Please update your web browser or disable Compatibility View.

Institutional Report for NCATE

 III. Evidence

Standard 1: Candidate Knowledge, Skills, and Dispositions

Candidates preparing to work in schools as teachers know and demonstrate the content, pedagogical, and professional knowledge, skills, and dispositions necessary to help all students learn. Assessments indicate that candidates meet professional, state, and institutional standards. Despite the lack of a single definition, performance assessment is aimed at moving away from testing practices that require students to select the single correct answer from an array of four or five distracters to a practice that requires students to create evidence through performance that will enable assessors to make valid judgments about “what they know and can do” in situations that matter.

Elliot Wisner

Element 1: Content Knowledge for Teacher Candidates

The Unit Assessment System” (2001) organizes the Education Department’s search for evidence of candidate performance.  Four assessment questions focus that system, each aligned with relevant institutional, state, and professional standards.  The first of these questions, “do candidates possess the basic academic skills and values that will sustain their learning?” explores the foundation of knowledge and skill that will be called upon to support candidates’ content knowledge (p. 9).  One of those sources, more comprehensive in its design than the Pre-Professional Skills Test required for licensure by Minnesota’s Board of Teaching, enables the unit to identify those who might require remediation prior to their acceptance as candidates for licensure.  The unit has used the Academic Profile, a criterion-referenced examination of general academic knowledge and skills, for the past five years to identify college students who might profit from further review of those skills before acceptance as candidates.  The following tables reveal the results of the most recent administration.  Additional information on the design and use of the Profile is included in the unit’s assessment plan. 

Findings: Basic Academic Skills.  The unit invites students who seek acceptance as Education Department majors or minors and whose performance in any area falls into “Level 1” to plan and complete remedial study for each deficient area prior to their acceptance.  Students performing “Below Level 1” for reading, writing, using mathematics, or the writing sample are encouraged to reconsider their prospective major, as the time and effort needed to reach “Level 2” may prove to be greater than their resources will allow. 

Performance on this examination has been stable over the past five years, suggesting that the results of the 30 September 2000 test administration are generally predicted by previous administrations of this examination.  That test history is available in the report “Academic Profile Performance: Candidates’ Basic Academic Skills” (2001).   

Table III.1.1  Academic Profile Performance on 30 September 2000

Academic Profile Skill Area
  Reading Writing Mathematics
Proficiency Levels      
  Level 3: 11 (20%) 07 (13%) 15 (27%)
Accept Level 2: 29 (53%) 24 (44%) 24 (44%)
Remediate Level 1: 15 (27%) 23 (42%) 12 (22%)
  Below 1: 0 1 (  2%) 0
  Subtotal: 55 55 51
  Reversals: 0 0 4 (7%)
  Total: 55 55 55

 

Note:  “Reversals” include those students who correctly answered more complex questions that presume an advanced level of knowledge while incorrectly answering related questions that explore the foundation for such advanced knowledge.  Proficiency levels cannot be calculated for students who respond in this way. Students whose responses classify their work in a skill area as a “reversal” will be invited to complete further testing and possible remedial work in that skill.

Using the proficiency definitions provided by ETS for the Profile, Table I reveals that about one-fifth of this group answered the Profile’s questions as if they were “mature” readers (Level 3: 20%; 11 of 55).  About one-half darkened the circles on their answer sheets in ways that suggest they had an “intermediate” level of reading comprehension (Level 2: 53%; 29).  Fifteen students responded to the Profile’s questions as if they possessed “Level 1” or “basic” reading skills (27%).

Fewer students’ test responses suggested a “mature” recognition of the conventions of well-written English (Level 3: 13%; 7 of 55).  About as many in this group answered the Profile’s questions as if they had “intermediate” (Level 2: 24; 44%) skill in recognizing correctly written English as those who revealed a “basic” or Level 1 performance in that skill (23; 42%).

Fifteen students in this sample responded to the Profile’s questions as if they possessed a “mature” understanding of mathematics (Level 3: 27%; 15 of 55).  These individuals are able to perform tasks associated with Levels 1 and 2 as well as meet the demands set for this advanced proficiency level.  More performed at an “intermediate” or Level 2 proficiency (44%; 24 of 55). About one-fifth tested as they understood mathematics at a “basic” level (Level 1: 22%; 12).  

Experience with the Profile suggests that we should expect few of these first and second year students to test at the “mature” or Level 3 proficiency.  We might expect to see that level of performance among college students in their fourth year of study.  Test performance and writing samples from this group of 55 students supports that expectation.

Findings: Writing.  Table III.1.2 summarizes the scores awarded by the six readers who judged the 55 essays written on 30 September on the topic of  “zero tolerance” of weapons in schools.  The unit’s approach to sampling prospective candidates’ writing has evolved to more closely simulate “real” writing that might otherwise be the case in a testing session.

Most of those sitting for the two and one-half hour Academic Profile completed a writing sample during the following two hours.  One week prior to the test date all who registered for the writing sample also received a reading packet with advice on how to write a persuasive essay, readings from several sources offering different positions on the topic chosen for the sample, and that topic or “prompt.”  Students were encouraged to add notes or outlines to their reading packet, which they could use during the two-hour essay session.  Reading packets were collected with essays.
  

Table III.1.2
Essay Performance, 30 September 2000

AP Equivalent Raw Score Essays
Level 3: Accept  12  0
   11  3 (5%)
Level 2: Accept  10  4 (7%)
    9  12 (22%)
    8  13 (24%)
Level I: Remediate   7  
    6  13 (24%)
    5  10 (18%)
Below 1: Remediate   4   0
Totals    55

Six of the unit’s faculty, trained to holistically score essays on this topic, rated all essays as Level 1 or higher in this sample of 55.  Those same readers, however, found that 23 essays, or 42% of the total they read on this day, revealed only Level 1 writing skills.  Students who wrote essays at this level were invited to begin remedial work prior to their acceptance as majors or minors in the Education Department.  Their individual remedial plans will include further testing to reveal specific weaknesses and strengths, instruction focused on those weaknesses, and practice to reinforce newly honed skills prior to successful completion of post remediation examinations.

