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Candidates preparing to work in schools as teachers or other school professionals know and demonstrate the content knowledge, pedagogical content knowledge and skills, pedagogical and professional knowledge and skills, and professional dispositions necessary to help all students learn. Assessments indicate that candidates meet professional, state, and institutional standards.

1. What do candidate assessment data tell the unit about candidates’ meeting professional, state, and institutional standards? For programs not nationally/state reviewed, summarize data from key assessments and discuss these results.

The College of Education offers a total of 23 programs and concentrations that prepare candidates at the initial and advanced levels. As an institution located in the Commonwealth of Kentucky, Spalding University is not required to submit its programs for review by the Specialized Professional Associations (SPA). However, the Education Professional Standards Board, a regulating agency of teacher preparation in the State of Kentucky, has approved all programs.

At GATE 2 (“Admission to the Teacher Education”) undergraduate candidates demonstrate basic knowledge of content in reading, written language, and mathematics by passing “PRAXIS I: Mathematics, Reading, and Writing” prior to admission to the teacher education program (GATE 2), unless they demonstrate competence with an ACT score of 21 or above or a SAT score of 1430 or above. Candidates entering the program as graduate students must achieve an acceptable score on the GRE or Millers Analogy Test. Throughout coursework, candidates must maintain a grade point average of 2.5 in areas of concentration to remain in the undergraduate program and a 3.0 in the master’s of art in teaching (MAT) program.

All teacher education candidates follow degree program guidelines that include clearly defined sets of courses in content specializations. Relevant specialty area professional organizations, Kentucky Education Professional Standards Board, and the institution delineate content-area standards that the College of Education uses to develop its program standards. The college assesses Content knowledge of initial teacher education program candidates through their performances on the Praxis specialty area examinations, clinical practice evaluations, candidate portfolios, follow-up studies, and grade point averages. All candidates must pass Praxis II prior to program completion.  Baccalaureate candidates are expected to meet this requirement while completing the professional education courses and MAT candidates must meet this requirement no later than the end of their first semester of enrollment. However, candidates pursuing a specialty in Learning and Behavior Disorders (LBD) in the MAT program are an exception to this.

The unit’s Title II reports reflect pass rates on Praxis II content licensure exams. In many of our programs, program completer numbers are less than 10. Only programs with completer numbers of 10 or greater are reported in the Title II report. Percentages for program completers in the teaching programs are described in our Title II reports. Praxis II trend data at the unit level indicates pass rates exceed the 80 percent threshold for each year. Some programs have higher pass rates than others. The unit provides all the content knowledge to candidates in the LBD program. Pass rates for LBD candidates range between 93 and 100 percent each year for each year a percentage has been calculated (percentages are calculated when the number of completers is 10 or more). In the content knowledge areas all programs (elementary education, middle grades, LBD, and secondary education had a pass rate between 82 and100 percent. With the exception of 2008-2009, content knowledge scores have ranged between 96 and 100 percent. Results of data analysis points to a need to raise pass rates for elementary education candidates. In addressing this need, the unit has assigned a three credit hours release time to one faculty member who will support candidates who struggle.

Data collected at Level III (clinical practice semester) using the Student Teaching Evaluation Protocols (STEP) process  showed that all candidates demonstrated a strong grasp of content knowledge. For example, item 1 of the Student Teacher Observation Instrument on regarding content knowledge for candidate a mean score of 85.7 percent (N=12) for (spring 2009 cohort) had a mean score of 4.0. The teacher candidate’s content knowledge is also assessed during the review of the e-Portfolio in EDU 447 Education Capstone Seminar (undergraduates) or EDU 547 Education Capstone Seminar (graduate). The ePortfolios are reviewed using a rubric. Unit data for spring 2009 indicate a mean score of 2.668 on a 3 point Likert scale.

The unit consistently reviews data from follow-up surveys of graduates and their employers  collected from two sources: (1) a set of surveys administered by the unit and (2) an EPSB-administered survey. Both surveys request candidates to provide the level of their confidence in areas including content knowledge in various forms: by program, by year, and by program structure. Content knowledge items reveal that  82.6 percent of program completers for 2006-2007 responded that they were “very well prepared … to effectively communicate concepts, processes, and knowledge to my students.” In the same survey, 65.3 percent (N =15) of the 2006-2007 cohort; 58.3 percent  (N=14) of the 2007-2008 cohort; and 73.3 percent (N=11) indicated that they were “very satisfied” in their preparation “to effectively connect content to life experiences of student.”

