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Standard 1 Narrative

Standard 1: Candidate Knowledge, Skills, and Professional Dispositions

 1.1 Candidate Knowledge, Skills, and Professional Dispositions

What do candidate assessment data tell the unit about candidates' meeting professional, state and institutional standards and their impact on P-12 from key assessments and discuss these results (10,000 characters) (9,590)

 FSU teacher education programs are approved by DPI 1.4.a and are aligned to the EPP's CF, which is aligned to state and national association standards. Program details are reported annually in the Title II Reports 1.4.b. All evaluation rubrics are aligned to the EPP's CF 1.4.c. Candidates are introduced to the CF, themes, and rationale during their introductory courses - EDUC 211: Field Experience in Area Schools/SPED 480: Seminar II. Candidates know the content they plan to teach and can apply the principles and concepts delineated in professional, state, and institutional standards. Over the past five years, at least ninety percent of the candidates pass the Praxis II content examinations for licensure 1.4.l. Initial candidates in MSSS Department must demonstrate breadth and depth of content knowledge by completing at least 18 hours in the content area and complete two required content projects. Advanced candidates demonstrate breadth and depth of content through concentrations and previously earned degrees/licenses. Advanced candidates must also hold an initial license in a teaching area and complete 18 credits in a specialty content area.

 Initial candidates understand the relationship of content and content-specific pedagogy in professional, state, and institutional standards and have a broad knowledge of instructional strategies that draws upon content and pedagogical knowledge and skills to help students learn. Prior to program admission, initial candidates demonstrate content knowledge through completion of the University College Core Curriculum. Other requirements, including obtaining a grade of C or better in EDUC 211 and a cumulative GPA of 2.5 must be met. Furthermore, strong content knowledge is evident in (1) the number of pre-/candidates on the Dean's List 1.4.m, (2) the number receiving honors at commencement 1.4.n, (3) the high average cohort admission and completion GPAs of at least 3.00 (1.4.n1), and (4) earning the distinction of valedictorian or salutatorian. The EPP implemented teacher education admission interviews to assess candidates' dispositions and readiness for teacher education 1.4.o. Also, during methods courses and student teaching, candidates complete major evidences that demonstrate proficiency rating of 3 on a 4 point scale. In addition, capstone assessments serve as evidence that candidates are ready to assume professional roles in education.

Candidates apply the professional and pedagogical knowledge and skills necessary to facilitate learning within the school, family, and community contexts during the capstone experience. Results are reflected in key assessments across EPP 1.4.d1and programs 1.4.d2. During an Assessment Committee (AC) meeting in summer 2012, faculty groups (including representatives from CAS) engaged in a face validity exercise of required evidences. This process was infused to address possible bias in the assessment practice. External partners also serve as second evaluators of key evidences to strengthen inter-rater reliability 1.4.e. At the initial level, the Certification of Teaching Capacity (CTC) form is scored by the university supervisor, cooperating teacher, school principal, and the candidate, to address issues related to external validity.

Candidates analyze educational research findings and incorporate new information into practice as appropriate and demonstrated in Case Studies (CS), which also demonstrates their ability to analyze and use students' learning to drive instruction The CS requires candidates to use student performance data to improve instruction. Candidates must demonstrate a positive impact on student learning as an evaluative measure of success.  Both the CF's theme, "Research and Leadership" and the state Professional Teaching Standard (PTS), "Teachers Lead in the Classroom" are reflected in the completion of the Professional Leadership Project (PLP). The overall performance during the student teaching experience is reflected on the CTC form, which requires the acknowledgement by the cooperating teacher, principal, and university supervisor that the candidate is ready to become a teacher. Examples of candidates' assessments verify satisfactory levels of achievements 1.4.h.

The "Knowledgeable and Reflective" CF's theme requires candidates to demonstrate their ability to reflect on content knowledge, major theories, and pedagogical skills throughout their tenure. In 2012, the ninety percent rating on reflection was lower in comparison to the other standards. In order to increase candidates' proficiency, the EPP developed prompts to guide reflection throughout the program, which resulted in a two percent increase in 2013. 