The 27 students whose essays were scored at Level 2 were awarded summed raw scores of eight, nine, or ten by two or more readers.  These “intermediate” writers represent 53% of this test group of 55 essays. They were joined on this occasion by three essays that readers judged to be written at a “mature” level (Level 3: 5% of 55).  Students writing essays scored at these levels were not required to strengthen their writing through further study prior to their acceptance as Education majors or minors. 

Meaningful remedial opportunities are an important part of the unit’s efforts to identify and provide assistance to prospective candidates whose academic skills might be deficient.  Table III.1.3 reveals estimated demand for help represented by the 33 of 55 students tested on 30 September 2000 and whose proficiency levels tested at or below Level 1 in at least one skill area.   Since many students revealed weaknesses in more than one area, we conclude that if these 33 students continue to pursue their candidacy as Education Department elementary majors or secondary minors, they will generate the equivalent of 78 requests for help from the colleges’ faculty and staff.

Table III.1.3: Remedial Demand 30 September 2000

Area Expected Remedial Requests
AP Reading: 15  (19%)
AP Writing: 24  (31   )
AP Math: 16  (21   )
Essay: 23  (29%)
Total: 78 Requests from 33 of 55 tested students

As in previous administrations of the Academic Profile, most of those who completed the test and writing sample during this session were in their first year of study (45%; 25), while one-third more were in their second year (33%; 18).  Ten indicated that they were in their third year of study (10; 18%).  One student in her fourth year completed the Profile on this occasion.  One-half report that they will seek acceptance as elementary education majors, while the others are spread across disciplines that may lead them to an education minor and secondary licensure. Women form about two thirds of this group (64%; 35 of 55).  About one-third are men (36%; 20)  

On the whole, this most recent examination of prospective candidates’ academic skills as readers, writers, and users of mathematics confirms the unit’s practice of identifying those in need of assistance early in their college careers.  With 60% (33 of 55) of those tested in this sample in need of some form of help to reach a functional level of performance, a ratio consistent with the performance of previous samples, continued entry level review and remediation is warranted.  Even as a national mania for “accountability” through testing grows to include more tests and reporting of candidates’ performance on those tests, offering opportunities for candidates with deficient academic skills to strengthen their performance will continue to be necessary.  

Findings: Content Knowledge.  All programs approved by the State of Minnesota’s Board of Teaching to present candidates for licensure must affirm that those candidates have  opportunities to know, apply, and to be assessed on the substantive knowledge of the disciplines within their areas of licensure.  The body of knowledge, skills, and values that define each of those areas is established in law as licensure “rules.”  These rules reflect content standards derived from the advice of relevant professional and learned societies, modified to better serve the needs of Minnesota’s children and youth.

During the past year each of the unit’s companion departments carefully examined the formal courses and related experiences designed to provide candidates with content knowledge on which to build their practice as educators.  Upon completion of this internal review, faculty in companion departments fully documented candidates’ opportunities to know, apply, and to be assessed on the content standards for the licensure program related to their discipline.  That documentation, when supplemented by information from the unit, was then reviewed by external evaluators guided by Board of Teaching staff.  As this process continues, all but two of the unit’s programs have been examined and affirmed by external evaluators as providing such opportunities required by relevant licensure rules (see Institutional Overview, Tables I.1 and I.2).

Comforting as this external review of formative experience might appear, the Education Department is called to pursue its second assessment question and thus confirm that its “candidates possess an integrated body of knowledge, skills, and values drawn from one or more disciplines central to their area of licensure” (“Unit Assessment System,” p.11).  What is the influence of those carefully documented opportunities to know, apply, and to be assessed on candidate’s knowledge of the subjects they are preparing to teach to others?  A cluster of new sources of information about candidates’ content knowledge will be available for analysis in the near future, including a state mandated examination after 1 September 2001 (Praxis II Subject Matter) and an “integrative project” to follow in September of 2002.  In the absence of these potentially useful measures, the unit offers pilot test data from its newly developed student teaching performance profiles to describe candidates’ subject matter knowledge. 

The following tables offer the unit’s summative judgments of the subject matter knowledge revealed in the clinical performances of seven elementary and eight secondary level candidates.  Candidates’ student teaching portfolios, which contain much of the information on which these judgments are based, are available for review by those who might wish to audit these findings.

Table III.1.4: Elementary Student Teaching Performance Profile; Content Knowledge

Performance Dimensions                                                    Performance Indicators  

Goal 1: Subject Matter                                   
Candidates:   01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08
1a1 Knows and understands subject matter 2 3 2 3 2 2 3 2
1b1 Uses multiple representations and explanations of subject matter 2 2 2 3 2 2 3 2
1e1 Integrates subject matter with other disciplines 3 2 2 3 2 2 3 2
Candidate Median: 2 2 2 3 2 2 3 2

Key to Scoring Guides (Source: Assessing Candidate Performance: Elementary Program, 2001)

1.a.1  Candidates’ performances reveal understanding of major concepts, assumptions, debates, processes of inquiry, and ways of knowing that are central to the subjects they share with their students (MSEPT 1.A; INTASC 1.11).

1: Needs Attention: Candidates reveal insufficient prerequisite knowledge to encourage their students’ learning. Their performance reveals content errors and/or disorganized, confusing content knowledge.

2: Basic: Candidates display basic content knowledge but do not go beyond textbook information.  Performances reveal difficulty responding to impromptu questions, missed opportunities to elaborate, or uncorrected misconceptions.  

3: Proficient: Candidates display solid content knowledge, anticipating some student misconceptions, and responding accurately to some student questions.  

4: Distinguished: Candidates display extensive content knowledge, revealing continuing pursuit of such knowledge, anticipation and correction of student misconceptions, and accurate responses to student questions.  

1.b.1  Candidates use varied viewpoints and theories to offer multiple representations and explanations of concepts that reflect key ideas in the subjects they share with their students (MSEP 1.F / 1.E; INTASC 1.32 / 1.31).