Survey data are aggregated across programs and levels. Program graduates consider themselves competent in their content knowledge including the state and national content standards based on follow-up survey data indicating that the candidates are learning content. The graduates were asked what their estimation was regarding question 1c: “I was prepared to effectively use instructional strategies that are appropriate for content and contribute student learning.” 7 out of the 11 (63 percent) of the 2008-2009 program completers in the traditional programs” and three of four (75 percent) completers in the Alternative Certification Program (AltCert) program indicated that they were “very well prepared.” Regarding responses to question 4a, 90 percent of completers in the traditional programs and 75 percent in the AltCert programs indicated that they were “very well prepared.” The mean scores were lower for question 5c: “I was prepared to effectively use summative assessment.” The survey generated a 3.43. Of the 49 completers of the traditional BS and MAT program, over the three years, three (6.1 percent) indicated that they were “poorly prepared” and another three program completers (23.1 percent) indicated the same.

In a survey administered and aggregated by EPSB of completers in academic year (AY) 2007-2008, 84.62 percent indicated “satisfaction in understanding the core concepts and skills related to the student teacher’s or intern’s certified content area or areas (question 21).” The other 15.38 percent placed the satisfaction at “good.” No one selected the other two options of “fair” and “poor.” Their rating yielded a mean score of 3.85. Survey data are aggregated across programs and levels. Graduates in the program consider themselves competent in their content knowledge; including the state and national content standards based on follow-up surveys data also indicate that the candidates are learning content.

Pedagogical content knowledge and skills for teacher candidates are assessed through tests and activities in methods classes, comprehensive exams, Praxis II pedagogy exams, observation and evaluation of candidates’ work in field sites, and portfolios. In Gate 3, all candidates are expected to have completed their methods courses, and during this period, they have the opportunity to plan and teach under the observation of university and clinical faculty. For those candidates entering the program after the 2009-2010 academic year, the respective Praxis II PLT must be completed. For those candidates who entered the program prior to 2009-2010, passing Praxis II PLT may be deferred until Gate 4. Candidates complete ePortfolios that showcase lesson plans and unit plans; all of which address developmentally appropriate practices. Candidates must secure and maintain samples of P-12 students’ work that documents student learning and the effectiveness of the candidate’s planning and implementation of instruction. E-Portfolios are also compiled with artifacts from the courses candidates have taken and contain examples of evidence relating to pedagogical content knowledge.

During student teaching, pedagogical content knowledge is assessed through the Student Teaching Evaluation Process [STEP]. The cooperating teachers assess candidate(s) placed in his or her classroom using the Cooperating Teacher Evaluation of Student Teacher Form. Cooperating teachers measured candidates’ level of proficiency in the range of 3.63 and 3.82 in evaluations completed in the fall of 2007, spring 2008, fall 2008 and fall 2009 yielded the data. Candidates are required to demonstrate pedagogical content knowledge through Level II (participation) and Level III (leading) field experiences in their specific area of concentration. Candidates demonstrate proficiency in presenting content to students in challenging, clear, and compelling ways. They also appropriately integrate technology through lessons in the field and lesson evaluations. Subsequently, candidates demonstrate pedagogical knowledge  when they successfully complete the Praxis II (PLT) examination, a requirement for student teaching.

The unit considers candidates in advanced programs as successful when they demonstrate proficiency in pedagogical content knowledge and demonstrate proficiency of these skills: design, conduct, analysis and interpretation of research, and application of research to practice. Additionally candidates must exhibit in their own practice the concepts essential to the content areas central to their own discipline in ways that support all learners.  The unit no longer offers the MAED program.  In any case, considering the small number of candidates completed the  MAED programs, the return rate of a follow-up survey has been too low to yield meaningful data. However, for candidates in endorsement programs, professional and pedagogical knowledge and skills are assessed through assignments related to the Kentucky Teacher Standards 1 (demonstrates applied content knowledge), 7 (reflects and evaluates teaching and learning), 8 (collaborates with colleagues, parents, and others ), and 9 (Engages in Professional Development). Advanced candidates complete course-embedded assignments, such as professional development plans, e-Portfolios, and reflective narratives focused on teaching and learning. These assignments document their proficiency in these areas. Currently, we do not have program completers from our newly redesigned Teacher Leader M.Ed.

