Millikin University - Decatur, IL
g. Professional Dispositions for All Candidates

1g. Professional Dispositions for All Candidates. [Indicate when the responses refer to the preparation of initial teacher candidates, advanced teacher candidates, and other school professionals, noting differences when they occur.]

1. What professional dispositions are candidates expected to demonstrate by completion of programs?

Candidates are expected to demonstrate affective, interpersonal, and professional dispositions throughout their program. We have identified professional dispositions that we seek to integrate into our initial preparation curriculum from freshman through senior year. In 2005, the Council on Teacher Education Programs collaborated to identify key professional dispositions, develop a disposition policy, and integrate disposition instruction and assessments throughout the program. In all education coursework, faculty are expected to model and teach the professional dispositions and to monitor students’ progress toward professional, affective, and interpersonal dispositions. In addition, we created CA2, a freshman-level candidate assessment that introduces the professional dispositions and requires candidates to relate the dispositions to the role of a teacher and assess their own levels of development on each disposition.

As defined in the Disposition Policy, dispositions fall into three main categories: professional development, including such things as meeting deadlines, being prepared, attending class regularly, demonstrating commitment to the profession, and presenting a professional image; affective development, including responding to challenges positively, addressing academic and personal issues in a productive manner, accepting responsibility for one’s own actions, demonstrating awareness of social conventions and expectations, and demonstrating ethical and honest behavior, which includes, being committed to fair and equitable treatment of all students; and interpersonal development, which includes respecting the values and opinions of others, accepting and using constructive criticism, valuing human diversity, functioning effectively in groups, and using standard English in written and oral communication. Candidates are evaluated by their school faculty on dispositions in each internship and in student teaching. In addition, any faculty who notes dispositional issues is expected to notify the Director of the School of Education by using the university academic alert system, which provides space for disposition alerts as well. Candidates who receive two or more alert forms in a semester will be asked to meet with the Director to address the problem. Repeated dispositional alerts can lead to removal from the program.

2. How do candidates demonstrate that they are developing professional dispositions related to fairness and the belief that all students can learn? [A table summarizing these data could be attached at Prompt 1g.5 below.]

The belief that all students can learn is addressed in several different CAs, including CA2, 5, 6, 8, and 10. CA2 is an introduction to dispositions that requires candidates to reflect on how they meet each disposition. In CA5, Line 3 of the discipline/guidance plan rubric, “Discipline philosophy includes positive affirmation of diversity; plan includes specific adaptations that can promote inclusion; expectations of plan include respect for all and group welfare is everyone’s responsibility; physical environment arrangements consider needs of students with special needs.” Line 2 of the rubric for CA6 Philosophy of Teaching and Learning, also assesses the belief that all people can learn: “Celebrates and values diversity; Emphasizes the need to accommodate all learners, including diverse learning styles;” CA8 is a Functional Behavioral Analysis and Intervention Plan. In its entirety, the project emphasizes the need to plan interventions academically and behaviorally that will support each individual’s learning. One line in the rubric includes “Student will demonstrate an understanding the need to adapt and accommodate to address each student’s academic and behavioral difficulties.” LiveText reports indicate that in CAs 5, 6, and 8 most candidates performed at proficient or commendable levels.

CA10, TWS, involves students in the actual instruction and analysis of individual learner needs. All lesson plans for the unit address the RtI tiers; in addition, candidates select 3 target students whose needs are analyzed. Further, the TWS requires analysis of learning in different subgroups and expects students to demonstrate that they take steps to see that all students receive the instruction that they need.

Student Teaching Evaluations were very high on the dispositional development section, with #1-10 proficient 90% of the time or more. Disposition Item 6 demonstrates "honest and ethical behavior" had 98% proficient ratings. Item 8 showed 98% proficient for "relates to valuing others' opinions".

Other items, not part of dispositions, provide evidence that our candidates are growing in their expectations for all learners and their sense of fairness. Items 9, 10, and 11 address respecting individual differences, varying instruction to reach diverse learners, and using different strategies for reaching different learners’ needs. Proficient ratings were 96%, 77% and 71% respectively.

