Education Unit Head:
Dr. Howard Smith
Dr. Jean Dockers
Phone: (620) 235-4489
Fax: (620) 235-4421
Candidates preparing to work in schools as teachers or other professional school personnel know and demonstrate the content knowledge, pedagogical content knowledge and skills, and professional knowledge, skills, and dispositions necessary to help all students learn. Assessments indicate that candidates meet professional, state, and institutional standards.
1a. Content Knowledge for Teacher CandidatesThe College of Education at Pittsburg State University strives to prepare candidates to become Competent, Committed, Caring Professionals who, by satisfying the local, state, and national standards of teaching, have developed the knowledge, skills, and dispositions to facilitate learning in PK-12 classrooms and beyond. The Kansas State Department of Education (KSDE), which reviews our programs, embraces the Interstate New Teacher Assessment and Support Consortium (INTASC) standards in its performance standards. All PSU licensure programs gained approval from KSDE in 2010. (1.1) Each licensure program addresses content knowledge, pedagogy, professional knowledge and skills, student learning, and dispositions. KSDE approval of our programs illustrates that program completers have acquired the knowledge, skills, and dispositions recommended in national, state and local standards. Data collected and analyzed for the teacher education program review demonstrate the achievement level of our candidates. (1.2a)
The Master of Science in Teaching is our only program not included in the national program review or state review. Both the CURIN 850 Current Teaching Practices rubric (1.3a) and the Comprehensive Exam Rubric (1.3b) show the detail with which the assessments address the standards of the program. Data from both assessments show improvement during the past three years, with 100% of candidates achieving "Excellent" in CURIN 850 or "Satisfactory" or above for the Comprehensive Exam for the 2008-2009 academic year indicating that the Standard has been met. (1.4a, 1.4b)
Admission requirements for PSU are outlined in the University Catalog. (CF1.d) Designated transition points, as described in the Teacher Education Handbook (CF1.a), ensure that only qualified individuals are admitted and continue in the program. Candidates in advanced programs are required to meet admission standards as identified by the graduate office. All departments offering school support programs have established rigorous admission criteria allowing candidates to demonstrate knowledge and skills related to their field of study, analytical and synthesis skills, and abilities in writing. Details for the general graduate school and advanced program admission requirements are outlined in the University Catalog and program guides. (CF1.d)
Throughout the program, content knowledge, as identified by the knowledge base of the Conceptual Framework, is intentionally assessed in coursework, tests, and work products. Eight criteria are required for admission to the Teacher Education Program. Of the eight, three evaluate content knowledge performance data including meeting basic skills requirements, successful completion of the education gateway course, and meeting specific general education requirements. There are four methods by which an individual may meet the required basic skills assessment. The first method is passing the PPST; PSU candidate mean scores are consistently higher than the minimum required score. A second method is passing the College Base test, or C-Base. Mean scores for program completers listed for each content area show that candidates in most subject areas surpassed the requirements. The third method is scoring at established levels for the ACT, minimum of 24. Education majors consistently score near or above the University and college ACT mean scores. The fourth method is scoring at established levels for the SAT. Candidate mean scores for the past three years for the PPST, C-Base, and ACT show content proficiency. (2.2, 1.2e)
School administrators, as well as program completers, provide first and third year feedback supporting the content strength of teacher candidates. Program completers report that they are academically well prepared for meeting the challenge of teaching subject area content in the classroom. (1.6a, 1.6b) Feedback from administrators further supports the high level of content preparation with which completers enter their first teaching job. (1.7a, 1.7b)
Content exam results for BSE/BME completers show that candidates consistently score above the Kansas Passing score. Further, over the past three years, at least 80% of candidates from all 15 content areas passed their content test. (1.2f)
1b. Pedagogical Content Knowledge and Skills for Teacher CandidatesAnother major checkpoint is entry into the Professional Semester, when candidates are required to meet established academic standards prior to admission. These requirements address content and pedagogical knowledge and skills. The education program is designed so that all Curriculum and Instruction courses build upon the foundation established in Explorations, the initial education course. Candidates are evaluated throughout the program, from their initial course and field experience (CURIN 261) to the comprehensive evaluation of program completers following the Professional Semester, to the employer and personal evaluations following the completion of the first and third years of teaching.