The unit consistently collects data related to professional and pedagogical knowledge and skills for Teacher Candidates. Candidates acquire these skills while completing their methods courses and are assessed at GATE 3 in their preparation program. Using the STEP process, program faculty rate candidate proficiency on the Kentucky Teacher Standards 8 (collaborates with colleagues, parents, and others). For this standard, our teacher candidates are expected to collaborate with colleagues, parents, and other agencies to design, implement, and support learning programs that develop students’ abilities to use communication skills, apply core concepts, become self-sufficient individuals, become responsible team members, think and solve problems, and integrate knowledge. The four areas assess the ability of the teacher candidate to (1) identify one or more students whose learning could be enhanced by collaboration; (2) design a plan to enhance student learning that includes all parties in the collaborative effort; (3) implement planned activities that enhance student learning and engage all parties; and (4) analyze student learning data to evaluate the outcomes of collaboration and identify next steps. Aggregated STEP process data collected indicates that the four primary areas yielded a mean score at or above the competent level threshold on a four-point-scaled rubric. Other aggregated data from the STEP reviewed on these standards are available.

Unit’s follow-up studies contacted in 2006-2007; 2007-2008 and 2008-2009 on program completers’ perceptions of how the teacher preparation program prepared them in professional and pedagogical knowledge and skills. The results range from 3.43 and 3.74 on a four-point-scale instrument. This data combines cohorts for the three years irrespective of program.

While it is more a programmatic evaluation instrument, the unit collects data using a 16-item Cooperating Teacher Program Review and Feedback form from cooperating teachers who currently supervise a candidate. Aggregated data for spring 2009 indicated a mean rating score of 3.5 (N = 22) on a four-point scale for item 7: Collaboration with colleagues, parents, students, and others. Mean scores for the candidates who participated in spring 2008 3.65 and a score of 3.89  for fall of 2007 on the same item. Faculty observed that trend data between 2007 and 2009 tended to move negatively. The two explanations for this are that the assessment data is more calibrated as clinical supervisors gain experience and that the Kentucky Standards (revised February 2008) are more specific and detailed based on the rubric.

The unit has analyzed and reviewed data generated from follow-up surveys for program completers over a three-year period. The instrument used for the survey requested respondents to rate how the program supported their abilities to help all students learn. While all questionnaire items, in fact, request ratings in various acquired skills in support of student learning, question 2d asked them to respond to the question: “I was prepared to effectively plan instructional strategies and activities that address learning objectives for all students.” For question 2d, 100 percent of program completers for each of the three years indicated that the programs either “fairly prepared” or “very well prepared” them to acquire skills to help all students learn. A total of 38 (77.6 percent) of the 49 in the traditional initial programs and eight (61 percent) of the 13 in the AltCert program, indicated that the Spalding University programs helped them to “…effectively plan instructional strategies that addressed learning objectives for all students.” The mean score for the question was 3.74 on a four-point scale. Data from this instrument are available for review.

Another question in the survey prompting program completers to rate the adequacy of the program to impact their skills and ability to help all students learn is question 6b: “I was prepared to effectively use available technology implement instruction that facilitates student learning.” The 62 program completers over the three year period (2006-2007 through 2009-2010) has a cumulative mean score of 3.74. All respondents, except one program completer from the 2007-2008 cohort of the AltCert program, rated Spalding University’s program at between 3 (“fairly well prepared”) and 4 (“Very well prepared”) them in the use of technology to facilitate student learning.

The unit offers the principal preparation and school guidance counselor programs however they are, very small. The unit’s redesigned program is currently in its implementation stages and running concurrently with the outgoing program. Likewise, the school guidance counselor program is also relatively new and does not currently have program completers.’

