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Millikin University - Decatur, IL
c. Professional and Pedagogical Knowledge and Skills  

1c. Professional and Pedagogical Knowledge and Skills for Teacher Candidates. [In this section the unit must address (1) initial teacher preparation programs at the undergraduate and graduate levels and, if the institution offers them, (2) licensure and non-licensure graduate programs for teachers who already hold a teaching license.]

1. What data from key assessments indicate that candidates in initial teacher preparation and advanced teacher preparation programs demonstrate the professional and pedagogical knowledge and skills delineated in professional, state, and institutional standards to facilitate learning?

Our candidates demonstrate the ability to facilitate learning through several different assessments: completion of the Assessment Professional Teaching Test (APT); completion of CA10 Teacher Work Sample; and successful completion of student teaching.

Candidates for initial certification must pass the APT certification test in order to be certified. The APT has six subscales: 1) Foundations, Characteristics, & Assessment; 2) Plan and Deliver Instruction, 3) Manage the Learning Environment, 4) Collaboration, Communication, and Professionalism, 5) Language Arts, 6) Educational Technology, and 7) Constructed Responses. All program completers must pass the APT. In Candidate Performance, APT Subscales, we provide data from 2007-2009 that illustrates that candidates performance was consistently high across all subscales. Data in this chart is for all test takers, although, to be certified to teach, candidates must pass the APT test. This chart reflects candidates who failed the test and then repeated it. Of 263 tests taken in 2007-2009, 241 (91.7%) passed. For the total score and each Subarea, The APT Chart shows the mean score, the lowest and highest score, and the number and percentage of passes and failures.

The facilitation of learning relates specifically to Subareas 1, 2, & 7. Subarea 1 examines Subarea 1 of the APT Test, Foundations, Characteristics & Assessment, examines candidates’ knowledge of human development, learning theory, the construction of knowledge, and assessment. With 240 as the minimum score for passing, MU candidates scored a mean score of 264 on Subarea 1, 84% test takers received 240 or better, with the mean score at 262.9 for 2008-2009.. Subarea 2 assessed the ability to plan and deliver instruction. A total of 89.7% received above 240 on Subarea 2, with a mean score of 271. Candidates received lower scores on subarea 7, which assessed skills in facilitating learning through essay. Sixty-eight percent (68.1% received 204 or higher, and the mean was 246). The APT subareas indicate that the majority of candidates have acquired knowledge of facilitating learning.

CA10 Teacher Work Sample (TWS) is a culminating candidate assessment that authentically assesses candidates’ ability to plan, assess, and deliver a unit of instruction, monitoring their students’ progress. In Phase I, candidates analyze the learning environment (context) in their classroom, establish unit learning goals and align them with state standards, create assessment plans, and plan lessons to teach each goal. In Phase II, candidates, teach the unit, pre-assessing learners, modify lessons based on pre-tests, teach the lessons, post-assess learning, and write an analysis of data, including performance of targeted students and designated subgroups within the class. Planning of the unit occurs in collaboration with the classroom teacher. In the data report on Live Text, there is clear evidence that our candidates successfully apply key professional and pedagogical skills. Candidates must receive proficient or commendable ratings on Phase I and II of the TWS in order to earn credit for the CA10. Data from LiveText show that fewer than 2% received marginal ratings individual lines of the rubric. Candidates present their evidence of successful facilitation of learning to their peers in ED488 Senior Seminar.

Evaluations for student teaching, collaboratively rated by the clinical faculty and school faculty, provide additional evidence that candidates are acquiring professional and pedagogical skills for helping students learn. In the Student Teaching Evaluation Summary, the chart shows ratings on Items 17-24 are particularly designed to assess the ability to facilitate learning. Also, Items 2 through 8 relate to engaging learners and adjusting content and methods to diverse learners’ needs. Ratings on all items are largely Proficient (80% or better), or Evolving (20%). There are 1% or less marginal ratings, and no Not Proficent Ratings). Items with slightly lower ratings were those that would be improved with experience, such as Items 3 and 19, both of which involved getting to know their students’ perspectives and adjust their teaching strategies accordingly.

In 2008-2009, we have begun using CA6 as “structured writing” assignment rather than have them prepare larger projects or take objective tests on learning theory. We hope that the revised form of the CA6 will assist candidates to prepare for the structured response sections of the assessment.

2. What data from key assessments indicate that candidates in initial teacher preparation programs consider the school, family, and community contexts and the prior experiences of students; reflect on their own practice; know major schools of thought about schooling, teaching, and learning; and can analyze educational research findings? If a licensure test is required in this area, how are candidates performing on it?

The APT Test scores will provide evidence that program completers have a sound foundation in the professional teaching knowledge. CA 3, 5, and 6 provide formative assessments that show that candidates can complete a case study, apply theories of learning to teaching, and plan for an orderly learning environment based on theories of guidance, discipline, and management. Finally, CA10 provides opportunities to combine knowledge and skills to teach an effective unit.

