The College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University Education Department
National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education
1 November 2000
21 April 2001
2 December 2002
1 October 2003
1 March 2004
David F. Leitzman
Director of Teacher Education
NCATE / MBOT Accreditation Coordinator
College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University
37 South College Avenue
Saint Joseph, Minnesota 56374
2000 Annual Report
Section A. Conceptual Framework
Extensive revision of the conceptual framework guiding our preparation of prospective educators, begun more than a year ago, is now complete. While we retained as our theme “Teacher as Decision Maker,” all other elements of the framework were revised or created anew. All of our faculty members collaborated on a clarification of our aim, mission and philosophy. All supported our integration of the Minnesota Standards of Effective Practice for Teachers, modeled on the ten INTASC principles, into our framework as our program’s goals. We concluded our revision of this framework by developing an extensive knowledge base that organizes a wide range of research and practice in support of each of our ten program goals. Informing the design of our courses and field experiences, this strengthened framework focuses our efforts “to prepare exemplary teachers who have a strong liberal arts background, exemplify Benedictine values, and make professional decisions which help all students achieve their full potential as persons and as responsible world citizens in a democratic society.” Other revisions of our program as well as new components noted elsewhere in this brief report drew their direction from this revitalized framework.
Section B. Candidate Performance:
Standard 1. Candidate Knowledge, Skill and Dispositions
Three important projects completed this summer will significantly enhance the preparation and performance of candidates preparing for teaching. Guided by the tenets of our conceptual framework, we completed a technology plan this summer that will help us prepare prospective educators “who have the knowledge and skills to make decisions for using technology to most effectively help all students achieve their full potential as persons and as responsible world citizens in a democratic society.” We have proposed the pursuit of seven program outcomes in technology, guided by national technology standards, to help students reach this aim.
Once implemented, this plan should provide more opportunities for our teacher candidates to acquire a stronger foundation of knowledge and skill that will enable them to determine how to best use available technological resources to help all their students learn.
This past summer we formed a team from our faculty and area P-12 teachers to review portfolios completed by 35 elementary/middle level student teachers recommended for licensure. From the wealth of information assembled by these students, this team first examined a unit of instruction, a video recording of one lesson from that unit, a project developed by student teachers to involve families in the education of their children, and a reflective analysis of the student teaching experience. In doing so they sought evidence of performance described or implied by the 118 terminal and enabling Minnesota Standards of Effective Practice for Teachers.
Their analysis led them to fashion an elementary/middle level performance profile focused on a logically reduced set of standards drawn from that larger body. Elements of that profile include performance criteria for each of 29 enabling standards supported by examples drawn from candidates’ work which illustrate those criteria. Working with the unit and reflective analysis prepared by each student, this team then used their profile to describe the performance of the 35 student teachers in this sample. While the found evidence for all enabling standards, the team concluded that some of those standards may not have been given sufficient emphasis in the design of student’s portfolios to affirm their influence on candidates’ performance.
This project lead to the development of a common set of scoring guides to be used by the student teacher, her or his cooperating teacher, and the Colleges’ supervising teacher to focus performance reviews during the 16 week student teaching experience. The team also recommended revisions in candidates’ documentation of their student teaching experience, including requiring evidence that each candidate designed and taught lessons within a unit that encouraged learning in his or her elementary and middle level students.
We formed a second team from our faculty and area P-12 teachers to follow a similar process focused on describing the performance of student teachers at the secondary/middle level of licensure. This team also reviewed information included in the portfolios of students who completed their student teaching experience during the Spring 2000 semester. They too devised a set of scoring guides that form the basis for a secondary/middle level performance profile. That profile logically connects clusters of enabling standards to form ten terminal standards patterned after the ten goals that form the core of our conceptual framework. Candidates can use these terminal performance standards to assess and reflect on their performance at critical points during their student teaching experience. Cooperating teachers and the Colleges’ supervising teachers can use these same terminal standards to focus their judgments of a candidate’s performance during student teaching.
As we gain experience with the use of these performance profiles and the analysis of the information which supports judgments drawn from their use, we expect to use versions of them to describe student’s performance during their content-based methods courses and during their pre-acceptance clinical experiences.
Standard 2. Assessment System and Unit Evaluation.
We have revised our program assessment plan in response to significant changes in our conceptual model. Four broad questions serve to focus our review of candidates’ attainment of institutional, state, and professional standards.
We gather and assess information in response to the first of those four questions, “Does the candidate possess the basic academic skills that will sustain learning during our program of study?” early in students’ work with us. Students enjoy several opportunities to assess their written, oral, and nonverbal communication skills in a variety of settings as they progress through their program of preparation for licensure. Their use of these skills is examined prior to their acceptance by the department and documented during their work in our “foundation” courses.
The second question, “Does the candidate possess an integrated body of knowledge, skills, and values drawn from one or more disciplines central to his or her area of licensure?” focuses our attention on candidates’ success in gathering and organizing the “subject matter” they are preparing to teach. Information responding to this question often comes from their performance on national, state, and institutional standards embedded in the courses and other experiences. An initial response to this question begins with our confirmation, through consultation with college faculty and through review of the documentation those faculty provide, that candidates enjoy opportunities to know, to apply, and to be assessed on the knowledge, skills, and values deemed appropriate for their area of licensure.