At the initial level, pre-candidates are introduced to the DI in the undergraduate gateway course EDUC 211/SPED 480. During these field-based courses, selected prompts of the SOE DI are included in the early assessment of dispositions, the Early Disposition Inventory (EDI). The EDI is completed by each cooperating teacher and attached to the Field Experience Report required course assignment. The results of the six (6) measures on the EDI are monitored 1.4.p and considered during the admission to teacher education interview. Results provide the EPP with information necessary to prepare pre-candidates or candidates for the next phase of the program. If necessary, pre-candidates or candidates complete a Corrective Action Plan (CAP) to address deficiencies, which could include dispositional traits.  The SOE DI is administered at TP I as a self-assessment; at TP II by the team conducting the admission to student teaching interview (initial) or admission to candidacy (advanced); and at TP III by the team conducting the exit portfolio evaluation (initial and MSA), the Product of Learning (M. Ed.), and the Dissertation (Ed. D.).

Effective fall 2012, prior to admission to teacher education, pre-candidates in field experiences must complete the Voluntary Disclosure Form. A response of "yes" to any of the questions on this form requires a complete background check. This information allows the EPP to provide recommendations to the pre-candidate, which may mean a change of major should the result indicate limitations to complete the program or become employed. In addition, candidates complete a Criminal Background Check prior to experiences in the field for methods and student teaching. At TP II, Admission to Student Teaching, the LEA may also complete a background check prior to placement to ensure that candidates do not have an incident or negative disposition that would affect employment in the school system.

Candidates who have incidents of concern during their time in the field consult with the department chair, university supervisor, and Director of Teacher Education to discuss next steps. The EPP may extend candidates' time in the field to guarantee program expectations are met or may remove candidates from the field, provide Professional Development (PD), and reassign to another classroom the next semester. The student teaching observation form, aligned to the CF Themes and the NC PTS, requires the candidate, cooperating teacher, and university supervisor to evaluate candidates' holistic performance - knowledge, skills, and disposition multiple times during the experience. The supervisors and principal must validate readiness to apply for the license by signing the CTC form 1.4.q.  

Advanced candidates demonstrate in-depth understanding of the content and theories of their field. In order to be admitted to an advanced program, candidates must demonstrate strong content knowledge through GRE (MAT) scores, a cumulative 2.75-3.0 GPA, and an initial license in a teaching area. Advanced candidates are practicing professionals who have a breadth of experiences to bring to the advanced studies. Candidates select and use a broad range of strategies to support roles determined by their degrees - M. Ed., MSA, and Ed.D. All advanced programs require 18 hours in a specialty area. Candidates reflect on strengths and areas for improvement and engage in professional activities demonstrating a thorough understanding of the school, family, and community work contexts. The candidates are also expected to collaborate with the professional community to create meaningful learning experiences for all affiliates, as reflected in the Capstone Assessments. Advanced candidates know current research and policies related to teaching, learning, assessment, and best practices. They are also able to analyze educational research and policies, and understand the implications of their own practice as reflected in results on Leadership and Collaboration Project (M.Ed.), Professional Portfolio (MSA), and Dissertation (Ed.D.).

In lieu to the Criminal Background Check and the completion of the Voluntary Disclosure Form, advanced candidates submit at least two letters of recommendation that address their academic abilities and behavioral/dispositional traits.  Effective fall 2013, advanced candidates complete self-evaluation using the SOE DI upon admission into the program at TP I. The disposition results at TP I provide program administrators with evidence of the candidates' behavioral/dispositional traits and lend continuity of measurement across all programs. The SOE DI is also administered during the admission to candidacy at TP II and during capstone courses (M. Ed. & MSA) or dissertation defense (Ed.D.) at TP III 1.4.f. The EPP acknowledges that positive dispositional traits are prerequisites for quality candidates and completers.

1.2.b    Continuous Improvement (10,000 characters) (9,940)

Summarize activities and changes based on data that have led to continuous improvement of candidate performance and program quality.