1: Needs Attention: Candidates present information in limited scope.

2: Basic: Candidates display some knowledge of and openness to other theories, explanations.

3: Proficient: Candidates consistently present more than one viewpoint, representation.  

4: Distinguished: Candidates actively seek out a wide variety of viewpoints and representations of subject matter; they display openness to students’ theories; they motivate students to further explore them.  

1.e.1  Candidates integrate subject matter knowledge, skills, and methods of inquiry with that of other disciplines related to the subject matter they share with their students (MSEP 1.J; INTASC 1.36).  

1: Needs Attention: Candidates’ planning does not reveal intentional integration with other subjects.  

2: Basic: Candidates reveal some effort to coordinate or integrate content.

3: Proficient: Explicit objectives provide opportunities for integration with other content areas.

4: Distinguished: Candidates’ planning encourages student initiative in making connections with other content areas.

Table III.1.5: Secondary Student Teaching Performance Profile; Content Knowledge

Performance Dimensions                              Performance Indicators

Goal 1: Subject Matter  
Candidates:             01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 Md.
1c Integrates subject with other disciplines 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3
1e Relates subject to prior knowledge 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3
1g Evaluates teaching materials 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3
Candidate Median                     3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3

Key to Scoring Guide (Source: Assessing Candidate Performance: Secondary Practice, 2001)

1. Needs Attention: Candidate’s work reveals inadequate knowledge of subject matter (MSEPT 1.c, 1.e, 1.g)

2. Basic: Candidate’s preparation and instruction reveal general content knowledge

3. Proficient: Candidate’s planning and instruction shows content knowledge beyond what the text provides, as shown by references to relevant information in other sources that is integrated in lessons and units.

4. Distinguished: Candidate possesses a fund of knowledge going beyond the text that is integrated with relevant facets of other disciplines to offer students a comprehensive yet focused exploration of themes, questions, or concerns within the subject.

Findings from these performance profiles, while judged valid and reliable, should be advanced with a sense of caution.  While these tables include pilot test data drawn from all who completed student teaching in December of 2000, information describes the performance of only seven elementary and eight secondary level candidates are.  As a new technique still in development, this process for documenting and assessing performance will be further refined to improve the accuracy of candidates’ ratings.  When profiles are prepared for 38 elementary and 24 secondary candidates who will complete their clinical experiences in June of 2001, a broader base of performance may reveal patterns not yet evident in the summative ratings of these two groups.

This summative review of secondary candidate’s formative assessments suggests that most are performing at expected levels. Further refinement of the profile for this level could increase the range of dimensions and comprehensiveness of their indicators to produce a more balanced picture of secondary level candidates’ “content” knowledge.  As our experience with this form of summative assessment grows, the unit’s faculty may elect to evaluate in detail some facets of its elementary or secondary program should ratings suggest the need to do so.

Element 3: Pedagogical Content Knowledge for Teacher Candidates 

All of Minnesota’s approved teacher preparation programs include documented opportunities for candidates to know, apply, and to be assessed on standards that focus on refining one’s understanding of unique ways to teach a body of knowledge, skills, and values in a licensure area.  These experiences have been documented, externally evaluated, and approved by the Board of Teaching for each of the unit’s elementary and secondary programs save two (K-12 French and elementary language 5-8 specialty) in the final stage of review.  The formative assessments enjoyed by candidates in those courses and field experiences that offer opportunities to develop a pedagogical content knowledge base for each licensure area available for audit. 

Findings: Pedagogical Content Knowledge.  The unit’s assessment of this facet of candidate performance is reflected in a variation of its third assessment question, “Do candidates’ possess pedagogical content knowledge appropriate for their areas of licensure?” (“Unit Assessment System,” p. 26).  Most often, work in the unit’s “methods” or pedagogy courses helps candidates begin to acquire such knowledge through study followed by practice in planning and executing limited teaching assignments in field settings.  The unit will introduce a modified performance profile to be used for summative assessment of candidates’ performance in methods courses after 1 September 2000.  Candidates will also complete a modified “work sample” in response to key performance dimensions set for this facet of their preparation, an innovation that should provide more consistent experiences for candidates enrolled in all elementary and secondary methods courses.  In the absence of data from these emerging sources, what might we examine to gain a sense of the unit’s success in helping candidates begin to acquire a sense of how to teach their subjects?

Four goals derived from the unit’s conceptual framework and aligned with state and professional standards offer a summative response to this assessment question.  Aside from the fund of knowledge about their discipline or area of practice already examined (Goal 1, Subject Matter), candidates’ pedagogical content knowledge is revealed in their use of instructional strategies (Goal 4), communication techniques (Goal 6), instructional planning (Goal 7), and assessment of their students’ learning (Goal 8).  Performance dimensions and indicators for each of these goals, derived from elementary and secondary level performance profiles, appear in the following tables.

Table III.1.6  Elementary Student Teaching Performance Profile: Pedagogical Content Knowledge

Performance Dimensions                                         Performance Indicators

Goal 4: Instructional Strategies               
Candidates: 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 Md.
a1.  Motivates students and introduces objectives 3 2 3 3 3 3 3 3
b1.  Summarizes and evaluates objectives 3 3 2 2 2 2 2 2
c1.  Uses a variety of appropriate materials and resources 3 3 3 3 2 3 3 3
d1.  Allows adequate wait time; paces lessons appropriately 2 3 3 3 2 3 3 3
Uses multiple strategies that promote:                
e1.  critical thinking 2 3 3 3 -- 2 3 3
e2.  problem solving 2 3 3 3 3 2 3 3
e3.  performance capabilities 2 3 3 3 3 2 3 3
e4.  student responsibility for identifying and using resources 2 3 3 3 3 2 3 3
f1.  Motivates and adjusts strategies… 3 3 3 3 2 3 3 3
g1.  Uses appropriate instructional technologies  (TBD)                
Candidate Median                              2 3 3 3 2 2 3 3
Goal 6: Communication
Candidates: 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08
Communicates effectively through:                 
a1.  writing (coherence, grammar, spelling, punctuation) 2 2 2 3 2 2 3 2
a2.  speaking (volume, rate, tone) 2 3 3 2 2 2 3 2
a3.  body language 2 3 3 2 2 2 3 2
a4.  other media 2 3 3 3 2 3 3 3
Supports learner expression in:                
b1.  speaking (student responses)  2 3 3 3 2 3 3 3
b2.  writing 2 2 3 3 2 3 3 3
b3.  other media 2 2 3 3 2 3 3 3
Facilitates discussion to:                
c1.  probe for learner understanding 2 3 3 3 2 3 3 3
c2.  help students articulate ideas 2 3 3 3 2 3 3 3
c3.  promote risk taking and problem-solving 2 2 3 3 2 3 3 3
c4.  stimulate curiosity 2 2 3 3 2 3 3 3
Candidate Median: 2 3 3 3 2 3 3 3