In the last three years, a total of nine candidates completed the principal preparation program. Content knowledge for educational leadership is measured by the Kentucky Principals Test (KYPT) – GATE 9. The pass rate for 2008-2009 was at 100 percent and 90 percent in 2009-2010. The unit is in the early stages of collecting, aggregating, and summarizing data on our newly approved school guidance counselor program (SGC). Most recent analyzed GPA data depicts an overall GPA of 3.66 distributed in the following manner. A GPA of 3.68 (N = 32) in counselor preparation; GPA of 3.45 (N= 24) in school counselor ethics and leadership, GPA of 3.90 (N = 10) in social and legal issues of school counselor, GPA of 4.00 (N= 24) in research methods/test and measurements; and, GPA of 3.88 (N = 9) in technology for school counselors. This GPA reflects a clear indication that candidates pursing the SGC program have in-depth knowledge of the content of their certification.

All candidates, in initial and advanced programs, are expected to demonstrate professional disposition specified in the unit’s conceptual framework. All candidates are expected to work with students, families, and communities, and to adhere to the professional code of ethics. Candidates exhibit competence, reflection, concern, and a professional passion for teaching and working with students that is manifested in their advocacy for children and their communities, for knowledge, and for the profession itself. As candidates matriculate through the program, their knowledge, skills, and disposition for the teaching of diverse students as assigned to observe how teachers modify instruction for children with special needs and to identify the services which support the learning of this segment of children (see EDU 385 and EDU 585 Inclusive Classroom syllabi). Candidates also interview teachers about classrooms and schools that understand, accept, and encourage cultural diversity. Structured discussion about these experiences enables candidates to begin to develop the professional dispositions to support the learning of all children.

The unit continues to affirm its belief that prospective teachers honor and encourage character traits that foster a positive community for learning; the unit believes this is imperative. The unit’s faculty has developed a disposition instrument administered to assess candidates’ dispositions. The disposition instrument was also designed to be a self-assessment for the candidate to use. The assessment instrument is administered three times while a candidate is in the program: at admissions, during coursework, and during the student teaching semester. Data collected from candidates completing the self-evaluation portion offer candidates an opportunity to become aware of desirable traits (professional conduct) in teachers, and to allow them to evaluate their own needs in this area.

2.   Please respond to 2a if this is the standard on which the unit is moving to the Target Level

  1. Standard on which the unit is moving to the Target Level

Unit has not selected Standard 1: Candidate Knowledge, Skills & Professional Dispositions as standard to move to the Target Level in this cycle.

  1. Continuous Improvement

The 2003 NCATE review made a recommendation of MET all expectations for this Candidates Knowledge, Skills and Professional Dispositions.  The unit has, however, made additional effort in moving toward the target. These efforts have included:

Refinement of the Data Collection Protocol and Procedures: Over the last eight years, unit faculty have, in collaboration with our school partners, refined multiple processes currently in use to ensure that candidates collect and analyze data on student learning, reflect on those data, and improve student learning during clinical practice. In the spring of 2009, the unit moved away from bulky three-ring binders to e-Portfolios housed on LiveText.

Refinement of Teacher Candidate use of Student Data to Impact Learning: As candidates develop their e-Portfolios, they are expected to document how they assess student learning during their clinical practice semester. In addition, they are expected to articulate why they chose those particular assessments for these students at this time in this context. A significant part of the e-Portfolio is the candidates’ reflections and analyses of their efforts to scaffold student learning as well as their reflections upon decisions they made and what possible alternatives were available to them. While there remains a need for additional refinement, teacher candidates’ use of data occurs at the classroom level as they gather evidence of improvements in student learning to determine the effects of their action and professional learning on their own students.

Redesigned Programs: Since the 2003 visit, the unit has redesigned the principal preparation program (PPP) which had a Master of Arts in Education (MAED – Administration) option. The unit has also completely redesigned all its MAED programs as a part of the state’s regulation. The redesigned PPP program is a Rank I only program leading to both a provisional and standard certification for school leaders. All other programs previously offered under the MAED degree program have been phased-out and replaced with the implementation of a redesigned Teacher Leader program leading to a M.Ed. degree (advanced level). Both the PPP and the M.Ed. programs have been implemented and they include an enhanced and collaboratively developed field-based component. For the two programs, the unit has an understanding with the partnering school district to identify mentor teachers (for M.Ed.) or principals (for PPP) who model practices that support benchmark expectations for the aspiring teacher or instructional leader candidates.