A more comprehensive response to this question reflects our continuing examination of the candidate’s performance in those courses or other learning experiences appropriate for her or his area of licensure. Review of a candidate’s performance provides evidence of the how he or she responds to opportunities to learn and to be assessed on relevant “subject matter” standards. We use a family of related indicators, some embedded in courses completed by prospective educators and others external to their coursework, to reveal a candidate’s integrated understanding of the knowledge, skills, and values that form a discipline or area of practice.
The third question guides our assessment of teaching skills. Does the candidate possess pedagogical knowledge, skills, and values appropriate for her or his area of licensure?
All courses and field experiences included in our teacher preparation program provide prospective teachers with opportunities to learn, apply and to be assessed on their attainment of the 118 enabling and terminal Minnesota Standards of Effective Practice for Teachers. These standards together describe a necessary and sufficient set of teaching knowledge and skills for those who would be licensed as elementary, middle, or high school teachers in Minnesota. Students’ reveal their use of these opportunities through evidence of their attainment of standards embedded in foundation courses, in their pre-acceptance field experiences, in their pedagogy courses and practica appropriate for their area of licensure, and in their student teaching experiences.
One of those indicators is a form of “work sample” developed by each student during her or his pedagogy course its related practicum. The sample includes the plan (aims, goals, and objectives) for a hypothetical “unit” of several “lessons.” Candidates teach at least one of those lessons to students in the age group included within the scope of the license they seek. Each such sample includes an estimate of learners’ prior knowledge, documentation of planning and executing instruction, an assessment of students’ learning following instruction, and the candidate’s reflective analysis of the experience with a focus on how to strengthen learning.
Methods instructors use a variation of the performance profiles devised by elementary/middle level and secondary/middle level student teaching to judge candidates’ work samples.
The fourth question provides a summative focus for our review of students’ performance. Can the candidate teach the knowledge and skills from her or his area of licensure to others? Opportunities to perform that are included in student teaching provide a comprehensive estimate of the candidate’s emerging pedagogical knowledge and skills. This sixteen-week experience also affirms the extent to which candidates have successfully integrated the fund of knowledge, skills, and values that will support their work with students during this extended internship. All candidates plan a unit (aims, goals, objectives, plausible learning activities and feasible assessment techniques) for the students and subject matter that falls within their area of licensure. Following the plan of a “work sample” developed in their methods courses, candidates develop several lessons from that unit, include estimates of their students’ prior learning, a plan of instruction, an estimate of their students’ learning at the close of the lesson or set of lessons, and a reflective analysis of their effectiveness as teachers.
Examples of work completed by the candidates’ students during the lessons that form this unit are included in their portfolios. Reflective analysis of that experience completed by the candidate, by the cooperating teacher, and by the supervising teacher follow a performance assessment tied to terminal and enabling standards logically derived from the set of the Minnesota Standards for Effective Practice. Guided by relevant subject matter and pedagogical standards, we review candidates’ performance in light of indicators of relevant subject matter and pedagogical standards to recommend candidates for licensure.
Section C: Unit Capacity
Standard 3. Field Experiences and Clinical Practice.
Although our response to other standards include activities that will improve the quality and focus of field experiences for our candidates, our work on developing a useful partnership plan will helping us strengthen those experiences through formal relationships with elementary, middle, and high schools in our area. The alliances that emerge through this plan will reflect our conceptual model as well as the mission of our two colleges. We have worked over the past year with teachers and administrators in schools serving as our informal partners to develop and implement our approach to professional partnerships with area schools.
We are now developing formal relationships with schools on three levels. We invite formal partnerships with P-12 schools that can enhance the quality and diversity of the field experiences we offer our students. Negotiations are nearing completion with four such schools as we search for mutually beneficial ways to enhance our respective missions through collaboration. These partner schools have strong representation on our Teacher Education Advisory Council (TEAC), an advisory and consultative body that shares responsibility for the design of our program with us.
When other area schools are interested in negotiating a partnership with our program, we respond to their interest with caution until we can assure a balance between our respective resources and needs. In doing so, we may negotiate less demanding cooperative companionships as we learn more about the faculty, administrators, and students in a cooperative school. The cooperative ventures with schools or with programs within schools tend to be less intense and may focus on only one or two areas of mutual interest.
We are learning to look more carefully within our own colleges to uncover opportunities for our students that can focus existing resources to meet our needs as well as those of such programs. We thus have explicit but less formal networking relationships with programs such as “Fast Forward”, a Chicano-Latino-Hispano outreach program sponsored by the colleges’ admissions office, in which prospective education students can tutor children in nearby middle schools who have cultural roots in Central or South America. Our networking relationship with “America Reads” provides the talents of three of our faculty who serve on the area Advisory Council. This network program supports efforts of children enrolled in some of our partnership and cooperative schools to read with the help of candidates enrolled in our program.
Drawing on the expertise of our TEAC members, we are exploring with our partner and cooperative schools ways in which we might help with their growing needs for staff development. We are discussing ways we might help them recruit new teachers, retain teachers in their first three years of practice, and renew the practice of more experienced teachers. We are also looking at how we might share our experiences in designing standards-based learning activities with schools that must reform their clock-hour staff development programs to standards-based programs to meet changes in Minnesota’s continuing licensure of experienced teachers.
