student teaching. Training is provided for the clinical faculty who use this observational tool and triangulation of multiple raters (i.e., university supervisor, school host teacher) are used to determine candidate performance. Further, the EPP has determined that the target level of performance on each InTASC rubric of the STOT for candidates would be an average of 3.0 (Proficient) or higher on the 4.0 scale. As part of this assessment, candidates’ use of the Indiana Academic Standards and scaffolding through the provision of evidence-based instructional methods to meet the college and career readiness benchmarks included within the standards is measured. Specifically, candidate performance on InTASC Standards 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8 are used to gauge their understanding and implementation of college and career ready instruction. The average EPP performance on standard 4 was 3.3, on standard 5 was 3.29, on standard 6 was 3.25, on standard 7 was 3.35, and on standard 8 it was 3.31. This level of performance across these InTASC standards on the STOT indicate that candidates demonstrate the skills and commitment necessary to afford all P-12 students access to rigorous educational experiences that prepare them for college and/or careers. Candidate Skills of Teaching Observation Tool on InTASC Standards by Program Area.
Performance on the edTPA, administered near program completion, also illustrates that candidates possess the skills and commitment to provide all students with access to rigorous standards. Candidates incorporate the Indiana state academic standards as the grounding for the three tasks in Planning, Instruction and Assessment. The average performance of candidates on four administrations of the assessment were Task 1:Planning 2.78, Task 2: Instruction 2.79, and Task 3: Assessment 2.77. This level of performance indicates that candidates perform on average above the EPP target level of performance of a 2.5/5.0 confirming that they have developed and are able to demonstrate the knowledge and skills to support learners in acquiring college and career-ready skills and understandings. (edTPA Performance by Program Area and Rubric).
The standards set by the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE Standards) have been adopted by the School of Education and Counseling (SOEC) as the framework for assessment of technology integration skills developed by teacher candidates throughout their program. The ISTE Standards are embedded into courses across each program, and aligned to the core standards and assessments adopted by the EPP, including InTASC, Specialized Professional Assessment Standards, and the North Dakota Common Metrics Student Teacher Observation Tool (STOT). The ISTE Standards have further been aligned with diversity standards to ensure that teacher candidates receive an education that is mindful of the importance of both traditional and digital equity.(Matrix of ISTE Standards by Course).
Teacher candidates engage with both the ISTE Standards for Students and the ISTE Standards for Educators during their plan of study. However, they are measured by the ISTE Standards for Educators with regard to their coursework. The Matrix of ISTE Standards by Course outlines the alignment of InTASC Standards to ISTE Standards, and the further alignment of ISTE Standards within core curriculum for elementary, special education, and secondary education.
The Surveys of Principals and Teachers conducted by the Indiana Department of Education, also provide information about the EPP completers use of technology. For the indicator that the teacher was prepared to “integrate technology as appropriate to advance student learning,” the principals ratings were all “Agree” or “Strongly Agree.” The EPP completers responded to the same question and 89% indicated “Agree” or Strongly Agree.” This points to a relative strength in the program completers’ self-efficacy for the use of technology.
While the EPP has evidence that technology has been integrated across and throughout programs of study, the efficacy of candidate’s use and integration of technology within their pedagogical practices is not currently formally assessed. This, coupled with proposed changes to technological requirements for novice educators from the state legislature (i.e., the need for educators to teach coding), indicates that further attention to technology and coding is needed. To begin to address this concern, the EPP has created a technology task force that will make recommendations to faculty members in each of the program area that will identify specific measures for use in assessing educator progress in technology integration and where the development of ‘coding’ understandings will occur.
Efforts to Improve
As a result of this self-study and through the analysis of the data compiled for it, the EPP has made efforts toward continuous improvement in the area of candidate content and pedagogical content knowledge. Feedback to the program areas on their respective SPA reports allowed the programs to review and refine rubrics; separating key elements within a standard and ensuring measurable, observable behaviors were incorporated. Revisions to the rubrics allowed program areas to see the distinctions between and among the specific elements of a standard.
An area of challenge has been developing consistency across programs for professional practice. Within the low-enrolled secondary programs, the lack of agreed-upon plans of study for candidates created confusion as candidates were taking courses out of sequence. Changes were made to unify the plans of study to create this consistency and to standardize the experiences for the candidates.