3. What data from key assessments indicate that candidates demonstrate the professional dispositions listed in 1.g.5 as they work with students, families, colleagues, and communities? A data chart can be attached below.

Assessment of candidates’ ability to work with students, families, colleagues, and communities occur in CA5, Classroom Management & Guidance/Discipline Plan. (Live Text Report, CA5, Communication, Line 7.) Candidates are asked to create communication materials to communicate proactively with parents, students, administrators, and substitute teachers concerning their plans for creating positive learning communities. To earn commendable ratings, they must create communication that is “inviting, reaching out to seek support, to collaborate, and to inform key members of the community;” it must be “presented creatively in a form that is tailored to the intended audience; very professional in appearance and content; uses a theme or simple symbols to entice the reader.” The reports show that the majority of candidates perform at a Commendable or Proficient level on this task.

Course content for ED310 includes discussion of parent/teacher communication, and candidates participate in simulations that they can address academic and behavioral issues with parents and administrators.

In the Student Teaching Evaluation Summary, Items 26, 27, 28, and 31 represent the school faculty/clinical faculty's assessment of student teachers’ abilities to work with colleagues to achieve student success, to work with parents and guardians, to communicate in writing to parents and students, and to maintain professional interactions with students, parents, and other members of the school community. As the evaluation summary shows, collegial collaboration was high (88% proficient, Item 26); maintaining professional interactions with students (97% Item 31) was also very high. Of teacher candidates who had the opportunity to interact with parents (item 27) 60% were proficient, 10% evolving; however 30% of teacher candidates’ supervisors rated this item Not Applicable, which apparently indicates a lack of candidate/school faculty involvement with parents. Similarly, on Item 28, in which candidates’ ability to communicate in writing to parents, 21% of teachers indicated n.a.; however, the ratings were 67% proficient and 12% evolving for those who communicated with parents. Although it is perplexing that not all teacher candidates were afforded the opportunity to interact with parents, we infer that secondary level students’ parents may be less likely to schedule conferences. Teacher candidates who had the opportunity to interact with parents demonstrated desired dispositions.

4. What do follow-up studies of graduates and employers indicate about graduates' demonstration of professional dispositions? If survey data have not already been reported, what was the response rate? [If these survey data are included in a previously attached table, refer the reader to that attachment; otherwise, a table summarizing the results of follow-up studies related to professional dispositions could be attached at Prompt 1g.5 below.]

In the Alumni Survey 2009 Summary, items 10 and 11 relate directly to Millikin’s professional dispositions. Item 10, Professional Growth, asks “How would you rate the program in preparing you to continually evaluate how choices and actions affect students, parents, and other professionals and to seek opportunities to grow professionally?” Ratings were 43% Commendable; 37% very good, 10% Acceptable and 2% Minimal. Item 11, asked how the program helped prepare graduates to “maintain standards of conduct and provide leadership to improve students’ learning. Ratings were 68% Commendable, 36% Very Good, 5% acceptable, and 1% Minimal.

Item #9 Collaboration, asked alums how the program prepared them to collaborate with members of the education community, thus assessing dispositions in the Interpersonal area. Ratings were 52% Commendable; 36% Very Good; 10% Acceptable; 2% Minimal.

Item 3, Diversity, relates to Millikin’s Affective Dispositions. It related to how Millikin prepared students to create learning environments that respected diversity and were responsive to different ways of learning. Responses included 44.5% for both Commendable and Very Good, 7% for Acceptable, and 4% for Minimal.

In the area of diversity, students indicated that they would have liked more specific strategies, but they praised the program’s opportunities to teach in diverse classrooms and work with learners who come from backgrounds where poverty was a major factor.

Comments related to collaboration mentioned that Millikin had excellent opportunities from freshman through senior year to collaborate with teachers and to work in classrooms with several different mentors.

In the area of professional growth, alums mentioned their professors as valuable mentors, the time spent in schools, and helpful advising.

Overall, the graduates seemed to believe that they were provided good assistance in developing professional and interpersonal dispositions.

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Millikin University - Decatur, IL
Millikin University - Decatur, IL