Standard 4. Diversity.
We completed the design phase of our diversity plan with its acceptance by our faculty. Reflecting our conceptual model and our commitment to prepare teachers who can help all students learn, this new plan will help us work toward six goals and their related objectives.
Develop a diversity focus in the early foundations of education block that will…
Increase candidates’ clinical experiences in classrooms with diverse populations to...
Increase diversity among faculty and students in our program by…
Ensure more pluralistic thinking among students and faculty in our program by…
Increase Education Department faculty and staff knowledge about minority groups and their cultures by…
Learn about and use pedagogies that give all learners opportunities to learn by...
We are now ready to begin the first implementation phase for this ambitious plan with its focus on revising the first courses in a prospective educator’s preparation program. Subsequent phases leading toward full implementation will continue during the next three years.
Standard 5. Faculty Qualifications, Performance, and Development
Aside from the growth and renewal experienced by all faculty who shared in the projects noted in this report, few significant changes have occurred in the qualifications, performance, and development of our faculty. We welcomed Ms. Marian Johnson, a very experienced middle level mathematics instructor on leave from her district, to our ranks this fall. She will offer mathematics methods courses no longer taught by Brother Doug Mullin, OSB, who is completing his first year as our chairperson.
Standard 6. Unit Governance and Resources.
We continue to enjoy adequate human, fiscal, and physical resources to accomplish our mission. While we drew upon our own resources of time and energy to support the enormous cost of program approval as we converted to a standards-based program over the past two years, our Colleges provided significant financial support for duplicating and binding the documentation of that effort. More importantly, our Colleges also provided money to support faculty and staff working this summer on NCATE 2000 tasks.
Additional Changes in the Unit:
On the whole, the unit’s full and part-time faculty are again working as a team in pursuit of a common mission. With their concerns about the unit’s leadership resolved, they have successfully invested a considerable amount of time and effort to secure approval of their program by the State of Minnesota’s Board of Teaching, this state’s teacher licensing authority. Accepting significant institutional support for summer work, all invested some portion of their summer in one or more projects supporting our “piloting” of the NCATE 2000 standards.
1 November 2000
2001 Annual Report
The Unit’s 2001 Institutional Report served as its annual report for that year. That 21 April 2001 report is available at http://www.csbsju.edu/education/ncate2001/default.htm.
2002 Annual Report
Section A: Conceptual Framework
Our conceptual framework continues to helpfully guide our efforts to prepare teachers who practice informed, intentional, reflective decision-making as they guide their students’ learning. An integrated knowledge base provides a foundation of empirical research and practical wisdom to help us develop exemplary teachers who integrate their liberal arts education and their professional preparation within a context of Benedictine values. In this way our candidates are prepared to help all their students reach their full potential as persons and as responsible world citizens in a democratic society. Our candidates’ experiences during and after their study with us suggests that we are reaching toward this aim.
Standard 1: Candidate Knowledge, Skills, and Dispositions.
Information provided by our Unit Assessment System continues to confirm that candidates prepared for licensure by Minnesota’s Board of Teaching are meeting or exceeding requirements set by that agency as well as our own. Our assessment of candidate’s performance, shaped by Minnesota’s Standards of Effective Practice, reveals increasing knowledge and pedagogical skill at each phase of their preparation.
Minnesota introduced the use of Praxis II examinations during the previous year for all who would be licensed. Given our candidates’ experiences with content and pedagogy tests required of them, we expect that all prepared for licensure will achieve passing scores on these performance indicators.
Standard 2: Program Assessment and Unit Capacity
Refinement of our Unit Assessment System continues with the introduction of a new standards-based questionnaire that will help us gather opinions from those completing their preparation for licensure. A related version will later be used to collect impressions of recent graduates and their supervisors. Information shared with us through the completion of this questionnaire will be linked to Minnesota’s standards guiding preparation for professional practice.
With Minnesota’s expectation that all candidates will have successfully completed both Praxis I and Praxis II examinations appropriate for their area of practice upon applying for licensure, we are exploring the possibility of using Praxis I performance to identify those who might profit from developmental experiences in basic academic skills. At present we require completion of the Academic Profile to provide information that could guide a prospective candidate toward needed developmental work prior to acceptance by the Unit. Our exploratory study of students’ performance on both the Praxis I and our examination may enable us to discontinue the Academic Profile, thus reducing the cost and stress experienced by our prospective candidates.
Work continues toward a simplified performance profile describing anticipated outcomes of candidates’ student teaching experiences. While the pilot version of the profile offered helpful descriptions of candidates’ attainment of key standards, those completing the instrumentation required for these profiles found the process to be not only very comprehensive but also very burdensome.
Standard 3: Field Experiences and Clinical Practice
Our work to expand partnerships with area schools continued this past year with the development of a new science education partnership formed with Holdingford Elementary School located in Holdingford, Minnesota. Curriculum materials used by Holdingford’s teachers were purchased by the Unit for use by those of its candidates who will enjoy clinical experiences in that school.