The CF Knowledge Base, a major strength of the education program at PSU, assesses the candidates' development as Competent, Committed, Caring Professionals. The knowledge base evolved from an extensive review of national INTASC standards, state standards, research literature, and objectives for the Principles of Learning and Teaching assessment. The resulting knowledge base, which was revised from the original 68 indicators in 2009, is unified around 60 indicators. A framework of six specific categories assesses knowledge, skills, and dispositions that are taught and formatively and developmentally assessed throughout the training program. This comprehensive assessment provides evaluation of performance that includes knowledge of pedagogy, inquiry strategies, critical analysis and synthesis of the subject as well as candidate dispositions, diversity, and technology. The Competent Professional is one who has acquired pedagogical content knowledge and instructional strategies necessary for effective teaching. The framework of the 60 indicators is divided into 6 categories: Professional Characteristics, Relationships with Students, Instructional Planning, Instruction, Classroom Management, and Evaluation. The indicators that form the Instructional Planning and Instruction categories target the pedagogical content knowledge of the teacher candidates. During the Professional Semester, the university supervisor and cooperating teacher evaluate each candidate on these indicators in the initial stages of the Professional Semester, at mid-semester, and at the end of the program. Mean scores attained by teacher candidates for the instructional planning and instruction categories demonstrate their high level of preparation in pedagogical content knowledge and instructional strategies. (A.1, A.2, A.4, A.5)
1c. Professional and Pedagogical Knowledge and SkillsProfessional and Pedagogical Knowledge and Skills are evaluated with two assessments: the Principles of Teaching and Learning (PLT) and the Teacher Work Sample (TWS). Mean scores from the PLT show a high level of competence in professional and pedagogical knowledge and skill for program completers. Since teacher education faculty believe that the hands-on experience gained during the Professional Semester enables candidates to transfer theory into practice, candidates may choose to take the PLT following graduation. (1.2b, 1.2c, 1.2d, 2.4b)
The required TWS, completed during the Professional Semester and introduced incrementally throughout the program, mirrors the knowledge base and provides opportunities to assess each of the 6 categories of the CF. The TWS is comprised of 7 criterion: Contextual Information and Learning Environment Adaptations, Learning Goals and Objectives, Instructional Design and Implementation, Demonstration of Integration Skills, Analysis of Classroom Learning Environment, Analysis of Assessment Procedures, and Reflection and Self-Evaluation. TWS provides a comprehensive assessment of candidates' ability to analyze student learning and to reflect upon the effectiveness of the lesson. This project allows faculty and supervisors to evaluate the acquisition of knowledge and skills to implement (1) instructional strategies such as inquiry, critical analysis, and synthesis of learning; (2) assessment of the learning level of students in their classroom; and (3) knowledge of multiple learning modes and their application in the learning environment. The Contextual Information and the Reflection and Self-Evaluation sections of the TWS address this component of the standard; results show that candidates have gradually improved in Reflection with 96.97% satisfactory or above in 2008-2009 and 100% satisfactory or above in Contextual Information. (A.2, 1.5)
1d. Student LearningThe initial section of the TWS requires the teacher candidate to complete an in-depth study of the school and the community. Teacher candidates use technology to research data related to the make-up of families and communities in the schools where they are placed. They also review the School Report Card to study the demographics and their school, observe the classroom, and complete a shadow study of one student to understand the context of the class. Information gathered from their research and observations is then used to plan, present, and evaluate the unit of study. The Caring Professional considers the needs of individuals and their families when designing lesson plans and presentation strategies to ensure that all students learn in a fair environment. Candidates are expected to adapt their lessons while teaching to ensure that all students achieve. After completing the unit, the teacher candidate prepares a reflection upon the strengths and challenges encountered in the unit and identifies areas of improvement for future teaching. Such reflection encourages each candidate to become a reflective practitioner committed to continuous improvement of teaching and learning. TWS ratings indicate candidate success in planning, teaching and analyzing results to meet the needs of all students. (A.2)
Assessments of the knowledge base provide rich evidence that teacher candidates and graduates possess the knowledge, skills and dispositions to structure a learning environment that is conducive to learning by all students. School administrators evaluate first-year and third-year teachers according to their level of expertise in the Instructional Planning and Instruction; such data from employer feedback assesses candidates at a high level of proficiency of pedagogical content knowledge and dispositions. (1.7a, 1.7b)
Candidates, further, demonstrate their abilities to address individual needs of learners in their portfolios that are aligned with the knowledge base and the KSDE standards. Candidates are required to include various projects from professional education courses. These projects illustrate that candidates (a) planned instruction appropriately for diverse students; (b) altered instruction based on student results, and (c) adapted instruction to accommodate individual differences. Portfolio mean scores indicate candidate proficiency. (A.1) Most portfolios are submitted in paper format. Candidates are required to digitally archive artifacts from courses throughout the program for inclusion in the final portfolio. In 2009-2010, COE e-Portfolio Committee developed a framework and process to reinstate a required digital portfolio, which will be implemented in a phased sequence beginning in the Fall of 2010.