In the area of candidate Content Knowledge and Pedagogical Content Knowledge, candidate performance on the first administration of the edTPA during spring 2018 was slightly below the target level and the programs were able to respond by incorporating requirements earlier in the candidates’ course and clinical experiences. For example, the early childhood program area incorporated requirements in the practicum course (a course that occurs in the semester prior to student teaching) where language and development of content understandings were foregrounded. Additionally, all program areas engaged candidates in clarifying key concepts of content knowledge rubrics especially: language demands (i.e., vocabulary, functions, discourse, syntax); language function (purpose for which language is used); vocabulary; discourse; syntax; and language supports (those scaffolds, representations, and strategies used to help learners understand and use the concepts and language of the discipline). Similar difficulties on rubrics 1 (planning for content learning) and 2 (planning support for varied learning needs) are noted in the first administration with special education candidates in the spring 2019. To address the development of these understandings, the special education program area implemented activities within coursework requiring candidates to develop and implement units of study based on Universal Design for Learning (UDL) principles, and that required purposeful and intentional use and development of academic language within the content area.
Use of Specialty Licensure Area Data to Improve Instruction
An integral aspect of the PNW Quality Assurance System is program assessment. This process of asking and answering questions about how well candidates are achieving learning outcomes over the course of their plan of study utilizes information from Program Area Key Assessments (PAKAs). PAKA are those assessments used within specific program areas to measure candidate performance relative to Specialized Professional Association (SPA) standards. When coupled with the EPP Signature Assessments, the data provided creates a comprehensive picture of candidate progress toward achieving identified learning outcomes within the program area and the information is used to inform instructional and learning opportunities provided by the program.
Data Dialogue Days (DDD), occurring biannually for each program area in the EPP, are integral in this program review process. The Continuous Improvement Cycle Groups, a feature of the QAS, identifies the PAKA that are to be reviewed during the fall and spring semester. It includes the roles and responsibilities of the offices and individuals as they relate to the continuous improvement of programs of study. Further, it communicates the roles that faculty, community partners, clinical educators, completers, candidates and other stakeholders serve in reviewing program-level data, suggesting improvements, and determining next steps for program development.
Outcomes of DDD have been program curricular changes, restructuring of course sequencing within programs of study, the re-alignment of coursework with SPA standards, refinement of rubrics and assessments to meet SPA standards in observable and measurable ways, the development and implementation of field guides that help to standardize candidate experiences in clinical placements, the development and implementation of the Site Tracker of the EPP (STEPP) to ensure that candidates are afforded diverse clinical placements, identification and development of training on assessments (e.g., edTPA, PAKA, etc) for faculty and clinical educators, and the development of the REP3 which outlines the goals, strategies, innovations, and outcomes for PNW’s EPP and the roles that programs play in this process.
Program areas with enrollment 10 or greater in the last three years engage in the appropriate SPA review for national recognition review process. For those program areas that do not meet this enrollment threshold, state review occurs. The following programs have engaged in the SPA process and the results of their engagement is listed:
- Early Childhood Education NAEYC, Nationally Recognized
- Special Education, undergraduate CEC, Nationally Recognized
- Elementary Education ACEI, Nationally Recognized with Conditions
- English Education NCTE, Nationally Recognized with Conditions
- Special Education, graduate/initial licensure CEC, Nationally Recognized with Conditions
The following programs are currently being reviewed at the state level and for which results have not been received:
- Chemistry Education
- French Education
- Life Science Education
- Math Education
- Physics Education
- Spanish Education
- Social Studies Education (Historical Perspectives)
- Transition to Teach
Use of Data for Change
As previously indicated, program areas analyze PAKA data during DDD to propose changes and consider improvements unique to the program and the candidates it serves. However, there are commonalities in the proposed and enacted changes across program areas. They are curriculum mapping and change; syllabus alignment; program area key assessment refinement; training and supports; clinical placements; and the review of implemented improvements.
- Curricular Mapping, Alignment, and Change. Program areas use the SPA standards as the learning outcomes for all programs of study (i.e., enrolled and low-enrolled programs). They consider when the concepts, knowledge, and skills identified in the standards are to be introduced to candidates; when candidate’s understandings and use are to be further developed; and when candidates are to demonstrate proficiency in their use and understandings. This mapping of candidate development provides the curricular map from which the plan of study is developed. It also provides opportunity for the identification of “gaps” in performance and use of skills as well as the development of knowledge and understandings by candidates. From this analysis, program areas have then created new coursework, identified clinical needs, selected different courses from existing options, and clarified plans of study. These efforts improve candidate experiences in their programs of study and help to ensure that they are developing the knowledge, skills, and dispositions necessary to work in educational settings.
