When you refer to the “6-8 required assessments,” how are you defining an assessment?
An assessment is an evaluated activity or requirement by which a program determines that specific outcomes or standards have been mastered by a candidate. However, for the purposes of the program report, one or more of the 6-8 assessment “slots” may actually be addressed with an amalgamation of assessments and data. The elementary education program report, for example, requires assessments in the areas of mathematics, English, science and social studies for its assessments on content and on lesson planning. (See question #14 below for more discussion of using more than one source of assessment data for one of the 6-8 assessments.)
Our institution has created assessments for performance-based reviews over the past five years, closely following guidelines from SPAs. But there are more than the 6-8 you now limit us to—more like 20 to 25. How should we report results for the pilot? Do we need to leave out important aspects of evidence?
Evidence that has been gathered about candidate knowledge and performance can be clustered into “composite” assessments and fitted into the five defined assessment areas, or the remaining three assessments. There is no reason to omit important pieces of evidence, but NCATE expects that over time the assessments that have been constructed in response to a performance-based system can be adapted to the new program report.
Can we use the same assessment for more than one of the 6-8 required assessments?
Yes, although you need to think carefully how you allot your assessments. For example, a comprehensive evaluation of a candidate portfolio or the student teaching semester may include in-depth assessments of both content knowledge and lesson planning. In this case, one section of the portfolio might be cited as Assessment #2 (content knowledge) and another section of the portfolio would be cited as Assessment #3 (ability to plan instruction).
What is the difference between the report of findings on each assessment required in Section IV of the report, and the use of assessments for improving the program we are asked to describe in Section V of the report?
For each assessment in Section IV, you must briefly summarize the results of the data from the assessment, as well as interpret the data findings about candidate knowledge and skills in relation to the standards addressed by the assessment. This provides reviewers with specific information about how each assessment addresses the specific SPA standards.
Section V requires an interpretation of what the overall results described in Section IV say about program quality and implications for improvement of the program and candidate performance. This use of data and the resulting changes or improvements can also be used for the third element of NCATE Unit Standard 2.
Our department of teacher education uses the same student teacher evaluation form for all secondary areas. Since the form is not aligned to the individual SPA standards, will the data be of any use?
For some of the required assessments in the program report, the data produced by the program’s assessments may have limited relevance to some or all of the SPA standards. For example, some state licensure tests are more closely aligned to the professional standards than others. For another, generic student teaching evaluations will not provide direct evidence of meeting specific SPA standards. In this case, program faculty could add a program-specific section to the generic assessment, they could develop discipline-specific rubrics, or they provide a very clear rationale and context information that demonstrate how a generic assessment, in the context in which it is implemented, does bear relevance to specific SPA standards.
What’s the best strategy for choosing other assessments to enhance our report (i.e. assessments 6-8 for most program reports)?
The strategy for choosing which additional assessments to submit should be based on several factors. For example, it could be that your content-based assessments are relatively weak, and your report might benefit from another assessment that demonstrates candidate mastery of content. Or it might be that your required assessments overall pay short shrift to one or more of the SPA standards. In that case, it might be prudent to submit an assessment and data that are more closely aligned to those standards. Another possibility is that your candidate data across assessments do not demonstrate the strengths of your program the way you would like, but you have another key assessment in which your candidates consistently perform well.
In the faculty information chart in Section I of the online template, should we include faculty from Arts and Sciences who teach the content courses that our candidates are required to take?
No; the only faculty listed here should be faculty responsible for professional coursework, clinical supervision and those who teach methods courses. Adjunct and part-time faculty should be listed only if they have taught or provided other services for the program during the most recent academic year.
Within that same form - where we list three contributions for each faculty member in the areas of scholarship, leadership, and service - should we list a contribution in each of these three areas for each faculty member?
No; for example, a faculty member might choose to list three scholarly publications as her major contributions. However, if all faculty list scholarship as their contribution, the program report preparer may want to ask some faculty to highlight leadership or service experiences instead, in order to demonstrate that overall program faculty are contributing in all three areas.