Unit assessment is a continuous process that underlies all excellent programs of teaching and learning. The unit has designed a systematic process for determining the extent to which its initial teacher preparation programs address the outcomes of the conceptual framework. Internal and external program assessment data are collected in order to help evaluate the work of the Unit. This data is systematically reviewed and recommendations are made for unit improvement. The goal is to direct improvement efforts in order to ensure program quality.
The Elementary Education major and Secondary Education minor unfold in 3 Steps. The 3 Steps of the unit’s programs (Step 1, College General Education Requirements and Introduction to the Profession, Step 2, Professional Studies and Content Preparation, and Step 3, Integrated Studies) provide structure and cohesion as candidates progress.
The unit’s learning outcomes are aligned with the Indiana P-12 Developmental Standards, but since Content is not addressed in those standards, the unit chose to adopt the INTASC Content Standard. These 8 learning outcomes (standards) were then aligned with the Saint Mary’s College Liberal Learning Outcomes in 2011.
The unit assessment process gathers multiple pieces of data at each Step and after graduation. The unit gets feedback from principals who hired SMC graduates at the end of the first year of teaching. Additionally, the unit now participates in the College surveys of graduates 1 and 5 years out. The unit added links for Education graduates whose questions, aligned to the 8 unit learning outcomes, asking how well prepared she was.
The unit Assessment Committee reviews all data. The process is designed to provide data and information to the appropriate faculty members or committees to make course or program changes. The process also assesses candidate proficiencies, as outlined in the conceptual framework and unit operations. An Assessment Schematic was developed to provide easy visual display of the entire system that sets out the Indiana P-12 Developmental Standards + INTASC Content Standard, the Saint Mary’s Learning Outcomes, the Assessment Tools and Measures, Assessment Results, and a column headed “What We Learned.”
The unit collects data and collaborates with the Office of Institutional Research and Assessment for statistical analysis. Assessment Retreats are held at the beginning of each semester where the entire unit reviews the IR & A reports. In addition to the assessment tools displayed here, the unit also relies on GPA and Core Academic Skills Assessment (CASA) to determine eligibility for admission to the department (see application to the department). In Indiana, the student's ACT composite score of 24 or combined SAT score of 1100 (Critical Reading and Math) allow the student to substitute that score for CASA. Additionally, candidates must pass the Indiana Core Assessment (Content Test) in the respective area(s) in order to earn their Indiana license(s); therefore, the unit shares this data with the Teacher Education Council.
The Teacher Candidate Assistance Team (TCAT) provides teacher candidates a formal process to resolve complaints and request waivers from department policies and procedures. TCAT also provides faculty, clinical faculty, and staff a formal process to resolve issues related to teacher candidate dispositions, performance, or academic problems. Candidates receive the procedures upon admittance to the department.
Examples of assessment tools and measures will appear here:
Title II of the Higher Education Act requires three annual reports on the quality of teacher preparation. Schools of education are to report to states the pass rates of their graduates on state certification assessments and other program data in April. States in turn are required to report to the U.S. Department of Education information on certification and licensure requirements, pass rates on state assessments disaggregated and ranked by institution, and other information in October. The U. S. Department of Education is making the state reports readily accessible through the Web.