 

Goal 7: Planning Instruction
Candidates: 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 md.
Creates short range and long range plans that:                
a1.  are linked to students needs 2 3 2 3 2 3 3 3
a2.  bridge curriculum and student experiences 3 3 3 3 3 2 3 3
b1.  Designs lessons and activities that operate at multiple levels… 2 3 2 3 2 3 3 3
c1.  Plans instruction using Principles of Effective Instruction (TBD)                
c2.  Evaluates plans in relation to goals (TBD)                
Candidate Median: 2 3 2 3 2 3 3 3

 

Goal 8: Assessment
Candidates:  01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08
Uses varied and appropriate formal and informal assessment:                  
a1.  observation 2 3 2 4 2 2 3 2
a2.  portfolios -- 2 3 4 2 2 3 2
a3.  teacher-made tests 2 3 2 4 2 2 3 2
a4.  performance tasks 2 3 2 4 3 2 3 3
a5.  projects 2 3 2 4 3 2 3 3
a6.  student self-assessments 2 3 2 4 2 2 3 2
a7.  peer assessments 2 3 2 4 -- 2 3 2
a8.  standardized tests -- 3 2 4 -- -- 3 2
b1.  Establishes and maintains student records… 3 3 2 3 3 3 3 3
Implements students’ self-assessment activities to:                
c1.  help them identify their strengths and needs 2 2 2 3 2 2 2 2
c2.  encourage them to set personal goals for learning 2 2 2 3 2 2 2 2
Communicates student progress to :
d1.  students
3 3 2 3 2 3 3 3
d2.  parents/guardians 3 3 3 3 3 3 2 3
d3.  colleagues 2 3 3 3 3 3 3 3
e1.  Selects or constructs assessment techniques appropriate for learning outcomes.  (TBD)                                
Candidate Median: 2 3 2 4 2 2 3 2

Key: 1 - Needs Attention   2 - Basic   3 - Proficient   4 - Distinguished
Rubrics are reproduced in Assessing Candidate Performance (2001). Saint Joseph, MN.: College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University.  

Table III.1.7  Secondary Student Teaching Performance Profile: Pedagogical Content Knowledge

Performance Dimensions                                            Performance Indicators

Goal 4: Instructional Strategies          
Candidates: 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 Md.
4d Enhances students’ learning using a variety of resources 3 3 4 3 2 3 4 3 3
4e Nurtures students’ thinking, problem solving, and performances 2 3 4 3 2 3 4 3 3
4h Uses multiple teaching and learning strategies 3 3 4 3 2 3 4 3 3
Candidate Median: 3 3 4 3 2 3 4 3 3
Goal 6: Communication
Candidates: 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 Md.
6b Understands influence of culture/gender on class communication 3 3 3 3 2 3 4 3 3
6h Uses effective communication strategies 3 3 3 3 2 3 4 3 3
6j Knows how to ask questions to stimulate discussion 2 - 3 2 2 3 4 3 3
Candidate Median: 3 3 3 3 2 3 4 3 3
Goal 7: Planning Instruction
Candidates: 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 Md.
7b Plans instruction to bridge curriculum and students’ experiences 2 3 3 4 2 3 3 3 3
7c Plans instruction reflecting students’ learning / performing modes 2 1 3 4 2 3 3 3 3
7d Creates short and long-range plans tied to students’ needs 2 2 4 4 2 3 3 3 3
7f Designs multi-level lessons that fit students’ learning styles 1 3 3 3 2 3 3 3 3
7h Evaluates plans against goals, adjusting to enhance learning 2 3 3 3 2 3 3 3 3
Candidate Median: 2 3 3 4 2 3 3 3 3
Goal 8: Assessment
Candidates:  01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 Md.
8e Uses assessment techniques appropriate for outcomes & diagnosis 3 2 3 3 3 3 3 3 3
8g Uses variety of formal and informal assessment methods - 2 3 3 3 3 3 3 3
8h Uses assessment data to improve students’ learning 2 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3
8j Uses assessment data to evaluate the effects of class activities 2 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3
Candidate Median: 2 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3

Key: 1 - Needs Attention   2 - Basic   3 - Proficient   4 - Distinguished
Rubrics are reproduced in Assessing Candidate Performance (2001). Saint Joseph, MN.: College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University.  

These summative performance profiles summarize formative reviews to offer a description of elementary and secondary candidates’ pedagogical content knowledge that is generally consistent with the unit’s expectations of novice teachers.  Further refinement of this approach to synthesizing formative assessment data during its field test in the Spring 2001 semester should provide the unit with useful information on candidate performance as revealed during clinical practice.  The scoring guides used to form the judgements of candidates’ formative assessments are included in the Assessing Candidate Performance (2001). 

Element 4: Professional and Pedagogical Knowledge and Skills for Teacher Candidates

Minnesota’s rules for teacher licensure require that approved programs of study and practice offer their candidates’ multiple opportunities to learn, practice, and be assessed on knowledge, skills, and values that reflect a growing base of professional and pedagogical knowledge.  The Minnesota Standards of Effective Practice for Teachers (1999), derived from standards devised by the Interstate New Teacher Assessment and Support Consortium, define a necessary and sufficient foundation of professional and pedagogical knowledge and skills for Minnesota’s novice teachers.  External review by Board of Teaching Staff affirms that our candidates have such opportunities.  The extensive documentation that reveals the role played by these 130 terminal and enabling standards in the unit’s preparation of its elementary and secondary candidates is available for audit. 