In this past year our partnership with South Jr. High, Saint Cloud, was extended to include an interdisciplinary "culture day." Thus far our middle level candidates, guided by Unit faculty and South Junior High teachers, have prepared and offered a "Muslim Heritage Day" and a "China Day" for students from that middle school. Participating students come to our campus for a full morning of active learning activities designed by pre-teachers as a practicum experience. While this project began as a way to support gifted and talented students at South, its success has encouraged the participation of a wider range of students from that school..
As Minnesota’s school population includes ever greater numbers of more diverse learners, our candidates enjoy more opportunities for work with them in a variety of field and clinical practice experiences. Our formation of an evolving relationship with Risen Christ, a parochial school in South Minneapolis enrolling a very diverse population of elementary age children, strengthens our candidates’ early classroom experiences as it offers them opportunities to serve in settings where the majority of learners come from racial, cultural, or ethnic backgrounds very different from their own.
We are also encouraging our candidates to complete their clinical and field experiences in innovative educational settings. During this semester two candidates invested one-half of their sixteen week student teaching fieldwork with the Chiron Charter School. Sponsored by the Minneapolis Public Schools, Chiron is located in a downtown Minneapolis office building. As this is Chiron Charter School's first year, our candidates had the opportunity to be involved in the school’s formation. At present Chiron enrolls approximately 150 students in grades 6, 7, 8 from the racially diverse area of North Minneapolis. While Chiron’s students reveal a wide range of academic abilities, the majority score in the lower range on mathematics and reading. Many students come from low income homes. A merit pay system offers faculty additional salary on the basis individual students’ improved test scores. Guided by the school’s principal and cooperating teachers, our candidates experienced the professional challenges and opportunities associated with the formation of a charter school.
Standard 4: Diversity
As they concluded their accreditation visit in April of 2001, our Board of Examiners identified candidates’ “insufficient experiences with diverse faculty, candidates, and student populations” as a weakness in our efforts to meet this standard. Since their visit we have continued to expand the number and range of clinical opportunities during which our candidates work with diverse K-12 students and their teachers. Following the general outline of our Unit Diversity Plan, those of our colleagues who serve as members of our Diversity Committee guided our incorporation of significant curricular changes to help us respond to this weakness.
From September of 2001 to the present, this group has…
One of the highlights of these several efforts to strengthen the preparation of our candidates for teaching diverse learners was the opportunity for the Unit’s staff to participate in a program of faculty development focused on increasing our understanding of the needs and challenges that such learners bring to K-12 classrooms. We received $4,500.00 of our Colleges’ faculty development funds to support three days of in-service activities. Twelve faculty and staff spent 14 May 2002 observing and participating in classroom instruction at Risen Christ Elementary in Minneapolis. Our visit helped lay the foundation for an evolving partnership with this K-8 parochial school and its very diverse student body.
Most of the Unit’s faculty and staff followed this visit with participation in a joint faculty development workshop held with Risen Christ staff on 10 and 11 June 2002. The first day, guided by Dr. Valeria Valeria Silva, Director of ESL in St. Paul Schools, helped us understand the role that ESL/ELL instruction can play in the education of students having limited English proficiency. The second day, planned by Minneapolis diversity training consultant, Mr. Ron Adderly, helped our combined staff better understand economic, cultural, and racial prejudice that our students might experience.
Opportunities to enrich our understanding of how best to meet the needs of diverse learners will continue in the spring of 2003. A second faculty development grant of $2000.00 from our colleges will enable Unit faculty to visit our colleagues at Risen Christ for another workshop focused on a mutually beneficial diversity topic.
A second highlight of our efforts to strengthen candidates’ preparation for teaching diverse learners involved the development of a new experience and a related change in the sequencing of their early foundation coursework. Although student diversity has increased from a scant average 3% to about 13% in schools where many of our candidates complete their field and clinical experiences, it was still possible for some of those candidates to complete all program requirements without encountering ethnically, racially, or culturally diverse learners common in many urban classrooms. Responding to this problem, the Diversity Committee proposed a “Foundations Block” for all elementary candidates.
Candidates enrolled in this set of common experiences complete a prescribed set of foundations classes during their education “block” semester. Their course schedule is arranged to enable candidates to spend one week of their 16 week semester observing and serving as classroom aides at Risen Christ Elementary School, where 80% of its K-8 students have a racially, culturally, or ethnically diverse background. The block includes one new course, “Introduction to Diversity,” which prepares candidates for this experience, then offers an opportunity for those candidates to explore their impressions of their week in a different world than most have known. Thirteen candidates completed the first iteration of the block this fall, with as many as 30 planning to do so in the spring 2003 semester. This 18-credit block includes the following courses:
The thirteen prospective candidates who completed the first block semester were positively disposed toward their Risen Christ field experience. Most urged that it become a two week residency. While we do not yet have all evaluation data in hand from Risen Christ staff, what we do have is uniformly positive and enthusiastic. Some suggested that students and staff might benefit from a more formal “exit” experience at the end of the week. Others noted a need for a clearer idea of what roles we expect our prospective candidates to play in their classrooms.