Discuss plans for sustaining and enhancing performance through continuous improvement as articulated in unit Standard 1.

The EPP has various data sources for programs, which were revised to meet new state standards to meet expectations clearly outlined in the University of NC System's priority document, UNC Tomorrow. Institutional expectations are aligned to System priorities, and are reflected in the departments' and EPP annual Operational Plan and Assessment Reports (OPAR). In 2013, the System revised priorities in Our Time, Our Future: The UNC Compact with North Carolina. The Division of Academic Affairs, SOE, and departments aligned 2013-2014 OPARs to the new priorities.

Since 2010, FSU requires units to complete an annual OPAR for strategic planning and evaluation using Taskstream's web-based Accountability Management System (AMS) platform. The OPAR provides the framework for continuous improvement documentation by sustaining and enhancing performance, accountability, and institutional quality. In the OPARs, the EPP's and departments' priorities are aligned with institutional, national, professional, and state standards, and SOE CF themes. Program key assessment data, aligned with Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs), are presented in the OPAR, and the process promotes a structure of summarizing and disseminating data for program review, interpretation, and use. The EPP's Assessment Coordinator collects and reports data to departments to inform program changes and use in OPARs.

In 2009, DPI initiated a state-wide review of all teacher education programs to reflect 21st century language and practices. As a result, each program was revised and aligned with new professional teaching and school executive standards. Common assessments with uniform rubrics, in licensure programs, were created. FSU's revised initial and MSA programs were approved by the State Board of Education (SBE) in spring 2010. The initial program re-visioning process was led by a faculty member, now serving as Associate Chancellor for Accreditation, and involved discussions with departments, SOE, district partners, and CAS colleagues. As a result, programs were piloted in 2010-2011. M.Ed programs were approved in 2011. In addition, on February 14, 2014, the Ed.D. Program (P-12 concentration leading to superintendent licensure) was submitted to DPI for approval 1.4.r. Revised programs, as reflected in approved Blueprints, have major assessments, including candidate reflections.

The EPP continues to improve programs by utilizing data to address program needs. In 2012 feedback from LEA partners and principals' evaluation data indicated that candidates needed support with analyzing and using classroom data to drive student learning. As a result, the EPP developed a new required course for initial licensure pre-candidates: EDUC 331: Instructional Design and Assessment of Learning 1.4.s. The new course was approved and implemented in fall 2013. School leaders from the LEA Cumberland County Schools (CCS) made available a data set for use in this course, provided workshops to FSU faculty (CAS & SOE) on the new SchoolNet assessment and data source, and made presentations to pre-candidates on strategies to use students' data to drive instruction and improve achievement. It is expected that candidates who complete the new data driven course should perform at a higher average performance during fall 2014 semester. During spring 2014, a similar process was infused at the MSA level for candidates to utilize real and simulated data sets and newly developed state-mandated data systems.

Based upon reports from LEA partners about pre-candidates'/candidates' dispositions, during field experience and indirect evidence (such as in-class interactions), there is need for pre-candidates/candidates to clearly understand the high level of expectations of them as "Reflective Facilitators of Learning." The TP I Admission to Program and TP II Admission to Student Teaching requirements in initial licensure programs were changed to require an interview and writing sample. Pre-candidates/candidates must have a clear understanding of the EPP's CF, knowledge of the expectations of the classroom, and ability to clearly respond to writing prompts. The interviews and writing prompts are evaluated using a rubric. Results are reflected on recommendation forms at TP I & II 1.4.t. Consequently, faculty and LEA partners have observed an improvement in candidates' dispositions.

National research suggests that extended clinical experiences improve (or strengthen) teacher efficacy. An extensive experience in the classroom is one strategy that will assist candidates in honing pedagogical skills and aligning content knowledge to pedagogy. Since fall 2010, candidates enrolled in initial licensure programs must complete a full semester of student teaching. Prior to fall 2010, only candidates in the initial elementary education program had this requirement. Other undergraduate initial licensure programs required a methods course over the course of a week and ten weeks of student teaching experience during the final semester. Initial licensure programs now require fifteen weeks of methods course/s and fifteen weeks of student teaching, in consecutive capstone semesters.