1e. Knowledge and Skills for Other School ProfessionalsAs with initial programs, state review data indicate that advanced program candidates surpassed the requirements in each subject area. (1.1) In first and third year follow up surveys, program completers in advanced programs reported that they were prepared with the content knowledge needed in their position. (1.6e, 1.6f, 1.6g, 1.6h) First and third year administrator feedback agreed that advanced candidates possessed the knowledge, skills, and dispositions to effectively perform the responsibilities in their positions. (1.7a, 1.7b, 1.7c, 1.7d, 1.7e, 1.7f)
Previously, advanced candidates were assessed using the same knowledge base as the initial programs; however in 2008-2009, a separate advanced knowledge base was created by a committee of college, school, and community stakeholders. The committee identified 7 categories including Professionalism, Communication, Leadership, Instruction and Assessment, Diversity, Technology, and Research. Candidate performance is formally and informally assessed at various checkpoints throughout each program using the indicators of the CF Knowledge Base. An emphasis is placed on the development of knowledge and skills required in professional and state standards, content knowledge in the specific academic area, and the inquiry tools those fields require. Graduate research, assignments, and field experiences require that candidates demonstrate their knowledge through focused inquiry, critical analysis, and content syntheses. Performance data indicate high levels of achievement in the area of content knowledge and skills. (1.2g)
Advanced programs at Pittsburg State University have been designed around the Conceptual Framework to develop appropriate professional and pedagogical knowledge and skills within their fields and to learn strategies for working with students, families, and communities. All advanced programs are designed to allow the development of cohesive relationships among students and faculty. The connection between coursework learned in formal classes and experiences in field placements ensures that candidates focus on the environmental, demographic, and policy contexts of the students with whom they will work. The mission of Pittsburg State University, the College of Education, and Teacher Education emphasizes personalization while being professional in establishing a positive productive environment through modeling and interaction. Feedback from graduates and employers verify that candidates are successful in developing such relationships with colleagues, parents, and students. (1.6c, 1.6d, 1.6e, 1.6f, 1.7c, 1.7d, 1.7e, 1.7f)
1f. Student Learning for Other School ProfessionalsJust as in the initial and licensure seeking programs, advanced programs are developed so that candidates focus on student learning. In the first and third year feedback for each advanced program, specific questions addressed student learning and graduate preparation to meet the needs of students. Survey data indicate that program completers view their preparation to facilitate learning as above average in each program. (1.6c, 1.6d, 1.6e, 1.6f, 1.6g, 1.6h) Both on-site supervisors and program coordinators provide performance feedback by evaluating the field experiences of candidates as they develop the knowledge, skills, and professional dispositions to assist all students learn by analyzing student learning, reflecting on their practice, and participating in field experiences and clinical practice related to their role. Candidate field experiences are evaluated using the Advanced Knowledge Base, which includes indicators that evaluate Professionalism, Communication, Leadership, Instruction and Assessment, Diversity, Technology, and Research. (3.6h, 3.6i)
1g. Professional Dispositions for All CandidatesWhen analyzing and revising the knowledge base in the spring of 2009, both the initial and advanced Knowledge Base Committees defined values, commitments, and professional attitudes that influence the teacher candidate's behavior and identified indicators that demonstrate the candidates' dispositions, especially the belief that all students, including those from diverse populations, can learn. Dispositions were reviewed and revised in the Initial Knowledge Base (1.8a). Eleven dispositions are assessed in the initial field experiences (CURIN 261) and seventeen in the second field experience (CURIN 307) by the cooperating teachers using a rubric. (1.8b) The mean scores for the past three years indicate that candidates begin the program with a high level of professional beliefs and attitudes. (1.8g, 1.8h) Assessments by their university supervisor during the professional semester also indicate that candidates possess the necessary dispositions. (1.8c)
In the advanced programs, the Knowledge Base Committee identified 17 dispositions with measurable indicators (1.8d) and a rubric for assessment. (1.8e) Assessments by university supervisors of the eight programs reveal that advanced candidates demonstrate that they have developed the dispositions to create learning environments in which all students learn. (1.8f)
For candidates who struggle, the Professional Teacher Candidate Improvement Plan was developed to formalize an existing procedure. The plan allows early and ongoing intervention for teacher candidates, who are identified to have areas within the 60 indicators for teacher effectiveness that need to be addressed in ways beyond normal classroom, advisement, or mentoring. A major rationale for developing this plan was the need to address dispositions of teacher candidates who are not at an acceptable level of performance, which is the major reason teacher candidates fail.
