e. summarized description of the unit’s assessment
The unit’s conceptual framework provides the context for developing and assessing candidate proficiencies based on state and national standards. The unit’s continuous assessment system is standards-based and performance based. Rubrics issued by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction are used in evaluating program delivery and candidate performance. Decision points have been delineated in the unit assessment plan for each phase of the teacher preparation program. The unit assessment plan also specifies the standards for assessing the programs.
The teacher education curriculum requires all candidates to complete a general education program, a major in the content area as appropriate, and a professional education component. There are four phases for students to move through in order to complete the teacher education program. All programs utilize the NCATE Standards, the WTS and the appropriate specialty organization standards. These standards inform the instructional objectives for each course. Performance/learning outcomes have been identified for each objective. Assessments have been designed to evaluate learning outcomes. Artifacts are maintained in a candidate portfolio. For most programs, each candidate portfolio is examined at three summative points: at the end of the foundations block (Phase 2), at the end of the methods block (Phase 3), and at the end of directed teaching (Phase 4).
Guidelines have been developed to facilitate individual candidate assessment and aggregate program evaluation. The NCATE Standards, the WTS, the DPI Content Standards and the WMAS are the basis for candidate and program assessment. A five-point scale has been created to allow faculty to document that candidates have met or exceeded the standards.
Candidate assessment is an integrative, continuous process that uses both summative and formative tools. Each candidate develops a portfolio to be submitted for review at regular intervals during the teacher education program. Candidates make entries to address specific standards at each phase. All portfolio artifacts must address the knowledge, skills and dispositions present in the standards. If the portfolio fails to meet a passing score in any area being assessed, the candidate is given an opportunity to remediate before he or she is allowed to progress to the next phase.
Formative assessment tools include a written statement of a candidate’s personal philosophy of education; written exams; applications of teaching strategies; reflective journals; field experiences; lesson and unit plans; and video and written assessments by candidate and supervisors. Summative assessment tools include a portfolio containing the formative assessment, interview and oral defense of portfolio, written assessment by supervisors and successful completion of required testing as identified above.
Summative decisions are made at each of the four phases. Data are collected in each phase. Evidence is reviewed for each of the summative decision points. Unit and content area faculty have identified course-specific performances and artifacts as parts of the assessment process. Artifacts are linked to specific standards. Continuous assessment connects all elements of the conceptual framework as each program has developed a matrix to show the relationship between course content and the standards and to provide a basis for program improvement.
For the advanced programs, the assessment plan deviates from the initial assessment plan in two ways: First, since each program has unique curricular progression, each program has identified at specific points in their program for portfolio submission, review, and data collection. Second, each program has a different specialty organization. The competencies assessed vary from program to program as the specialty organization’s competencies are added to the NCATE and DPI competencies. These variations notwithstanding, the assessment process for the advanced programs parallels that of the initial teacher licensure programs.
The advanced programs also answer to specialty organizations that mandate additional professional-specific competencies. These additional competencies are reflected in the assessment plan for each advanced program. The conceptual framework is published in student handbooks, shared with schools and agencies, particularly with those who partner with the unit in field experiences, and used in workshops with students, cooperating teachers, members of advisory boards, and with faculty who teach courses applicable to licensure outside of the unit. The members of the College Curriculum Committee and the Teacher Education Committee follow the conceptual framework in making decisions about new courses, program changes, and in making recommendations for updating courses.