1.1 What do candidate assessment data tell the unit about candidates’ meeting professional, state, and institutional standards and their impact on P-12 student learning? For programs not nationally/state reviewed, summarize data from key assessments and discuss these results.
Candidate assessment data provides the Unit with the necessary evidence to inform areas for improvement and revision. Results of this data are used to determine appropriate content knowledge and professional dispositions as they relate to the professional, state and institutional standards within the specific program evaluated. Program reports were written for each and will be reported in the following narrative. For documenting the impact of our candidates on P-12 student learning, we are moving forward with useful data collected and analyzed at the state level. This information, at the time, is not representative of all graduates and is not useful for programmatic improvement. As more data become available and trends emerge, this information will prove useful for reviewing program course of study and objectives with the programs that lead to success completion and effective professional behaviors of our alumni within their first years as classroom teachers. Although a number of programs have chosen to pursue SPA recognition, Tennessee is not a SPA state, it operates under a State program approval model.
1.1a. Content Knowledge for Teacher Candidates Discuss Praxis II and Content GPAs
Content knowledge for candidates within the Unit is measured by Praxis Tests particular to licensure areas. Candidates must successfully pass these exams prior to moving forward in the program. Institutional Reports provide evidence of the content knowledge for our teacher candidates. Results of the Praxis sub scores are summarized and reported to the Director by the assessment coordinator.
Programmatic key assessments provide further indication of the level of understanding of our candidates’ knowledge of the program of student content. Content knowledge of our candidates is determined by grade point averages of carefully selected courses within the particular programs’ course of study. Program faculty determine
which courses align most clearly with each program’s national standards and recommend these course
grades serve as a reliable proxy for programmatic content knowledge of teacher candidates. Evidence of
these assessments indicate appropriate knowledge-base for our candidates.
Assessment data that indicate content knowledge for our advanced education programs are determined and reported the same as our undergraduate teacher candidates. Candidates in advanced programs have in-depth knowledge of the content that they teach as demonstrated in the required GPA that they must maintain to remain in the program. Each advanced teacher education program has specific key assessments that require candidates to demonstrate knowledge of the content.
Through the unit plan assessment faculty determine the degree in which candidates have grasped the content necessary to plan, design, implement and assess students they will teach with particular emphasis of the alignment of these unit plans with appropriate state and national standards, attention given to diversity, differentiation of instructional techniques and formative assessment practices. These unit plans are assessed prior to teacher candidates’ student teaching semester. Student teachers are evaluated in the delivery of instruction. As with the unit plan key assessment, candidates are assessed on their ability to create effective lessons, manage the classroom environment and provide adequate, age-appropriate instruction that leads to successful student learning. Rubrics are used in EDUC 3170, 4330, 5220 and UTSM Apprentice Teaching to insure consistent and fair evaluation of candidate performance. See the links to key assessments and rubrics for unit plans in EDUC 3170, 4330, 5220, and UTSM Apprentice Teaching. Also samples of student work are included in LiveText. The final evaluation instrument provides indicators which are used to measure the success of our student teaching candidates. As indicated in the program reports, nearly all students have met the expectations within the evaluation instrument. The evaluation instrument was created to align with the Tennessee State Framework for Teacher Evaluation current in place in Hamilton County. It should be noted that a new evaluation system has been adopted by the county and will be used in future evaluations of our student teaching candidates. The domains of Project Coach, the new evaluation system used by HCDE and several surrounding counties, have been incorporated into the student teaching evaluation instrument. The alignment of these domains, the Conceptual Framework, and the dispositions are reflected in the document housed in the Electronic Exhibit Room. Both evaluation instruments are aligned with the Unit's conceptual framework.
Near the end of the student teaching experience, teacher candidates are surveyed to gather perceptions of their confidence and preparedness to teach. Results from this survey suggest that UTC’s teacher candidates feel adequately prepared to enter the teacher profession and agree that their programs provided appropriate experiences to prepare them. To better understand our teacher candidates’ level of preparedness, a similar survey is completed by the supervising teacher of each candidate. Information from this survey suggests that supervising teachers feel that UTC’s teacher candidates are prepared to enter the profession. Similar responses were gathered from the same survey completed by the professor-in-residence that observed the teacher candidate.
Perceptions from employers as to the effectiveness of our candidates are also imperative to program improvement. These surveys are analyzed and reported to the assessment committee for appropriate action. Results from 2011-2012 are reflected in the principal/employer survey.
Further evidence of the content knowledge of our candidate’s is evident through the University's alumni survey and the National Survey of Student Engagement. Following graduation, our recent graduates are surveyed on their perceptions of their preparedness for entering the profession. Our assessment committee is charged with reviewing these data and providing faculty with information that might be considered to improve deficit areas for future graduates.
Findings from the Student Teaching Final Evaluation Form provide support for the pedagogical content knowledge of our teacher candidates. Aligned with the content standards, this form carefully follows the current state evaluation framework. Student Teaching Final Evaluation Form results are reported and shared with faculty to address areas in need of improvement and revision.
Students attend 12 hours of student assessment data for decision-making training modules during their course of study. During these modules, students learn to read test data, interpret results and implement appropriate strategies to address needs that emerged from the findings. Results from the surveys conducted during these modules inform programmatic coursework.
