The School of Education has a performance-based Unit Assessment System in place to assess candidates’ knowledge, skills, and dispositions as they adhere to the Conceptual Framework Outcomes at the Initial, Advanced, and Educational Leadership program levels. The Initial Conceptual Framework includes nine outcomes that candidates are expected to perform to and which are based on the concept of the Reflective Professional; a person who, in light of current research and best practice, exercises reasoned judgment to critically examine his or her professional practices, make informed decisions, and effectively facilitate the learning of his or her students. The nine outcomes by which Initial program candidates’ performance are assessed include: Communication Skills; Higher-Order Thinking Skills; Instructional Media and Technology; Learning and Development; School Culture and Diversity; Instructional Design and Delivery; Classroom Management; Assessment and Evaluation; and Professional Development.
The Advanced Conceptual Framework includes seven outcomes that candidates are expected to perform to and which are based on the concept of the Master Educator; a person who incorporates a rich understanding of content knowledge and best professional practices to renew himself or herself and their professional practice through inquiry and professional development. The seven outcomes by which Advanced program candidates’ performance are assessed include: Formal Reflection; Collaboration and Professional Development; Classroom Management and Assessment; Learning and Development; Knowledge and Instruction; Educational Equity; and Formal Inquiry.
The Educational Leadership Conceptual Framework includes six outcomes that candidates are expected to perform to and which are based on the concept of the Educational Leader; a person who promotes the success of all students and staff by advocating, nurturing and sustaining a culture and school program that is conducive to student learning, staff professional growth, and community involvement. The six outcomes by which Educational Leadership program candidates’ performance are assessed include: Vision of Learning; School Culture and Instructional Program; Management; Collaboration with Families and the Community; Integrity, Fairness, and Ethical Behavior; and Political, Social, Economic, Legal and Cultural Context.
There are two major ways by which the Unit assesses candidates’ knowledge, skills and dispositions. The first is through the use of rubrics in scoring outcome artifacts. Candidates are required to complete artifacts, such as lesson or unit plans, essays, presentations, etc. in courses to demonstrate program outcomes. Course instructors, or in the case of field experiences, cooperating teachers and university supervisors, use rubrics to score the artifacts on a scale of 1 to 4. Candidates must earn scores of 3 or higher on all outcome artifacts in order to progress through their programs.
The artifact scoring process is a major part of assessing candidates’ progression through program “checkpoints”, which are periodic evaluations of candidates’ completion of specific program requirements. Checkpoints are completed prior to entry to a program, at roughly the midpoint, and at the completion of programs which includes licensure for Initial and Educational Leadership programs. In addition to artifact scores, scores on the Praxis I and II tests, course grades, g.p.a., and required course completion are the major assessments done in checkpoints. Depending on the program and checkpoint, candidates may also be assessed on whether they have a current criminal background check on file, have applied to student teach, and have signed the disposition acknowledgement form. The Undergraduate Advisor is responsible for conducting Checkpoint 1 for Initial Undergraduate Programs. The Director of Student Services is responsible for conducting Checkpoints 1 for Initial Graduate Certification Programs and Advanced Programs and Checkpoint 3 for all programs. The Director of UTEP is responsible for conducting Checkpoints 1 and 2 for UTEP Option II programs. All of this data is submitted to the UAS Coordinator for aggregation, analysis, and reporting the Initial and Advanced Committees, which reviews the data to determine areas for improvement. The committees than report to the Education Cabinet, which makes recommendations to faculty for action.
The other major way by which candidates are assessed is through performance in field experiences. Survey items are created to evaluate candidate performance to conceptual framework outcomes. The Director of Field Experiences and Methods course instructors supply corresponding field supervising teacher, cooperating teachers, and university supervisors that observe and evaluate candidate performance with survey instruments that include Likert scales and space for comments. Cooperating teachers also use similar surveys to evaluate the student teaching program framework and the performance of university supervisors. Field students and student teachers are given surveys to evaluate their field supervising teachers, cooperating teachers, and university supervisors. All of these instruments are collected by the Director of Field and Student Teaching and Methods course instructors and submitted to the UAS Coordinator for aggregation, analysis, and reporting back to the Director of Student Teaching and Field, as well as the Initial and Advanced Committees, all of which review the data to determine areas for improvement. The Director and committees than report to the Education Cabinet, which makes recommendations to faculty for action.
In addition to skills and knowledge, candidates are assessed on and assess themselves on their dispositions regarding the teaching profession. Cooperating teachers, university supervisors, and course instructors rate the level at which candidates demonstrate certain dispositions shown to be necessary for one to be an effective educator. Students personally assess the same dispositions according to how much they value them as well as how well they fell they exhibit them. This is done at the beginning, middle, and end of candidates’ progression through their programs. These instruments are collected by course instructors, field cooperating teachers, and university supervisors and submitted to the UAS Coordinator for aggregation, analysis, and reporting to the Initial and Advanced Committees, which review the data to determine areas for improvement. These committees then report to the Education Cabinet, which makes recommendations to faculty for action.
Candidates complete exit surveys prior to completing their programs. In these surveys, candidates evaluate how well their programs and the conceptual frameworks prepared them to become professional educators, master educators, or educational leaders. Exit surveys contain Likert scales as well as space for written comments. The Director of Student Teaching and Field Experiences distributes and collects Initial program exit surveys at the final student teaching seminars. The Master Seminar Course Instructor distributes the Advanced exit surveys to students who are required to complete them either prior to or immediately following the Master’s defense. The Instructor of the Practicum in Educational Leadership distributes and collects the Educational Leadership exit surveys in the last class meetings. All program exit surveys are submitted to the UAS Coordinator for aggregation and analysis. The UAS Coordinator then reports Initial Exit Survey data to the Director of Student Teaching and Field Experiences and the Initial Committee and reports the Advanced Exit Survey Data to the Advanced Committee. These committees review the data to make suggestions for improvement and report to the Education Cabinet, which makes recommendations to faculty for action.
Candidates are also surveyed 1, 3, and 5 years after program completion to assess the programs and the frameworks on which they are founded to determine relevancy to current professional positions. This survey also request demographic and employment data, which is used to collect employers contact information in order to distribute the Initial and Advanced Principal Survey. This survey is designed to collect data regarding program completer performance and program framework outcomes.
The Director of Student Services, with the assistance of the UAS Coordinator, distributes Program Completer and Principal Surveys via mail. The UAS Coordinator receives the returned surveys, performs aggregation and analysis, and reports on the data to the Assessment, Initial and Advanced Committees. These committees review the data to make suggestions for improvement and report to the Education Cabinet, which makes recommendations to faculty for action. The program completer survey is currently in the process of being put online in an effort to increase response rates and streamline the data collection process. The same will be done for the Initial and Advanced Principal Surveys in the near future.
The Secretary to the Dean distributes and collects all Course Evaluations in the School of Education. These scantron instruments are aggregated according to course and instructor by an office outside of the SOE. The reports are then returned to the Dean, who reviews them. The UAS Coordinator does additional analysis on the Conceptual Framework Outcomes assessed in the surveys and reports this data to the Dean. Course evaluations have an important dual role in both course-based assessment and program assessment.
The Assessment Committee meets regularly throughout each semester to monitor the assessment process, including the tools and reporting guidelines, to determine areas for improvement. The Assessment Committee works with the Offices of Student Teaching and Field Experiences, Student Services, and the Dean to monitor the collection of relevant data.