2c. Use of Data for Program Improvement
1. In what ways does the unit regularly and systematically use data to evaluate the efficacy of and initiate changes to its courses, programs, and clinical experiences?
Faculty use course evaluations from students and yearly evaluations by the Director to improve the quality of their courses and their performance in the delivery of course content. Faculty also use teacher candidate assessment outcomes to measure course effectiveness and make changes based on candidate performance.
Candidates use a variety of feedback to improve their approach to learning knowledge and transposing that into effective teaching in the field. Throughout their preparation program, candidates are continually informed of their academic standing via a multitude of indicators. Some of these indicators are: verbal and written feedback from faculty on course assignments, state test scores, gpa requirements of the department and university, dispositional feedback from advisors, and observational feedback from field intern supervisors and teachers.
Representatives of all programs in the unit meet monthly at CTEP meetings. Faculty may initiate changes to courses in their programs, if changes are approved by their individual program departments. These meetings are an opportunity for unit members to look at candidate assessment outcomes to decide if clinical experiences need to be adjusted.
The Education department meets twice yearly at their DARE to systematically look at data to evaluate the efficacy of their programs and decide on curricular changes that need to be made. Education department faculty also review teacher candidate internship evaluation forms with school-based faculty, immediately following the end of each internship block, so that candidates can have immediate feedback and so that school-based faculty can suggest changes to assignments and instructional strategies.
2. What data-driven changes have occurred over the past three years?
As a result of aligning SPA standards to major coursework and analyzing state content test sub-scores, curricular changes have been made in courses and course assignments. For example, in ED 305 Elementary Reading Methods, course assignments now include how to administer running records and other diagnostic reading tests to K-6 children. In BI/CH 110 Methods of Teaching Secondary Science, course assignments now include designing and implementing lab safety procedures. Data Analysis and Review Events (DARE) are held once per year to analyze all data from reports that are run and to decide on any programmatic changes needed.
As a result of the rigor of state content exams and the pass rate among students, the cumulative and content gpa requirement was raised in 2005 from 2.5 to 2.7. Higher expectations for both program and cumulative gpas have caused students to have stronger knowledge of their content and be better prepared to demonstrate knowledge on content exams.
As a result of community constituents reporting a need for more structured field experiences that helped candidates bridge theoretical concepts to application of practice, the ‘blocks’ were created and developed. These blocks are two to three co-requisitely taken courses on two or three days per week. Students attend the courses on the college campus but also participate in internships in local P-12 schools during class time, together with their professors. School faculty, teacher candidates, and professors learn together in the P-12 classrooms as theory is integrated with practice.
3. What access do faculty members have to candidate assessment data and/or data systems?
Faculty members have continual access to data and data systems through LiveText and Banner.
For example teacher candidates receive data through an advisor, professor, chair of department, dean of the college, field placement coordinator, and school faculty. They might receive feedback from school faculty that helps them improve a lesson that they are teaching to children. Teacher candidates may receive a disposition deficiency form from a professor that identifies poor attitudes or poor communication skills. This gives the teacher candidate an opportunity to discuss the deficiency with the professor and construct a remediation plan.
Faculty receives data through students, colleges, chair of the department, the dean of the college, and various committees. For example, faculty receive course feedback data (SIRS) from students enrolled in their courses. Using this data allows faculty to improve their course organization, relevancy of assignments, and communication regarding assignments. Faculty also receive data at CTEP meetings regarding candidates who are ready to pass the first checkpoint and be admitted to the School of Education. Members vote to admit teacher candidates if all checkpoints are met.
Each year in May the Education Department holds a day-long retreat called the Data Analysis and Review Event (DARE). At this event, we look at all the assessment measures in our Unit Assessment System and the data reports for each measure. These reports may be in the form of the Illinois state test score reports, LiveText candidate assessment result reports and charts, gpa comparison charts for programs or student teaching evaluation forms.
4. How are assessment data shared with candidates, faculty, and other stakeholders to help them reflect on and improve their performance and programs?
Assessment data are shared on multiple levels with candidates, faculty, and other stakeholders in written and verbal form, directly from individuals, and through committees.
At a university-wide level, a yearly Assessment in the Majors report is submitted each July 1st to the Dean of Teaching and Learning. This report discusses program or unit changes that have occurred during the prior academic year and discussed upcoming initiatives for change. These reports inform the university administration of the assessment cycle of each of its majors.
Each year in May the Education Department holds a day-long retreat called the Data Analysis and Review Event (DARE). At this event, we look at all the assessment measures in our Unit Assessment System and the data reports for each measure. These reports may be in the form of the Illinois state test score reports, LiveText candidate assessment result reports and charts, gpa comparison charts for programs or student teaching evaluation forms. After the data are analyzed, small groups of faculty form committees to outline summer curricular projects, candidate or program assessment revisions, or professional development opportunities for clinical faculty and school faculty.
The university has monthly meetings of its various colleges. The School of Education is part of the College of Professional Studies. It is at these meetings that course proposals for changes are presented. Course changes may affect specific programs within the majors.
The Committee for Teacher Education Preparation (CTEP), comprised of representatives of the various education programs, has monthly meetings. Any course proposals that are going forward to the colleges must come through CTEP first where the rationale for the changes are discussed. See the CoC chart as an example of curricular changes we have made that have progressed through CTEP and on to CoC. Each month CTEP also views and discusses teacher candidate admittance data to approve or disapprove candidates’ admittance to the School of Education.
Community constituents such as principals, classroom teachers, social agency workers, Community college faculty receive updates explaining assessment data twice per year at the Community Advisory Committee meetings. Community constituents have an opportunity at this time to discuss and offer feedback regarding programmatic assessments and outcomes.
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