Follow-up surveys of graduates and principal/employer surveys also collect important information that provides evidence and support for the pedagogical content knowledge of our candidates. Evidence from these surveys demonstrates the perceived confidence of our candidates and their employers in the teacher’s pedagogical content knowledge. This information is systematically reviewed for program improvement.
To support evidence of our candidates’ professional and pedagogical knowledge and skills, the TN State Praxis Tests are required by licensure area. These Praxis scores, including results by sub-scores, are reported by program and reviewed by the assessment committee for appropriate actions.
Key Assessment 3: Unit Plans
Information gleaned from the Student Teaching Final Evaluation also provides evidence of professional and pedagogical knowledge and skills for our teacher candidates. This information, aligned to program standards and the unit’s conceptual framework are reviewed by the domains and indicators of the TN evaluation framework. The first UTeaChattanooga candidates completing their program will student teach in the spring 2013 semester, thus no information related to their implementation of a unit plan in student teaching is available at this point. If additional details are desired, these are available in the NSTA SPA report (available via request). Additional information regarding the professional and pedagogical knowledge and skills of our teacher candidates can be retrieved from survey data of graduates and employers and Degree +3 survey data. These surveys provide the programs with perceptions of professional and pedagogical knowledge and skills from current and former teacher candidates.
1d. Student learning for teacher candidates
The need to understanding the perceptions of the level of preparedness and confidence of our graduates is imperative to a successful program. The importance of using the knowledge gained from these programs to provide a positive impact on student learning in the K12 setting is critical. Our candidates are taught the importance of formatively assessing students to determine where learning is occurring at various points in the program.
During the student teaching experience, teacher candidates prepare a unit lesson complete with pre and post assessments. Teacher candidates are required to analyze the assessments and provide a reflection as to how they will address the results. A reflection of the experience is documented and reviewed by supervisors to address concerns and issues that might exist. This key assessment aligns with the Standards and/or unit conceptual framework.
The State of Tennessee provides a report on all teacher education programs. At the time this information does not provide much information for improvement but with several years data available, we can begin to review positive and negative trends within the areas tested in grades 3-8. The data reports the “average effectiveness of the teachers who graduated from our institution as compared to the mean of the average effectiveness of similar teachers from all other teacher training programs in Tennessee in terms of contribution to student achievement growth.” It is the hope that this report will soon provide the raw data for institutions to use for programmatic improvement.
The state mandated Praxis tests are required for other school professionals and provide the unit with exam scores for all students within each licensure area. Professional knowledge and skills exemplified by other school professionals are demonstrated through various work samples and performance based projects. A follow-up survey of graduates and employer surveys provide feedback to the unit to determine the perceptions of alumni preparation and satisfaction with the program area. UTC does not offer a degree program in School Social Work; however, a candidate may obtain this credential by completing either a Bachelor’s or a Master’s degree in Social Work and then adding the coursework listed on the Program Checksheet which will allow the individual to meet State licensure requirements in this area. There is no Praxis II test for this area of licensure.
1f. Student learning for other school professionals
Follow-up surveys of the graduates provide information to the unit on the perceptions of preparedness to address student learning needs. Principal/employer surveys provide additional information from a different perspective.
All candidates in our Teacher Education Program Advanced Teacher Preparation and Other School Professional programs are evaluated with the unit’s professional dispositions which are based on the Conceptual Framework. The Unit faculty agrees that evidence of appropriate levels of these dispositions, when viewed holistically, provide a picture of a successful UTC school alumnus. Evidence from these reports demonstrates that our teacher candidates possess appropriate professional dispositions needed to become successful educators. The UTeaChattanooga program uses similar dispositions which are assessed throughout the courses in that program.
UTC’s Professional Education Unit student enrollment has increased in the undergraduate and graduate schools. As these increases are felt across the school, faculty realize the importance of growing and improving to meet the demands of the students. With smaller numbers with programs, faculty could work with anecdotal data to respond to student needs. As the number of students increased, this anecdotal data became harder to analyze and much more difficult to use to address programmatic issues of the growing student population. What once worked, individual excel files within various departments, no longer was adequate to address needs. The need to merge files into one central location became reality when an assessment coordinator was hired in August of 2010.
Since this hire, the Unit has created an assessment advisory committee. This group is charged with reviewing data across the Unit and making suggestions and recommendations to programs for program improvement, integrity and overall quality. The advisory committee has overseen the data collection process for NCATE, required meetings of program faculty to address deficits and continually address individual program needs of how best to collect, analyze and interpret data to benefit students within these programs. This committee is young and many assessment challenges were presented in the initial meetings. To respond to the request of the Assessment Advisory Committee, programs are currently reviewing program reports, examining common assessments, redesigning key assessments and products, and rethinking coursework to best reflect the national standards of each program. As a result from these meetings, changes are being made to better serve UTC’s teacher candidate.
UTeaChattanooga is a new program at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga that licenses highly qualified secondary mathematics and science teachers while the candidate receives a content degree. Adopted at UTC in Fall 2010, UTeaChattanooga is one of twenty-nine official replication sites of the nationally recognized UTeach program that began in 1997 at the University of Texas at Austin. The program emphasizes early and ongoing field-based experiences and content specific training.