Candidates in the School Guidance and Counselor (SGC) program address individual needs of students through the practicum experience of SGC 690 and create a positive environment for students. They demonstrate the practice of personal, academic, and career counseling through self-reflection following field-based experiences that may include participation in counseling sessions. Feedback from these sessions is provided by the site supervisor, fellow candidates, and university faculty supervisor. Because of the confidential nature of counseling, notes taken are destroyed after reviewing; however, candidates are assessed through practicum mid-term and final evaluations. Candidates are also required to implement in practicum theoretical knowledge and skills, small and large group plans, comprehensive school counseling program concepts, and ethical and professional behavior learned in all courses.

In response to the school districts in the unit’s service area, especially the Jefferson County Public Schools district, expressed continued need, the unit has added a new school guidance counselor program to its offerings during the 2009-2010 academic year. The program consists of a sequence of courses that provide in-depth orientation to the role and function of P-12 school counselors, the essential services of developmental knowledge and skill required in a culturally diverse environment. The SGC program places specific emphasis on diversity, assessment, literacy education, and the closing of the achievement gap. Below is a description of how these are addressed.

Diversity: Candidates in the SGC program must complete SGC 650 (Counseling Theories and Multicultural Settings), which covers varied concepts on the application and synthesis of counseling theories and techniques for a culturally responsive program in a diverse school setting. In addition, candidates complete SGC 660 (Group Counseling and Crisis Intervention) which gives specific focus to collaboration methods with staff, families, and community organizations to support the mission of the school and advance district, state, and federal initiatives for the student achievement gap. Issues covered in the course address student issues (gangs, bullying, substance abuse, family violence, etc.) for improving student success.

Assessment. Candidates in the school guidance counselor program are required in SGC 640 (Research/Tests and Measurements) to design student assessments and instructional strategies that address student learning based upon assessment results. Within the course, for example, candidates are required to assess and to evaluate the reading and writing development of one student or a sub-group of students, to conduct a series of assessments with the student or students, and to design an instructional plan. The instructional plan for the student or students must fit within the context of the candidates’ classroom curricula.

Literacy Education. During the last two decades, a national major concern surrounding the achievement gap is the decline of literacy rates among young adolescents. Spalding University’s school guidance counselor program is committed to helping P-12 guidance counselors recognize struggling readers as well as identify strategies that could be used to support these struggling readers regardless of the content area. To that end, SGC 600 (Counselor Preparation), which serves as the program’s core course, is offered earlier in the program to lay groundwork for the counselor preparation program. In addition to familiarizing candidates with the State of Kentucky Standards for School Guidance Counselors, the course provides a broad coverage the KERA (Kentucky Education Reform Act) initiatives that include the interpretation of the results from an evaluation of reading performance assessments used in the various grade levels. SGC 650 (Research Methods/Tests and Measurements) provides coverage psycho-educational tests for analysis that includes the examination of scores on reading.

Closing the Achievement Gap. Candidates are required to complete SGC 660 (Group Counseling and Crisis Intervention). This course gives specific focus to strategies and best practices in closing the student achievement gap. Issues covered in the course address student issues (gangs, bullying, substance abuse, family violence, etc.) for improving student success. In addition, SGC 690 (Program Development) engages candidates in the development of a plan that utilizes data from the school guidance counselors standpoint to identify barriers to learning and success and to close the achievement gap.

The metaphor of an interlaced Celtic knot characterizes the unit’s set of six professional-disposition strands.. The never ending strands represent the permanence and the continuum of teacher professional dispositions drawn from a knowledge base aligned with national, state, and professional standards in support of student learning and development. Unit faculty are currently working to redevelop professional dispositions for all candidates. These are facilitated through the curriculum and policies of each program and are intended to complement the development of appropriate dispositions for teaching. Unit faculty are refining the current strands to ensure that they are value oriented and are appropriate for specific curricular areas, various grade levels, and school settings. A part of the revision of the strands’ descriptors includes a critical review and the development of a remediation process for addressing inappropriate dispositions that unit faculty and its partners identify in teacher education candidates.

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