Each fall, the Office of Academic Affairs provides program results from the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) evaluation instrument. The disaggregated results reveal candidates' concern with the timeliness of feedback from faculty 1.4.u. Therefore, in 2012, the EPP implemented measures to address this concern. At the undergraduate level, faculty require candidates to submit early drafts on major assessments to Taskstream. The increase in prompt feedback from the faculty in 2012-2013 resulted in a score of 3.74 compared to 2.95 received in 2011-2012. The EPP has a continuous improvement model that requires draft submission of assessments to provide feedback to maximize candidates' success as supported by detailed and timely faculty feedback. Similarly, at the advanced levels, the priority goal of timely feedback is included in syllabi 1.4.v.

Following discussions with candidates, the faculty determined that there was a lack of clarity concerning directions for completing key assessments. During departmental meetings and the 2012 Assessment Retreat (AR), faculty revised assessment directions at the BS and M. Ed. levels. Revised directions were uploaded to Taskstream and implemented in 2012-2013.  Candidates are introduced to the Taskstream assessment system as the repository for major requirements at each TP. Instructional videos on how to use Taskstream were uploaded to the Assessment Website. The Assessment Coordinator (now Director of Data and Assessment) also made classroom visits to provide support. A staff member was assigned to assist the Assessment Coordinator in providing support to candidates. 

The EPP provides candidates with professional development opportunities to advance content knowledge, pedagogy, and dispositions.  Candidates have opportunities through the Excellence in Teaching Conference (EITC) and American Education Week (AEW) activities to present and demonstrate in-depth content knowledge through research papers/case studies, or poster projects to other attendees. During AEW activities, candidates participate in symposia that provide them with a thematic approach for curriculum development 1.4.x. Workshops addressing culturally relevant pedagogy are also offered since survey results reflected candidates' dissatisfaction with belief in the ability to deliver instruction to diverse students. Support for initial licensure exam is provided each semester through EPP sponsored workshops 1.4.z.

Faculty, administrators, candidates, LEA partners, and clinical instructors serve on the Assessment Committee (AC) and provide input and oversight for the assessment system, and make recommendations based on findings related to candidate content knowledge, pedagogical knowledge, skills, and dispositions. The AR is avenue for data review to maintain program quality and prepare high quality completers who demonstrate positive impact on student learning. The data reviewed for application for program growth include the feedback from alumni 1.4.i and employers 1.4.j with regard to job readiness based on program preparation.

Principals' evaluation of classroom teachers' data, reported by DPI 1.4.k1, and teacher effectiveness data from research conducted by the Carolina Institute for Public Policy, in collaboration with UNC General Administration, support the statement of program quality and graduates effectiveness 1.4.k2. Another measure of the effectiveness of completers is the number of candidates employed or pursuing advanced study upon completion 1.4.aaor those who are recognized as building-level, area-level, or county-wide Teacher of the Year. Completers, as well as candidates who have met all requirements for admission to initial programs, are recognized at an Awards and Recognition Ceremony each semester 1.4.ab. During this celebration the EPP recognizes the Student Teacher/Intern of the Year using nominating statements from the cooperating teachers/intern supervisors. Department of Educational Leadership faculty selects the "Dissertation of the Year" and that candidate is recognized 1.4ad. Secretary Duncan in his 2012 annual report cited FSU's graduates as having statistically significant positive impact on students' growth. On April 25, 2014, a White House Press Release noted that "Fayetteville State University... incorporates the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction competencies and standards ... into its curriculum for master's degree students in their School of Education. Of their recent graduates, 87% of new teachers met or exceeded expectations for student learning growth, compared to the 75% state average" The EPP is successful in, and guided by, its strategic goal of effectively serving the children of Southeastern North Carolina and beyond.


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