Response 2

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2.5 Evidence for the Onsite BOE Team to validate during the onsite visit

(1)   The role of the professional community in the assessment system. What role do members of the professional community play in evaluating the assessment system? (Interview members of the professional community.)

Unit’s Response

Spalding University’s Continuous Unit Assessment Systems have been developed over a long period of time with revisions put into place based on evolving needs for information. Unit faculty developed the unit assessment system with involvement from school-based and university partners. Initially (prior to 2003) [See Exhibit, I.R. 2003, p.32 ), the partners including teachers, principals, and the professional community faculty were involved in ongoing workshops to discuss the conceptual framework and the assessment system. The protocols are updated and improved as programs change and new ideas are put into operation. Most recent involvements of the school partners in the development and refinement of the assessment system and its components occurred during the development of the School Guidance and Counseling Program as well as during the redesign process of the Teacher Leader M.Ed., and the Instructional Leader (Principal) Rank I programs (See Exhibit For example, the Unit utilized the expertise of Lynne Wheat (2010) in the development of the Principal Preparation program capstone and anchor assessments associated with the one credit hour lab courses. Dr. Verna Lowe from Asbury University provided guidance in the development of the Unit’s gated assessment system in 2009.

(2) Samples of candidates’ professional growth plans. How are these growth plans being used? How often are they used? How do candidates perceive the value of these growth plans?

Unit’s Response

Growth plans are used as a tool to assist teacher candidates identify their strengths and areas for growth related to the institutional, state, and professional standards. The growth plans, offer candidates a tool to identify two to three priority areas and develop a plan in order to make improvements over the course of his or her student teaching semester. It also asks the teacher candidate to identify areas in which they may need support or assistance from their cooperating teacher and/or university supervisors. These plans are reviewed the first week of student teaching with the University supervisor and cooperating teacher and a plan of action is documented. The university supervisor and cooperating teacher revisits the candidate’s plan at every formal observation and discusses the progress made towards meeting the goals and possibly revise and change the areas of need. These growth plans also are required submissions as artifacts included in the ePortfolio as a demonstration of proficiency in Standard 9, “Evaluates Teaching and Implements Professional Development.”

Professor Jennifer Mangeot, Director of Field Experiences and Clinical Practice reflects: “Students seem to find these plans very useful tools as it ‘forces’ them to reflect on their areas of need and make a concrete plan on how to make improvements in these areas. It is also quite encouraging for teacher candidates to track and see their overall progress towards achieving these goals, along with the assistance from their supervisors and cooperating teacher. They do not feel isolated in this professional growth and it encourages honest reflection and collaboration.”

In a recent conversation relative to professional growth plans a faculty member made the following observation: “Growth Plans are used and revised annually. Candidates are required to reflect thoughtfully on their experiences, assess their own learning, and set goals for professional growth. Field experiences and clinical practice support the development of the delineated functional dimensions of the conceptual framework and provide multiple opportunities for candidates to integrate theory into practice. Candidates have shared this with me.” [Dr. Jayne Morgenthal, Director of the Principal Preparation Program].

(3) Feedback received by candidates on key assessments. What opportunities are provided candidates to receive feedback? What access do candidates have to their assessment data?

Unit’s Response

Candidates are able to review their performance in relation to the scoring guides and rubric to see how their performance can be improved. Candidates have individual, unrestricted access to their academic files housed on DataTel through their WebAdvisor accounts. In addition, the Unit utilizes LiveText in the administration of course level assessments. Since the implementation of LiveText in 2009, the University has generously purchased accounts for all candidates in both initial and advanced programs. Also, both faculty and candidates use Blackboard for instructional and assessment purposes. Through the use of Blackboard, candidates added opportunities to access their assessment data.

With support from the Office of the Associate Dean, the program directors review a candidate’s course performance and provide information to program directors in case the student’s performance was to fall below expectations. At the end of each semester, courses and grade point averages are completed for every professional education course. Candidates who do not meet program requirements at the course level are notified and where necessary action regarding counseling them out of the programs begins. The unit maintains copies of correspondence on action taken on candidates [See Exhibit 2.4.3]

(4) Files with candidate complaints and the unit’s response. How are records on complaints and their resolutions maintained?

Unit’s Response

The Office of the Dean maintains files of candidate complaints. These files will be made available for review by the NCATE/State Joint Team during the on-site visit.

(5) Policies and procedures for filing a complaint. What do candidates know about the complaint review process? Is the unit following its policies and procedures?

Unit’s Response

The unit has adapted the University-wide appeals process to ensure fairness and unbiased treatment of teacher candidates and advanced students as well as provide an opportunity for candidates to voice their concerns and complaints about a course or program. It also allows for the unit to strengthen the communication between the candidates and the Unit. Candidates are made aware of the policies through various published documents, including the catalog and student handbook.