Work is underway at present to provide similar opportunities for secondary and K-12 candidates to have exposure to diverse urban populations. Because secondary and K-12 candidates, unlike those of their peers seeking elementary level licensure have a much wider range of course experiences, we have been unable to place them in a common “block” semester to provide them with a multicultural immersion. We have, nonetheless, developed a substantial list of field experience options that will fit the course schedules of most secondary and K-12 candidates. These experiences will help them discover some of the dimensions of teaching in diverse urban classrooms. This requirement will be implemented with the fall 2003 semester.
To document all candidates’ field experiences in diverse urban settings, the Unit’s Diversity Committee, in conjunction with the colleges’ Information Services, has developed an “electronic transcript”. All candidates assume responsibility, beginning in their first year of pre-acceptance foundation study, to electronically record all experiences they might have that relate to teaching diverse learners. This program requires candidates to identify the school or agency where a field experience was completed and the number of hours involved. In addition, candidates identify the populations they served (ESL/ELL, Racial or Cultural Identity, Special Learning Needs). Finally, the program requires that each practicum population be identified as urban or rural. The program is designed to allow designated department personnel to capture program data regarding diversity experiences as well as general information about their field experiences for further analysis.
Standard 5: Faculty Qualifications
During its spring 2001 visit our Board of Examiners found that while the Unit’s faculty were engaged in a variety of helpful and productive developmental activities, “active engagement and recent scholarly excellence at the regional and national levels are inadequate among the faculty as a whole.” While as a liberal arts college we place a premium on the investment of faculty time in effective teaching and advising of our students, we recognize the value in sharing and testing our work in larger communities of scholarship and practice. We have begun to strengthen our efforts in this area.
Standard 6: Unit Governance and Resources
The Unit continues to enjoy adequate resources to accomplish its mission. The close of this spring semester will also mark the close of Brother Doug Mullin’s term as Chairperson of our Department and as Head of the Unit. The Department selected Sister Ann Marie Biermaier to fill that role beginning with the fall 2003 semester.
Submitted: 2 December 2002
2003 Annual Report
Our conceptual framework continues to guide our work with young women and men who seek to become teachers whose informed, intentional, and reflective decision-making will guide their K-12 students’ learning. In the spring of 2004 we will begin another round of review of our framework as a prelude to our preparation for NCATE and Board of Teaching program review in the fall of 2005.
We continue to draw upon our knowledge base of empirical research integrated with practical wisdom to guide our work with our candidates. Pending the outcome of our conversations on the role and value of our conceptual framework, we anticipate extensive revision of that knowledge base during the summer of 2004.
Standard 1: Candidate Knowledge, Skills, and Dispositions.
Assessments embedded in courses and structured clinical experiences indicate that most candidates acquire the knowledge, skills, and values that will serve as their foundation for successful student teaching in field settings. Analyses of candidates’ work samples prepared during their student teaching experiences continue to confirm their successful encouragement of their students’ learning. An ongoing study of novice “teachers of promise,” nominated by their faculty mentors who serve our K-12 partner schools, reveals growth in knowledge, teaching skills, and professional judgment consistent with the broad dimensions of our program.
Minnesota’s second year of Praxis II testing found all but two of our 67 “program completers” meeting or exceeding state standards for knowledge of their field of licensure and knowledge of pedagogy. All program completers found to have academic skill deficiencies early in their preparation were able to resolve them so as to complete Praxis I and our requirements.
We have corrected a weakness in the design of our language arts licensure for elementary candidates seeking a middle level (grades 5 to 8) specialty in that area by restructuring its design to incorporate more substantial work in speech communication, composition, and adolescent literature. Work continues on the design of an ESL/ELL specialty that candidates could add to their licensure.
We have opened negotiations with representatives from Intel’s “Teacher to the Future” curricular initiative. This approach to integrating instructional technology at all levels of our program may provide opportunities to build on our strengths in this area. While limitations of this program may hinder our full participation, we foresee an attractive model that might shape our and our candidates’ uses of instructional and information technology.
Standard 2: Assessment System and Unit Evaluation.
Refinement of our unit’s assessment system continues, although at a slower than expected pace which has delayed the full implementation of our performance database. The practical demands of coding, recording, and using multiple indicators for each of Minnesota’s 140 Standards of Effective Practice encouraged the introduction of technological innovations that could ease this burden. Pilot testing of the MVal behavioral analysis system, software for hand-held computers linked to Minnesota’s standards, offers a promising alternative to manually recording and entering information in candidates’ performance profiles.
Screening of prospective candidates’ academic skills continues. A review of candidates’ entry test results found that scores on Praxis I and ACT sub-tests correlated with Academic Profile performance levels, encouraging the use of either of these two indicators as an alternative to the Profile. We have thus reduced by one the number of examinations completed by prospective candidates while continuing to help those with deficient skills select and complete needed developmental opportunities. We continue to assess writing performance for those who seek preparation for licensure through our program, encouraging development of needed skills for those whose performance falls below our expectation.
Section C: Unit Capacity.
Standard 3: Field Experiences and Clinical Practice.
Our efforts to initiate and maintain productive partnerships with elementary and secondary schools continue to provide our candidates with useful opportunities to observe, shape, and refine through practice those skills and values that will prove fundamental to their teaching practice. These experiences begin in their first semester of “foundations,” continue through their acceptance as candidates in their second or third year of study, and conclude with 16 weeks of student teaching in two school settings.