How might the unit determine if its “candidates possess the professional and pedagogical knowledge and skills appropriate for their areas of licensure?” (Unit Assessment System, p.21).  Five goals drawn from the unit’s conceptual framework support candidate learning and performance in this area.  We might expect clinical performance to reveal progress toward these goals as candidates draw upon their knowledge of learning and development (Goal 2) and diverse learners (Goal 3) to form and maintain effective learning environments (Goal 5).  Sixteen weeks of work in clinical settings provides some opportunities to observe the effects of candidates’ work toward becoming “reflective practitioners” (Goal 9) through collaboration with their professional colleagues (Goal 10).  In the coming months we will use these goals to pattern summative assessments of candidates’ professional and pedagogical knowledge in field experience performance profiles that examine elements of a modified “work sample” prepared for each methods course.  As Minnesota will require licensure candidates to complete an external examination over such knowledge after 1 September 2001, the unit may be able to derive some information about candidates’ performance from that test (Praxis II: Pedagogy).  Some foundations courses will soon provide summative data derived from formative assessment of opportunities afforded prospective and accepted candidates to affirm their growing professional knowledge in this area.  Student teaching profiles describing performance on dimensions of relevant goals may offer the best source of summative evidence in response to the unit’s assessment question concerning candidate’s professional and pedagogical evidence.  The following two tables summarize candidates’ practice on those dimensions.

Table III.1.8  Elementary Student Teaching Performance Profile: Professional and Pedagogical Content Knowledge

Performance Dimensions                                   Performance Indicators

Goal 2: Student Learning
Candidates: 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 Md.
a1.  Uses students’ strengths as a basis for growth… 2 3 3 3 3 3 3 3
b1.  Elicits samples of students’ thinking as a resource… 2 2 3 2 3 2 3 2
Candidate Median:               2 2.5 3 2.5 3 2.5 3 2.5

 

Goal 3: Diverse Learners                   
Candidates: 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08
Uses teaching approaches that address a variety of:                 
a1.  stages of development 2 3 2 2 2 2 3 2
a2.  learning styles, performance modes 2 3 2 2 2 2 3 2
a3.  strengths, talents 2 3 2 3 2 2 3 2
a4.  needs 2 3 2 3 2 2 3 2
a5.  experiences 2 3 2 2 2 2 3 2
a6.  culture, family 3 3 2 2 2 2 3 2
b1.  Works to develop a learning community in which individual differences are respected 2 2 3 3 2 3 3 3
Candidate Median:   2 3 2 2 2 2 3 2

 

Goal 5: Learning Environment               
Candidates:  01 02  03 04 05 06 07 Md.
a1.  Uses a range of strategies to promote positive relationships 3 3 3 3 3 3 2 3
Designs and manages communities in which students:                
b1.  assume responsibility for themselves and one another 2 3 3 3 2 2 2 2
b2.  participate in decision-making 2 3 3 3 2 2 2 2
Promotes intrinsic motivation by:                
c1.  relating lessons to students’ personal interests 2 2 3 3 2 3 2 2
c2.  allowing students to have choices in learning 2 2 3 3 3 3 2 3
c3.  leading students to ask questions and pursue problems… 2 2 3 3 3 2 2 2
c4.  providing an emotionally safe environment 2 3 3 3 3 3 2 3
To provide safe, active engagement for all students, the teacher organizes, allocates and manages the resources of:                                
d1.  time (transitions) 2 3 2 3 2 3 3 3
d2.  space 2 3 2 3 2 3 3 3
d3.  activities 2 3 3 3 2 3 3 3
d4.  attention 2 3 3 3 2 3 3 3
d5.  physical setting 2 3 2 3 2 3 3 3
d6.  processes for communication 2 3 3 3 2 3 3 3
e1.  Manages independent and group work… 2 3 3 3 3 3 3 3
Candidate Median: 2 3 3 3 2 3 2.5 3

Table III.1.8  Elementary Student Teaching Performance Profile: Professional and Pedagogical Content Knowledge (continued)

  Performance Dimensions                                 Performance Indicators

Goal 9: Reflection and Prof. Dev.        
Candidates: 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 Md.
Uses research, observation, and information about students and results of assessment to:                            
a1.  evaluate outcomes 2 3 2 3 2 4 2 2
a2.  revise practice 2 3 2 3 2 3 3 3
b1.  Uses professional resources and colleagues to support… 2 2 3 2 2 3 3 2
c1.  Demonstrates professionalism in dress and behavior… 2 3 3 3 3 4 3 3
Demonstrates:                
d1.  dependability 2 2 3 3 3 3 3 3
d2.  initiative 2 2 3 2 3 3 3 3
d3.  enthusiasm 2 2 2 2 2 3 3 2
d4.  commitment to professionalism 2 2 2 3 3 3 3 3
d5.  flexibility and open-mindedness 2 2 2 3 3 3 3 3
Candidate Median:   2 2 3 3 3 3 3 3

 

Goal 10: Collaboration, Ethics and Relationships
Candidates:    01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08
Ensures:                 
a1.  confidentiality 2 3 3 3 2 3 3 3
a2.  appropriate treatment of students 2 3 3 3 2 3 3 3
b1.  Collaborates in activities designed for a productive environment 2 3 2 2 2 2 2 2
c1.  Establishes productive relationships… 3 3 3 2 2 2 3 3
Candidate Median: 2 3 3 2.5 2 2.5
3
3

Key: 1 - Needs Attention   2 - Basic   3 - Proficient   4 - Distinguished
Rubrics are provided in Assessing Candidate Performance. (2001). Saint Joseph, MN.: College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University.