SubArea 1 of the APT Test, Foundations, Characteristics & Assessment, examines candidates’ knowledge of human development, learning theory, and the construction of knowledge. The Candidate Performance, APT Subscales show that pass rates were 86%. SubArea 3 addresses the processes of managing the learning environment and maintaining a safe, orderly, and equitable learning environment. Pass rate for Subarea 3 was 89.4%.

SubArea 4 , Collaboration, Communication, and Professionalism, tests candidates’ ability to collaborate with school, family, and members of the education community.  The pass rate for all test-takers was 94.7%. It is possible to pass the APT with one or more scales below 240, if other subarea scores are higher. Our candidates’ scores for Subareas 1, 3, and 4 suggest that our candidates are meeting standards related to Question 1c.2.

Candidate assessments 3, 5, 6, and 10 are related to the Question 1c.2. CA3 Case Study is a descriptive case study of an individual child within the school and family context and relates characteristics to cognitive, physical, emotional, and social development. Candidates are introduced as sophomores to direct applications of theories of development as illustrated by the subject of the case study. Candidate scores on CA3 indicate that our candidates can gather data about a child and apply theory to use in designing instruction for the child.

CA6, Evolving Philosophy of Teaching and Learning, encourages candidates to explore research about the major schools of thought about teaching and learning, and to reflect on their thinking about how students learn. Data on CA3 indicates that candidates successfully meet Millikin Teaching Standards and demonstrate understanding of learning theory.

CA5, Classroom Management & Guidance/Discipline Plan, asks candidates to create a plan that will facilitate an orderly, positive, equitable, and motivational learning environment for the grade level they will teach. Candidates identify management procedures and routines to create a classroom climate that will facilitate positive individual and group learning. They write materials to communication with learners, parents, administrators, and substitute teachers. Discipline or guidance strategies are identified.

CA10 (TWS) begins with an analysis of the context. Researching and reflecting on the characteristics of the community, school district, families, NCLB status, school, class, and prior learning experiences and abilities of their students, candidates then develop a unit, tailored to the needs of their students. Candidates must reflect on the implications of their context on the specific topic and learning activities they are planning for their TWS unit. In Phase 2 of the TWS, candidates look closely at 3 students’ diverse needs to assess their needs. The data show that candidates’ have a high rate of success in the writing the context and meeting individual needs.

Data from student teaching evaluations show that most candidates effectively create communities of learners (Items 7-16) and collaborate with others to promote learning (Items 26-29). Color coding on the right side indicates item content related to guidance/discipline, learning theory, diversity, research, and family. Ratings fall predominantly in Proficient or Evolving.

3. What data from key assessments indicate that advanced teacher candidates reflect on their practice; engage in professional activities; have a thorough understanding of the school, family, and community contexts in which they work; collaborate with the professional community; are aware of current research and policies related to schooling, teaching, learning, and best practices; and can analyze educational research and policies and explain the implications for their own practice and the profession?

No advanced programs

4. What do follow-up studies of graduates and employers indicate about graduates' preparation related to professional and pedagogical knowledge and skills? If survey data have not already been reported, what was the response rate?

Most graduates said that Millikin provided very good or commendable experiences in the areas listed. The Alumni follow-up study requested graduates to provide feedback on human development, creating communities of learners, communication, collaborative relationships, and professional growth. (Summary here for these attributes). Alums gave each of these areas very positive ratings. Combining “Very Good” and “Commendable,” Human Development received 88% positive ratings, Creating Communities, 82%, Communication, 84%; Collaborative Relationships, 87% and Professional Growth, 89%. Most other responses were in the “Acceptable” range for each category. “Minimal ratings were 1%, 0%, 5%, 2%, and 4%.

The Comments section of the full Alumni Follow-Up Survey yielded thoughtful and constructive suggestions. Throughout the five categories, comments repeatedly emphasized the importance of the internships and noted that they learned more in internships than anywhere else. Another theme was the need for more experience and knowledge about special needs students. In relation to discipline and classroom management, two comments emphasized the need not to underestimate students, and to use more intrinsic self-regulation instead of reinforcementsAlso, there were several suggestions in relation to parent-teacher communication that simulations of realistic situations would be helpful. In relation to collaboration, suggestions were specific: more scenarios on parent communication; help us learn to use a teaching assistant; teach about grantwriting. Words of praise were given for co-teaching, math methods, senior seminar, being taught to use RtI before they reached student teaching, and, most of all, for providing opportunities to teach from freshman through senior year. Steps are being taken to address the concerns about adapting to special needs students and to working with parents.

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Millikin University - Decatur, IL
Millikin University - Decatur, IL