Spalding University provides students with information about services, resources, and responsibilities within the campus community through the Spalding University Policy Manual Volume VII, 2006-2007 Student Handbook: A Guide to Civil and Honorable Conduct [See Exhibit], which states:

The purpose of this Handbook is to assist you in understanding your rights, freedoms, and responsibilities as a student. This Handbook is an official publication of the University. As such, it is a legal and contractual document between the University and its student body. As a student, you will be held accountable for its contents. This means that while officially enrolled at the University you are responsible for abiding by its rules which are intended to facilitate and sustain, in an orderly fashion, the ongoing business of the University. For its part, the University has committed itself to your holistic development and to the support of those regulations designed to enhance and protect your individual rights.

In addition, the Unit requires faculty to use a uniform and standard template [Exhibit], which includes a link to the description of the policy. It is a unit expectation that faculty spend a portion of the first class at the beginning of the semester to review the syllabus with candidates. The Unit adheres to the complaint policies and procedures. When a candidate seeks a “shortcut” the responsible administrator points the student to the process [See example in Exhibit].

(6) Program and unit changes for alternate route programs, advanced teaching, and other school professional programs. What data led to these changes?

Unit’s Response

Additional examples of changes for alternative-route programs, advanced teaching, and other school professional programs are presented in Exhibit

(7) Use of assessment data by faculty. When are candidate assessment data discussed by faculty? What is faculty learning from candidate assessment data? What changes based on these data have been recommended by faculty? (Interview faculty about annual retreats and review agenda and other documents from the retreat.)

Unit’s Response

The Unit’s assessment system [See Exhibit 2.5.7] assures accountability of candidate, program and unit operations. This is made possible through a collaborate effort that is based on a clear feedback process that ties assessment to ongoing revision of the curriculum, to instruction, and to unit operation. The role of the Assessment Committees is to sustain the assessment system through systematic meetings to assure efficacy of assessment instruments used at the program and unit level, the participation and collaboration of all members of the professional community, integration of technology (LiveText) in assessment and data collection activities, among others. These processes contribute to the development of the assessment instruments and rubrics consistent with the conceptual framework of Educator as Leader, and to facilitate the evaluation of the assessment system through the discussion of findings among unit faculty on a periodic basis. Through the office of the Associate Dean, the unit ensures that data is systematically collected, analyzed, aggregated, and disaggregated and shared with faculty and other stakeholders. The results inform and advise them about forthcoming next steps for courses, field experiences, and related matters. During annual faculty and staff retreat, and other faculty meetings, the unit’s associate dean coordinates the review [see Exhibit] of candidate and unit data and supports discussion leading to collaborative program designs initiatives for the overall program improvement and success of candidates.

Listed below are examples of changes recommended by faculty:

  1. Reviewing and appropriately increase field based hours;
  2. Extending the knowledge of faculty in formal discussions and conversation about field experiences;
  3. Collaboratively developing a uniform course syllabi template to ensure consistency in program requirements and expectations;
  4. Collaboratively developing the Renaissance Plan for Improvement; and
  5. The SGC program review the “first crop” of ePortfolio submitted on LiveText during the spring 2011 semester. Following a review by members of the Assessment Committee, a number of lessons were learned:

(a) Both faculty and candidates were experiencing challenges using LiveText in portfolio development. Some candidates submitted multiple ePortfolios. The unit has assigned a three credit hours release time to Teri Schoone to support faculty in professional development sessions and activities focused on LiveText. A published calendar that includes various scheduled sessions and activities is displayed in Exhibit

(b) Need to calibrate the scoring scale from 3-point to 4-point scale and provide precision in rating candidate performance. A 4-point scaled rubric will be used in assessing ePortfolios submitted in the fall 2011 semester.

(8)   Unit’s analysis of program evaluation and performance assessment data. How are the data being used to initiate changes in programs and unit operations? As the unit learns more about candidate performance, where are they applying this information? What changes are being made to correct weaknesses?

Unit’s Response

The Unit engages in routine data collection, analysis and review of data to provide a sense of the effectiveness of programs and unit operations. application of findings Due to the heightened need for data collection and analyses, in 2008 the Unit requested the creation of an Associate Dean’s position to spearhead the coordination in the implementation of the Unit’s Continuous Assessment System (UCAS) and support for programs.  With the selection of Standard 3 as area for continuous improvement, Unit faculty have come to learn that an intentional systematic process do data collection for field experiences in important. As a response to this finding, unit faculty made a recommendation to seek an automated system that will support field experiences. Unit faculty exploration for automated technology yielded a recommendation for the purchase of newly LiveText developed Field Experiences Management System.

Assessment data has also revealed a need to provide support to candidates who require additional test taking skills to pass Praxis examination. To remedy this shortcoming, the unit has implemented a Praxis preparation program serviced by a  faculty member.  A dedicated space on the garden floor of Mansion West was allocated to the program.

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