Table III.1.9  Secondary Student Teaching Performance Profile: Professional and Pedagogical Content Knowledge

Performance Dimensions                                             Performance Indicators

Goal 2: Student Learning
Candidates: 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 Md.
2a Promotes student learning  3 3 4 4 3 3 4 3 3
2c Understands developmental progressions 3 3 4 4 3 3 4 3 3
2e Designs developmentally appropriate instruction 3 3 4 4 3 3 4 3 3
2f  Provides for learners’ active engagement with ideas/materials 3 3 4 4 3 3 4 3 3
2g Uses student experiences to plan instruction 3 1 4 4 3 3 4 3 3
Candidate Median: 3 3 4 4 3 3 4 3 3

Table III.1.9  Secondary Student Teaching Performance Profile:
Professional and Pedagogical Content Knowledge
(continued)

Performance Dimensions                                             Performance Indicators

Goal 3: Diverse Learners                        
Candidates: 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 Md.
3b Knows areas of exceptionality 3 2 4 3 3 3 3 3 3
3e Knows how student’s characteristics influence learning 3 2 4 3 3 3 3 3 3
3f Understands contributions of diverse groups in society 3 3 4 3 3 3 3 3 3
3k Designs instruction for student’s stage of developmental 3 3 4 3 2 3 3 3 3
3o Use students’ background to connect instruction to students 3 3 4 3 2 3 3 3 3
Candidate Median:     3 3 4 3 3 3 3 3 3

 

Goal 5: Learning Environment                              
  Candidates: 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 Md.
5e Uses a range of class management strategies to promote learning 2 3 3 3 3 3 4 3 3
5k Uses motivational strategies to encourage individual learners 2 3 3 3 3 3 4 3 3
5l  Designs and manages learning communities 2 3 3 2 3 3 4 3 3
5p Sets expectations for student behavior leading to positive climate 2 3 3 3 3 3 4 3 3
Candidate Median:   2 3 3 3 3 3 4 3 3

 

Goal 9:Reflection                                             
Candidates: 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 md.
9e Understands the role of reflection and self-assessment on learning 4 3 4 3 2 3 4 3 3
9g Engages in and supports professional practices 4 3 4 3 2 3 4 3 3
9j Collaborates with colleagues to sustain professional renewal 4 3 4 3 2 3 4 3 3
Candidate Median: 4 3 4 3 2 3 4 3 3

 

Goal 10: Collaboration                                   
Candidates: 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 Md.
10a Understands schools as organizations in a community context 2 3 4 3 3 3 3 3 3
10b Understands how family life influences students’ school learning 2 4 4 3 3 3 3 3 3
10I Consults with parents & professionals to link students experiences - 3 4 3 3 3 3 3 3
10j Uses community resources to foster students’ learning. 2 4 4 3 3 3 3 3 3
Candidate Median: 2 3 4 3 3 3 3 3 3

Key: 1 - Needs Attention   2 - Basic   3 - Proficient   4 - Distinguished
Rubrics are provided in Assessing Candidate Performance. (2001). Saint Joseph, MN.: College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University.

If acquiring and using knowledge of schools and schooling enhances instructional practice, then those elementary and secondary level candidates for whom summative judgements are revealed in the preceding tables would appear to have reached the unit’s expectations for novice teachers.  Refinement of this technique during field testing should increase the usefulness of this information.  Detailed rubrics used by trained assessors to form the judgements reflected in these ratings are included in Assessing Candidate Performance (2001).

Element 5: Dispositions for Teacher Candidates

The unit’s conceptual framework identifies a set of values drawn from the monastic communities that founded our two colleges.  These values are woven throughout the formal and informal experiences that prospective and accepted candidates experience during their preparation for licensure. Recalling that framework, we claim that …

Exemplary teachers embrace the Benedictine values of commitment to service, concern for community, and respect for all persons (deWaal, 1984) and are, therefore, not only knowledgeable and caring, but have a passion for teaching and improving the lives of their students.  This is apparent not only in their enthusiasm for the subject they teach, but also in their commitment to the principle that all decisions and subsequent actions must be in the best interest of their students.  Finally, it is our steadfast belief that effective teachers are active decision-makers who have the courage and self-confidence to take charge of their own classroom rather than operating as technicians who merely implement a prescribed curriculum and decisions made by others. (Conceptual Model, Philosophy, pp. 3-4).

We thus expect that the candidates we prepare as educational decision-makers make reasoned, supported decisions that will encourage the learning of all their students through reflection that is based on “self-evaluation through a critical analysis of decisions and their outcomes” balanced by “moral and ethical reflection to ensure that the decisions were in students’ best interests. (Conceptual Model, Theme, p.3).

In addition to dispositions to action that reflect the unit’s unique set of values, we further expect candidates to choose to behave in ways consistent with the “Code Of Ethics for Minnesota Teachers” as enforced by The Board of Teaching.  Candidates are called to “understand standards of professional conduct” that might guide their practice by a standard included in Minnesota’s Standards of Effective Practice for Teachers (9.k).  Inspection of the unit’s program approval materials would confirm the range of candidates’ opportunities to know, apply, and to be assessed on the features of that code.  

Candidates are further guided in their preparation by the unit’s “Code of ethics for students applying to or accepted to the Education Major/Minor.”  Prospective and accepted candidates for licensure are admonished to exhibit “a strong sense of honesty and integrity in dealing with professional responsibilities” as they demonstrate “an attitude and behaviors that are befitting the role of a prospective teacher” (Code).  The state and unit codes are included in candidates’

Education Department Handbook for their continual consultation, introduced through analysis of case studies during early foundation courses, and recalled in pedagogy and advanced foundations  courses.

Evidence of how dispositions guide behavior is more difficult to acquire.  The fourth assessment question in the Unit Assessment System includes a focus on dispositions that reflect the unit’s framework and which are evident in Minnesota’s standards (p.32).  Responses to that question reflect elementary candidates guided reflections on how they fulfilled key Standards of Effective Practice, a component of their portfolios describing their clinical performance.  Several of its questions encourage an ethical analysis of decisions and the behavior they compel.  Elementary candidates also complete a “family unit” that meaningfully involves parents.  Responses influence ratings reported in candidates’ summative performance profiles.