While partnerships with nearby schools are essential for short term clinical work, and while more of our nearby partner schools are enrolling an ever more diverse population of learners as our larger community becomes more diverse, our work with inner city Minneapolis schools continues to offer our students exciting experiences in very diverse settings. These efforts respond to one student’s view that, “watching how other teachers do things gives me greater confidence to try them myself.” Added another, “you can only learn so much by being told how to do it. I need to see how it’s done before I can do it.”
Prospective elementary candidates in their first year of study join with their peers for a one week immersion in a school enrolling more than 80% non-white k-8 students. Reviewing her experiences in this setting, one first year student noted that, “Risen Christ was totally different from what I expected. I have never been in so diverse a school site as I was there. It was so different from my own small town school experience.”
Another, completing her review of the same experience, found that, “Risen Christ seems so limited in the resources they have. There’s no ESL/ELL teacher to go to. But their kids’ needs are met. Their teachers have to know how to make up the difference in resources. I found it frustrating at times, but it was a realistic experience that helps me realize what I have to prepare for.”
Building on the success of this elementary “block,” we are at work on revising a cluster of five courses to form a “mini-block” for prospective secondary level candidates so that they might have an opportunity to experience outcomes similar to those enjoyed by elementary candidates.
Standard 4: Diversity.
Areas of Improvement related to Standard 4 cited as a result of the last NCATE review: Candidate experiences with diverse faculty, candidates, and student populations are limited.
We continue to revise and refine our program so that we can provide every candidate with meaningful opportunities to observe and teach children from diverse racial, economic, cultural, and ethnic backgrounds. Our collaboration with Risen Christ, a Minneapolis
K-8 parochial school enrolling 80% of its students from minority groups, is an important partner in our efforts to realize that promise. Given the success of this partnership, we are exploring additional relationships with other urban schools serving diverse student populations, including San Miguel Middle School, Ascension School (K-8), and St. Bernard’s School (K-12).
We are at work on curricular revisions which will extend our commitment to provide experiences with diverse K-12 learners to those of our candidates pursuing secondary licensure. While the block of time we provide secondary candidates will take a different form, we are confident that it will offer meaningful learning that can open them to diverse learners’ needs and opportunities.
Our efforts to attract more faculty from diverse racial or cultural groups to our program, while more intense than in past years, were not successful. In addition to traditional methods, our use of formal and informal networking with communities of color in Minneapolis and Saint Paul produced a wider pool of candidates than in years past. Unfortunately, none offered the experience and skills we sought for these two short term positions.
We continue to enrich our understanding of cultures different from our own through workshops designed to meet the needs of our faculty and those of K-12 faculty teaching in our partner schools. Responding to the dramatic increase in families emigrating to Saint Cloud from Somalia in the past three years, in May of 2003 we planned and hosted an afternoon and evening retreat that introduced us to the work of Minnesota’s Center for Victims of Torture. Using funds secured from the colleges’ we invited five educators from Saint Paul and Minneapolis public schools, four of whom were Somali, to help us begin to understand the refugee experience that scars many of these new students who continue to arrive in our schools.
As many of our prospective candidates for licensure participate in service learning programs during their spring break, we have begun to explore school settings in urban areas for such programs. We hope to identify and sponsor extended service learning opportunities in diverse schools during our newly inaugurated May term.
We also hope to meet with our colleagues in Student Development and Admissions in the year ahead to explore ways in which we might appeal to those from communities of color who may seek to become teachers. We hope to work with our colleagues to find ways to highlight the teaching profession, and college enrollment, as a viable option for culturally or racially diverse students who hold that dream while enrolled in high schools serving communities of color.
Sister Ann Marie Biermaier, OSB, was invited to travel to Tanzania, Africa, in May-June 2003 to determine the possibility of setting up a partnership with St. Agnes School, Chipole, Tanzania. She spent three weeks visiting the convent and school while meeting with individuals about the prospect of such an endeavor. Although a study partnership in the school may prove difficult because of dissimilar schedules, she will continue to probe other possibilities for working with the orphans, elementary and secondary students who reside at this school.
Standard 5: Faculty Qualifications, Performance, and Development.
Areas of Improvement related to Standard 5 cited as a result of the last NCATE review: Faculty have limited involvement in scholarly activities at the regional and national levels.
We expect a high level of teaching performance from each other as we work toward our unit mission. That expectation demands a high investment of each instructor’s time and effort. Further, teaching in a values-focused liberal arts college offers opportunities to invest in the personal and intellectual development of our candidates, modeling the investment we expect them to make in the lives of their students. Forming and maintaining productive relationships that can mediate students’ intellectual and moral growth requires the further commitment of our time and energy.
We realize that we must also model the value of scholarship through its practice, not only to
inform and strengthen our own teaching but also to demonstrate its value for our candidates. We strive to keep teaching, service to our school partners, and scholarship in dynamic balance that reflects our needs and resources. We have worked to include greater attention to scholarship in that balance.