- Syllabus Alignment. An outgrowth of the curricular mapping and alignment was consideration for how courses could communicate information with candidates and clinical educators in a more productive and cohesive manner. The result was the implementation of course outlines and a syllabus template. Course outlines are used internally to communicate the learning outcomes for courses; identify the SPA standards addressed and the level at which they are to be addressed (i.e., introduced, developed, or proficiency); convey whether a PAKA is required, if so which one; identify whether a clinical was associated with the course; and state the expectations for the cross-cutting themes of technology and diversity.
- Program Area Key Assessment Refinement. Engagement in the SPA and state review processes indicated that adjustments were necessary in both the description of the assessment used for the PAKA as well as the rubrics used to evaluate it. Program areas engaged in a process of clarifying descriptors for all PAKA and how this information is communicated/shared with candidates. Further, they were analyzed to determine if they were assessing the learning objectives (SPA standards). Once the assessments were revised, rubrics were constructed and evaluated to ensure that they were clearly written, that the criterion statements were understandable, and that performance levels were accurately written to reflect the specific criteria in observable and measurable ways. Rubrics were then implemented and further revised.
- Training and Support. Analysis of the data at the program level also indicated that there was inconsistency in the scoring of PAKA. To address this inconsistency and work toward measures that more reliably demonstrated that candidates had developed the knowledge, skills, and dispositions being assessed, training was developed and implemented for PAKA in the program area. Additionally, training was identified as being necessary for EPP Signature Assessments (i.e., Niagara University Disposition Assessment, Skills of Teaching Observation Tool, and edTPA) used as part of program review. Therefore, training was developed and continues to be implemented and refined.
- Clinical Placements. Clinical placements are integral in candidates’ integration of theoretical knowledge with practice. An analysis of data across program areas indicated, however, that candidates were experiencing an uneven level of placement. In other words, clinical placements were not consistent from one candidate to another within a course (e.g., level of expectation, level of clinical educator support varied). Further, candidates were not consistently experiencing a variety of experiences to develop their professional identity, confidence, and knowledge (i.e., candidates may not have experience in a variety of grade levels, site placement- rural, urban, suburban, socioeconomic diversity, etc.). An outcome of this analysis was the creation of field experience guides for each clinical experience. Field guides help to make explicit the connections between the clinical site and university course, the expectations for candidates and the role of clinical educators, and facilitate dialogue for all involved. Another outcome was the development of the Site Tracker of the EPP (STEPP). The STEPP is used to track candidates’ placements and ensure that they are provided with a variety of opportunities in which to grow and development as educators.
- Review of Implemented Improvements. Finally, as part of the use of data for change and improvement, program areas review the implementation of the changes they have made to their programs of study, PAKA, field guides, and clinical experiences. As part of this continuous improvement cycle, new programs of study have been developed, PAKA continue to be refined, field guides are revised each semester, and clinical placements are reviewed to determine ‘fit’ with the objectives of a course.
Alignment with Professional Standards
All program areas are aligned with the Interstate New Teacher Assessment and Support Consortium (InTASC) standards and their respective Specialized Professional Association (SPA) standards. This alignment is evidenced through two primary means: course syllabi and Program Area Key Assessments (PAKA). These standards serve as the learning outcomes for professional education courses in the plan of study. The syllabus identifies the InTASC and SPA standard/standard elements addressed as well as the method for assessing candidate performance. PAKA are analyzed during Data Dialogue Days (DDD) to ensure that they are assessing the learning objectives, that the rubrics are clearly written with understandable criterion statements and performance level statements that reflect the specific criteria in observable and measurable ways.
Additionally, each program engaged in and revisits annually the curricular mapping of InTASC and SPA standards across the plan of study. This process involves determining where the concepts, knowledge, and skills identified in the standards are to be introduced to candidates; when candidate’s understandings and use are to be further developed; and when candidates are to demonstrate proficiency in their use and understandings. Such alignment is based on a developmental approach that considers the changing needs of candidates as they learn, apply and experience their evolving role in learning environments.
Speciality Professional Areas, CAEP, and State Review
Currently, there are five programs that have undergone SPA review and attained some form of national recognition. Two of the five are nationally recognized (Early Childhood Education and Special Education undergraduate level). The other three (Elementary Education, Special Education initial licensure at the graduate level, and English Education) are nationally recognized with conditions. The following is being done to address the concerns indicated from SPA for these three programs:
- Elementary Education. Curricular changes were submitted to ensure candidate development of content knowledge, specifically in the areas of mathematics and social studies. This has resulted in a revision to the plan of study for this program area. Further, the assessment of content knowledge no longer relies on the use of grades. Candidates are now required to create and implement evidenced-based instruction in each of six curricular areas (reading, writing, and oral language; science; mathematics; social studies; health education; and physical education) that includes measurable learning outcomes and describes appropriate instructional, assessment, intervention and extensions strategies for the discipline. The lessons are evaluated on candidates’ knowledge and understandings of the fundamental concepts of the six curricular areas. Candidate performance on this assessment along with their performance on three other measures Impact on Student Learning, STOT, and edTPA are aggregated to demonstrate their development of disciplinary knowledge. Training on the use and scoring of the assessment tools has been developed and implemented to ensure that all instructors are utilizing the tool optimally, and that there is shared agreement on the behavioral, observable aspects described in the assessments.