13: How did you provide information regarding student progress to other students, parents, and colleagues? 

14: How did you demonstrate professionalism in dress, conversation, or other ways? 

15: How did you demonstrate dependability, initiative, enthusiasm, commitment to the profession, flexibility, and keeping an open mind?) 

Secondary student teachers complete a comprehensive “reflective practice summary” in response to ethical issues that may emerge during their clinical practice.  Elements of “professionalism” are included in the summary evaluations of candidates offered by cooperating and supervising teachers.

Given this collection of formative assessments, candidates’ performance profiles offer one useful perspective on the disposition of elementary and secondary candidates to behave as professional educators who are guided by institutional and unit values as well as codes of conduct.

Table III.1.10  Elementary Student Teaching Performance Profile: Dispositions

Performance Dimensions                                                       Performance Indicators

Goals 3, 5, 9, 10: Professional Dispositions  
Candidates:  01 02 03 04 05 06 07 Md.
3b1 Develops learning community respecting individual differences 2 2 3 3 2 3 3 3
5a1 Promotes positive relationships encouraging purposeful learning 3 3 3 3 3 3 2 3
9b1 Supports reflection with professional colleagues and resources 2 2 3 2 2 3 3 2
9c1 Demonstrates professionalism in dress and behavior 2 3 3 3 3 4 3 3
9d1 Demonstrates dependability 2 2 3 3 3 3 3 3
9d2 Demonstrates initiative 2 2 3 3 3 3 3 3
9d3 Demonstrates enthusiasm 2 2 2 2 2 3 3 2
9d4 Commitment to professionalism 2 2 2 3 3 3 3 3
9d5 Flexibility and open-mindedness 2 2 2 3 3 3 3 3
10a1 Ensures confidentiality 2 3 3 3 2 3 3 3
10a2 Ensures appropriate treatment of students 2 3 3 3 2 3 3 3
10c1 Establishes productive relationships with parents/guardians 3 3 3 2 2 2 3 3
 Candidate Median: 2 2 3 3 2.5 3 3 3

Key: 1: Needs Attention  2: Basic  3: Proficient  4: Distinguished  (Source: Assessing Candidate Performance (2001).  Please refer to this document for scoring guides used with each indicator.) 
Table III.1.11  Secondary Student Teaching Performance Profile: Dispositions

Performance Dimensions                                                                Performance Indicators

Goal 9:
Candidates: 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 Md.
9e Understands the role of reflection and self-assessment on learning 4 3 4 3 2 3 4 3 3
9g Engages in and supports professional practices 4 3 4 3 2 3 4 3 3
9j Collaborates with colleagues to sustain professional renewal 4 3 4 3 2 3 4 3 3
Candidate Median: 4 3 4 3 2 3 4 3 3

Key: 1: Needs Attention 2: Basic 3: Proficient 4: Distinguished  (Source: Assessing Candidate Performance (2001).  Please see this document for scoring guides used for each indicator.)

Given the difficulty of ascribing actions to particular values or attitudes, inferences from clusters of performance indicators suggest that elementary and secondary candidates in these pilot groups may have acquired those values.  Their behavior and their reflection on that behavior suggests that at least some of what the unit expects of its candidates was present.  Work on identifying indicators for the Benedictine values espoused in the unit’s philosophy seems a reasonable task for the next iteration of elementary and secondary level performance profiles.  Consult Assessing Candidate Performance to review the scoring guides used to offer ratings on these dimensions of candidates’ dispositions.

Element 6: Student Learning for Teacher Candidates

Candidates prepared for licensure must possess the academic skills to acquire and integrate a body of content, professional, and pedagogical knowledge, skills, and values.  If, through the units’ program of study and practice, they should reach that end, can these candidates draw upon this fund of integrated knowledge and experience to teach others?  To expect that they can do so is consistent with the unit’s philosophy and mission.  If indeed “all students can learn…in different ways and at different rates,” then candidates for licensure must “use their content knowledge, pedagogical skills, and understanding of their students to make informed and ethical classroom decisions that foster their students’ learning (Conceptual Model, p.3, 4).    

Such an outcome is expected of teacher preparation programs approved by Minnesota’s Board of Teaching.  That agency anticipates that “candidates integrate general, content, professional, and pedagogical studies as measured by teacher performance and performance of the students they teach” (Minnesota Rules: Institutional Program Approval: 8700.7600.B.4 1999).  The influence of candidates’ work on their students’ learning is implied in standards advanced by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education, anticipating that a program’s “teacher candidates…have a positive effect on learning for all students (Professional Standards, p.16).  Such expectations seem to reflect “common sense”, as the folk maxim that asserts “if the student has not learned, the teacher has not taught” would suggest.  

Candidates completing their student teaching experiences in the Fall 2001 semester will follow a more explicit model for planning, gathering, analyzing, and reporting their students’ learning before, during, and at the conclusion of the units and lessons they teach.  That model will be based on the “work samples” developed at Western Oregon University.  The unit’s approach to the form of such work samples and their introduction as a part of candidates’ clinical experiences will be refined during the Spring 2001 semester.  Table III.1.12 reveals some of its dimensions.

Following the introduction of work samples as an element of candidates’ student teaching portfolios, the technique will be further adapted and introduced as part of the field experiences included in methods courses.  Since the duration of those experiences and the opportunities available for teaching differ according to the plan of the course, some adjustment in the design of the samples will be required.  Candidates enrolled in methods courses during the spring semester, 2002 will have the first opportunity to use a modified work sample to describe their students’ learning.  

Findings.  Candidates completing student teaching prepare extensive portfolios that include lessons, units, instructional materials, observations of their work, and evidence of their students’ learning describing their performance in each of two school settings.  At present candidates collect and report such information in a variety of ways.  All document their K-12 students’ learning, but in ways that cannot be easily summarized across all elementary and secondary candidates.  Inspection of candidates’ student teaching portfolios will confirm their intentions to affirm the success of their teaching by examining students’ performance.  Inspection of those documents will also disclose the varied ways in which that affirmation is advanced.  An audit of elementary level candidates’ student teaching portfolios reveals the following elements in their unit assessments.