As a result of data analysis and research, several changes related to Standard 1 have been implemented to ensure that candidates develop the knowledge, skills, and dispositions to meet the Standard as delineated in the Conceptual Framework. These changes ensure continuous improvement and include revisions in the Teacher Work Sample, review and revision of the knowledge base for initial programs and the development of a new knowledge base for advanced programs, additions of support for candidate assessments, changes in the online programs, expansion of minor and graduate opportunities, and implementation of alternate technology.
The Teacher Work Sample (TWS), used during the last visit, was revised to align with the Kansas Performance Assessment (KPA), which was piloted as a state assessment of beginning teachers. The COE continues to assess candidates using components of the TWS throughout the program, and each candidate completes a TWS as an assessment during the Professional Semester. During the review of TWS assessment results, some discrepancies and inconsistencies were identified. To ensure consistency and fairness of the TWS, the COE implemented the following strategies: University Supervisors received additional training; inter-rater reliability workshops were held; COE created a curriculum map to determine where the components of the TWS were taught in the program; and the TWS was aligned with the Conceptual Framework. In addition, the COE determined that two readers, one university supervisor and one content/methods teacher, would assess the TWS.
Analysis of the PRAXIS II content test scores for Early Childhood/Late Childhood K-6 candidates identified areas of concern. As a result, all methods teachers prepared materials to present to candidates on the Thursdays they returned to campus during their Professional Semester. Currently, Elementary Supervisors dedicate time in the Thursday sessions to help candidates prepare for the content tests. Review of secondary content materials and test preparation is provided by individual departments. For example, some departments use time in seminars to review concepts and take practice tests. In addition, faculty members work with candidates individually in varied content areas.
After review of data and research of best practices, the Undergraduate Knowledge Base Committee revised the knowledge base of the Conceptual Framework. They retained the 6 original categories (Professional Characteristics, Relationships with Students, Instructional Planning, Instruction, Classroom Management, and Evaluation) but updated the 68 indicators and reduced the number to 60 to be assessed from the initial field experience through the clinical experience. The committee also identified specific indicators addressing diversity, dispositions, and technology. The evaluation form used by supervisors to evaluate teacher candidates was revised to include these standards. In addition, cooperating teachers can now enter their evaluation online allowing the teacher candidate to immediately view their evaluation online. The Graduate Knowledge Base Committee reviewed graduate data and current research; as a result, they developed a framework of 38 indicators in 7 categories (Professionalism, Communication, Leadership, Instruction and Assessment, Diversity, Technology, and Research) to be used to assess candidate progress in course work and field experiences.
Feedback from our candidates and area school districts, as well as the increasing diversity in the PSU service area, has led to expansion and change of our graduate offerings. English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) Endorsement and Minor are now offered both face-to-face and online. After the summer of 2010, the Master of Science Degree in Reading and the Reading Specialist licensure PK-12 will both be delivered exclusively online. Three new Education Minors have been approved to meet the expanding needs of our candidates to teach outside the PSU area and meet the needs of all students. One minor is Technological Literacy, a minor in technology education. The other two include the Minor in Education Urban and Suburban Experience and the Minor in International Teaching. Also, with approval of an innovative Special Education program, PSU now offers a Master of Arts in Teaching with a restricted license in Adaptive 6-12 Special Education, the only program in Kansas with a direct entry into special education. Also, the Kansas City Fellows Program was broadened to other school districts and a Master of Arts in Teaching with an emphasis in Secondary Education is now offered through the Kansas City Metro Center.
Finally, the COE previously used Blackboard as a tool for on-line courses and assignments. Faculty and candidate feedback suggested that the system was costly and not consistently used by elementary and secondary faculty. The portfolio was discontinued, but the artifacts were still completed in designated classes. PSU then implemented ANGEL, which is now used for class assignments, communication, and online delivery. The COE has just adopted LiveText. The e-portfolio Committee of the COE has met and developed a framework for the portfolio based on the knowledge base of the Conceptual Framework; plans are to implement the portfolio in LiveText in the Fall semester of 2010.