In January of 2003 Brother Doug Mullin, OSB, summarized his work on developing “A Framework for Assessing Teacher Candidate Dispositions” during the AACTE Annual Meeting in New Orleans. In the following month Brother Doug shared his findings on this topic in a presentation for the Minnesota Teacher Education Congress held in Minneapolis. Now on sabbatical, Doug has begun an exploration of promising novice teachers’ beliefs and practices. Later this year he will accept an invitation to share his research into the dispositions and practices of novice teachers as well as his perceptions of current issues in American Education with the faculty of Beijing Normal University and with alumni of Fu Jen University, also in Beijing. His travel and work in China will offer opportunities to study that nation’s educational system, the instructional practices of its teachers, and its history.
While others in our department cannot invest as much of their time and energy in scholarly work without the benefit of a sabbatical, we have enjoyed some success in sharing knowledge and experience through our applied research and writing. Sister Ann Marie Biermaier OSB and Professor Deanna Lamb have proposed a review of our efforts to assure opportunities for every candidate to observe and teach K-12 students from diverse cultures and races for the 2004 AACTE Annual Meeting in Chicago.
Professor Arthur Spring has prepared three book reviews for Bridges: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Technology, Philosophy, History, and Science. Professor Edmund Sass has prepared lessons plans accepted by Ask ERIC for its electronic database. Professor Bruce Dickau continues his collaboration with SCIMATH Minnesota/TRN, a state-wide organization investing in research on how teachers incorporate science standards and best practices into their classroom instruction. Dr. David Leitzman, a member of the editorial board of Performance Improvement Quarterly, has reviewed several articles during the past year for that publication. In late August of this year Sister Ann Marie Biermaier joined 100 participants attending the Minnesota Catholic Education Association’s annual convention, representing catechetical ministries in all six of Minnesota dioceses, to help them explore their core beliefs and work toward consensus on strategies which could advance education in the faith.
Standard 6: Unit Governance and Resources.
We have the resources we need to accomplish our mission. With the beginning of this school year Sister Ann Marie Biermaier returned to the role of department chairperson and unit head. We continue to enjoy the talents of a cohesive, committed faculty and staff who work well together as they prepare competent, caring teachers who are able to help each of their students learn.
Program Completers: 67
Submitted: 1 October 2003
2004 Annual Report
In preparation for visits on 1 October 2005 for NCATE continuing accreditation and Minnesota Board of Teaching institutional approval, all members of our unit affirmed the role and value of our conceptual framework, “Teacher as Decision-Maker,” in April of 2004. At that time we also reviewed and affirmed the mission, aims, and goals that guide our work together within this framework.
Following that affirmation, members of the unit agreed to review and revise portions of our goal-referenced knowledge base during the coming summer. Each of these ten integrated reviews of research and practice enjoyed critical examination followed in some cases with significant revision to reflect emerging understandings or techniques. As faculty completed their revisions they were incorporated into our on-line knowledge base.
At the close of 2004 implementation of our diversity plan resulted in continued progress toward five of its six goals. We completed curricular revisions noted under Standard Three that will bring more opportunities to observe and work with diverse K-12 learners to more of our prospective candidates in their first and second years of college study, prior to their commitment to preparation for licensure. Progress toward this end was enhanced by significant shifts in the minority population of our region as we welcome more immigrants from Somalia and Southeast Asia, bringing more diverse K-12 learners to area schools in which our candidates observer, assist, and teach.
Colleagues overseeing our unit technology plan reviewed our standards against those recently offered by Minnesota’s consortium of educators, industrialists, and technologists, incorporating emerging notions of what Minnesota’s K-12 schools should provide their students into our plan.
Standard 1: Candidate Knowledge
Guided by our assessment plan, during June and July of 2004 we completed and released for review an interim evaluation focused on two of the unit’s four guiding evaluation questions. This study examined the performance of all candidates on both unit and state licensure examinations during the 2001-2002 and 2002-2003 academic years. Three-fourths of those who seek acceptance as candidates in preparation for elementary or secondary licensure meet our minimum performance standard in English composition. Four-fifths perform at or above the expected standard on state and unit assessments of reading comprehension, knowledge of writing conventions, and mathematics. Those who did not meet our expectations were encouraged to seek additional testing confirming their skill deficiencies and to pursue appropriate development opportunities to strengthen their academic skills. We concluded that our candidates do possess the academic skills that will sustain their learning while enrolled in our program.
We also completed a comprehensive examination of our candidates’ performance on state licensure examinations over subject matter and pedagogical knowledge. Candidates for elementary licensure often equaled or exceeded the performance of their state and national peers on Praxis II examinations over K-6 subject matter knowledge and teaching methods. While all candidates equaled or exceeded the minimum score for licensure on these examinations, candidates with scores below those of their peers more often revealed deficiencies in social studies (world history) and general science. Most of our elementary licensure candidates also performed at or near the level of their Minnesota and U.S. peers on examinations of pedagogical knowledge. While all exceeded the minimum score for licensure, those earning lower scores revealed scattered weaknesses in their understanding of “teacher professionalism,” “students as learners,” and “instruction and assessment.”