III.1.12 Audit of Elementary Level Clinical Teaching Portfolios: Student Learning 

Performance Dimensions                                       Performance Indicators

Elementary Candidates   1   2   3   4   5   6   7
Assessment of students' prior learning   Y    Y   N   Y   Y   Y   Y
Description of assessments   Y   Y   Y   Y   Y   Y   Y
Number of methods used   3   4   3   5   3   3   3
Scoring guides devised for assessment methods   Y   Y   Y   Y   Y   Y   Y
Students' goals for the unit   Y   Y   Y   Y   Y   Y   Y
Students' evaluation of their learning   Y   Y   Y   Y   Y   Y   Y
Students' evaluation of the unit   Y   Y   Y   Y   Y   Y   Y
Examples of assessments as completed by students   Y   Y   N   Y   Y   Y   Y
Individual student assessment results (3 individuals)   Y   Y   Y   Y   Y   Y   Y
Overall class assessment results   Y   Y   Y   Y   Y   Y   Y
Recommended remedial options   Y   Y   Y   Y   Y   Y   Y
Recording students' progress   Y   Y   Y   Y   Y   Y   Y
Candidate interpretation of assessment results        Y   Y   Y   Y   Y   Y   Y
Candidates' overall evaluation of the unit   Y   Y   Y   Y   Y   Y   Y
Pre-Instruction/Post-Instruction Assessment   N   N   N   N   N   N   N
Probable Confirmation of K-12 Student Learning   Y   Y   Y   Y   Y   Y   Y


Table III.1.12 reveals that while most of the elements we might expect to see in an assessment of students’ learning are evident, only one of the seven candidates in this pilot group offered a meaningful record of each students’ performance on each assessment developed for their units.  Since most candidates reported using a computer managed grading system to record unit scores for each student, adding this element seems feasible.  Candidates’ analyses of assessment results, while offered for their classes as a whole, does not often indicate the success experienced by each of the students in those classes.  Elementary candidates are encouraged to select and review the experiences of at least three of their students to provide the basis for a detailed review of their units’ design.

Student teaching performance profiles describing the work of candidates in clinical settings can be used to describe candidate’s success in arranging the conditions that will enhance the possibility that student learning will occur.  As such, the profiles offer a useful but indirect measure of candidates’ ability to “make informed and ethical classroom decisions that foster their students’ learning” (Conceptual Model)

Table III.1.13  Elementary Student Teaching Performance Profile: Student Learning

Performance Dimensions                                              Performance Indicators

Goals 2, 9: Fostering Learning
Candidates: 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08
b1 Elicits samples of students’ learning  2 2 3 2 3 2 3 2
9a1 Uses results of assessment to evaluate outcomes of instruction 2 3 2 3 2 3 3 3
9a2 Uses results of assessment to revise instruction 2 3 2 3 2 3 3 3
Candidate Median: 2 3 2 3 2 3 3 3

Key: 1: Needs Attention     2: Basic     3: Proficient     4: Distinguished  (Source: Assessing Candidate Performance (2001).  Please refer to this document for scoring guides used with each indicator.)

Table III.1.14  Secondary Student Teaching Performance Profile: Student Learning

Performance Dimensions                                              Performance Indicators

Goal 2, 8: Fostering Learning              
Candidates: 
01
02
03
04
05
06
07
08
Md.
2a Promotes student learning
3
3
4
4
3
3
4
3
3
2e Designs developmentally appropriate instruction
3
3
4
4
3
3
4
3
3
2f  Provides for learners’ active engagement with ideas/materials
3
3
4
4
3
3
4
3
3
2g Uses student experiences to plan instruction
3
1
4
4
3
3
4
3
3
8h Uses assessment data to improve students’ learning
2
3
3
3
3
3
3
3
3
8j Uses assessment data to evaluate the effects of class activities
2
3
3
3
3
3
3
3
3
Candidate Median:  
3
3
4
4
3
3
4
3
3

Key: 1: Needs Attention     2: Basic     3: Proficient     4: Distinguished  (Source: Assessing Candidate Performance (2001).  Please refer to this document for scoring guides used with each indicator.)

On the whole, candidates’ performance profiles suggest that most successfully arranged conditions which might lead to their students’ learning.  Inspection of portfolios confirms this finding.  Analysis of secondary candidates’ portfolios, despite flaws in documentation, confirms that most were able to “foster their students’ learning.”  Moving toward a more formal “work sample” approach to documenting secondary candidates’ effects on their students seems likely to resolve this deficiency.  Indicators that form the performance profiles for elementary and secondary candidates confirm that, on the basis of the formative evidence they summarize, this pilot group has acquired and can employ the knowledge, skills, and values required by the unit of its novice teachers.

References

Academic profile performance. (2001). Saint Joseph, MN:  College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University, Education Department.

Assessing candidate performance. (2001). Saint Joseph, MN:  College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University, Education Department.

Code of ethics for students applying to or accepted to the education major/minor. (undated). Saint Joseph, MN:  College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University, Education Department.

de Waal, E. (1984). Seeking God: The way of Saint Benedict.  Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press.

Eisner, E. W. (1999) The uses and limits of performance assessment. Phi Delta Kappan, 9, 658-660.

Minnesota rules: Minnesota standards of effective practice for teachers (1999).  Roseville, MN: Department of Families, Children, and Learning, Minnesota Board of Teaching. http://www.revisor.leg.state.mn.us/arule/8710/2000.html

Minnesota rules: Institutional program approval: 8700.7600.B.4 (1999).  Roseville, MN: Department of Families, Children, and Learning, Minnesota Board of Teaching. http://cfl.state.mn.us/teachbrd/rd2873_toc.html

Professional standards for the accreditation of schools, colleges, and departments of education. (2001).  Washington, DC: National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education.

Unit assessment system.  (2001). Saint Joseph, MN.:  College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University, Education Department.