Further, with the publication of the CAEP 2018 K-6 Elementary Teacher Preparation Standards, the program area has engaged in a revision of course outlines and syllabi to ensure alignment with the standards. Additionally, PAKA have been revised to reflect the use of the new standards. Finally, the program has engaged in revising its curricular map and the alignment of coursework to ensure a developmental progression in the development of the concepts, knowledge, and skills identified in the CAEP K-6 standards occurs. This has necessitated further revisions to field guides and refinement of clinical placement sites to ensure that candidates have the opportunity to integrate theoretical knowledge with practice.
- Special Education Initial Licensure at the Graduate Level. The report from the SPA review indicated the need for a complete curricular overhaul of the program. Curricular changes were submitted to ensure candidate development of content and pedagogical knowledge. These changes include the identification of a special education core, the development of new courses within the core, and the creation of a cohesive plan of study. The plan of study identifies admission and licensure requirements, as well as those for coursework and field experiences.
With the drastic changes to the plan of study, PAKA were evaluated to determine if they were assessing the learning objectives (SPA standards). It was determined that they were not. Therefore, new assessments were created, rubrics constructed and evaluated to ensure that they were clearly written, that the criterion statements were understandable, and that performance levels were accurately written to reflect the specific criteria in observable and measurable ways. Rubrics were then implemented. The program area will re-submit for SPA review in March 2021.
- English Education. Based upon information and questions from the SPA review, the program area made a number of changes. They created and piloted the use of a capstone interview experience where candidates were asked to demonstrate their understanding of specific aspects of literature and writing. A review of the pilot indicated, however, that this was not an effective way for determining candidates’ development of content knowledge. Therefore, the program decided to change the program’s plan of study identifying four specific courses that candidates would take and in which the National Council of Teachers of English standards would be embedded and assessed. In this way, the candidates’ grades in these courses could be used as a measure of their development of content knowledge and understandings. Additionally, the sequencing of courses was examined to ensure a developmental approach to candidate preparation occurs. Finally, rubrics for existing assessments were revised to ensure that they were clearly written, that the criterion statements were understandable, and that performance levels were accurately written to reflect the specific criteria in observable and measurable ways. Rubrics were then implemented. The program area will re-submit for SPA review in March 2020.
Currently, the following programs are being reviewed at the state level and for which results have not been received:
- Chemistry Education
- French Education
- Life Science Education
- Math Education . Physics Education
- Spanish Education
- Social Studies Education (Historical Perspectives)
- Transition to Teach
Prior to submission of these programs for review by the state, program areas undertook the following steps to ensure candidates’ development of the concepts, knowledge, and skills of the discipline: o Revision to plan of study to indicate the inclusion of four field-based courses. These are courses which include a clinical placement so that candidates have the opportunity to integrate theoretical knowledge with practice.
- Revision to plan of study to indicate the inclusion of four field-based courses. These courses include a clinical placement so that candidates have the opportunity to integrate theoretical knowledge with practice.
- Revision to plan of study to indicate the sequencing of coursework so that the majority of content knowledge coursework is complete prior to professional coursework in education.
- Creation of a curricular matrix that indicates standard/standard element alignment across plan of study. The matrix identifies when the concepts, knowledge, and skills identified in the standards are to be introduced to candidates; when candidate’s understandings and use are to be further developed; and when candidates are to demonstrate proficiency in their use and understandings.
- Creation and implementation of field guides to make explicit the connections between the clinical site and university course, the expectations for candidates and the role of clinical educators, and facilitate dialogue for all involved.
- Identification of PAKA used to measure candidates’ performance toward learning objectives (i.e., learning objectives are the SPA standards for the discipline) and when assessment occurs. Further, the rubrics used as part of the PAKA were evaluated to ensure that they were clearly written, that the criterion statements were understandable, and that performance levels were accurately written to reflect the specific criteria in observable and measurable ways.
- Identification of intervention strategies used to provide support to candidates who may experience difficulty during the program.