Secondary candidates’ knowledge of pedagogy and of the content in their areas of licensure equaled or exceeded that of their Minnesota and U.S. peers. Weaker areas of pedagogical knowledge, evident for some passing candidates, clustered around “teacher professionalism” and “students as learners.” One of 66 candidates failed to reach the minimum score for licensure on pedagogy or subject matter examinations. Those of our candidates who completed their preparation for licensure during the 2001-2002 and 2002-2003 academic years indicated through their performance on licensure examinations that they had acquired an integrated body of content knowledge and skills central to their areas of licensure. Their performance suggested that these candidates also acquired the pedagogical knowledge and skills appropriate for their areas of licensure.
While detailed analysis of licensure examinations for the 2003-2004 academic year is underway, preliminary review finds that all candidates passed all licensure examinations of academic skills, content knowledge, and pedagogical knowledge during the past year.
Review of student teaching portfolios for elementary and secondary candidates confirms and extends our understanding of the pattern of success indicated by their performance on licensure examinations. While refinement of the portfolio as a source of assessment information continues, analysis of the instructional units and lessons that form a modified work sample suggests that nearly all candidates successfully encouraged meaningful learning in their K-12 classrooms.
Standard 2: Assessment System
Incremental changes in the design of our assessment system over the past four years will be reflected in a revised description of that system to be completed this summer. The parts of the system that help establish summative performance measures (academic skills indicators, licensure examination data, standards-based judgments of student teaching portfolio) contribute meaningful information to respond to the four evaluation questions that form the heart of our assessment system. Information offered by these indicators has helpfully supported continuing review of our program.
Some facets of the assessment system require more than incremental change. The performance database continues to demand more time and attention than we anticipated when the assessment system it supports was first designed in 2000. We may have included too many indicators for the kinds of queries and the range of analyses it supports.
Our electronic diversity transcript, launched with success, features what proved to be a clumsy mechanism for data retrieval and analysis. This independent system, tended by our colleges’ information technologists, inexplicably lost data and finally ceased to operate, necessitating the use of a paper backup system. Corrections offered this semester promise greater reliability and utility.
We have not found the MVal system helpful, but the Palm Pilot computers purchased to support it have helped some of our student teaching supervisors efficiently record field notes for later incorporation in their reports.
While we continue to refine our standards-based and behaviorally anchored end of program survey of candidates recommended for licensure, information gathered from this instrument has been helpful. We hope to use this instrument as the basis for a revived web-based first year graduate survey.
Standard 3: Field Experiences and Clinical Practice.
We have continued to emphasize the importance of early and significant participation in K-12 schools for all who might seek to become teachers through two curricular interventions. A new first course in education, piloted last year and more fully implemented during this academic year, introduces first year students who may pursue acceptance as candidates for licensure to the organization of schools and the work of teachers. Integrating a previously isolated service learning requirement, first year students now invest more than 40 hours in observation and service as a teaching aid in area schools, many of which enroll an increasingly diverse student body.
Our partnership plan continues to encourage the formation and support of productive relationships with area K-12 schools. Our desire to provide prospective candidates in their second year with meaningful field experiences with diverse K-12 learners lead us to develop an innovative partnership with Risen Christ, a highly diverse (20% Caucasian) K-8 parochial school located in South Minneapolis, in 2002. The initial success of that relationship encouraged the formation of similar partnerships with nearby San Miguel Middle School and with two schools in Saint Paul, Expo Elementary and Saint Bernard’s School (K-12). These schools host our prospective elementary candidates for a one week residency as teaching aids. This residency is reinforced with additional time in schools located within a few miles of the colleges.
Work continues toward the development of a similar experience for those who may seek acceptance as secondary licensure candidates, a goal hampered by the complexity of finding a week for an intensive residency that is free of scheduling conflicts with courses in candidate’s field of study. A week in January, prior to the beginning of the spring semester, or after the close of that semester in May, may provide the opportunity for secondary candidates to claim the benefits of a residency enjoyed by their elementary peers.
Our Director of Secondary student teaching visited schools in Austria and Germany to establish relationships that might lead to their acceptance and supervision of student teachers prepared in our licensure programs. We anticipate offering this opportunity in the coming academic year.
Standard 4: Diversity
Our unit’s diversity plan has guided our progress toward enriching our candidates’ and our own understanding and experiences with K-12 students and teachers whose cultural, racial, or ethnic heritage differs from our own. We have increased the number and improved the focus of prospective candidates’ field experiences with diverse learners as noted under Standard Three. Our summer diversity workshops have enriched our understanding of diverse cultures and the educational implications of teaching children from those cultures. Joined by our partner schools’ staff members, this past year we focused on discovering techniques to help English language learners entering our K-12 schools read, write, speak, and think in English. This summer we will welcome Winona LaDuke as she introduces us to the challenges and opportunities of working with K-12 students who are Native Americans.
In addition to our negotiations with potential partner schools in Austria and Germany for student teaching opportunities, work toward that end continues with Saint David’s School in New Orleans. Saint David’s enrolls K-8 African American students in a very diverse urban setting that could enrich the largely white and rural or suburban origin of many who enroll at Saint Benedict’s and Saint John’s.
We have had less success in attracting and securing diverse faculty for our unit. Our only open position this past year was advertised in more than fifty newspapers, journals, newsletters, and on-line publications. Only three possible applicants responded, of whom two were qualified for the position. All were from the majority culture.
Our conversations and cooperation with the colleges’ admissions staff, which began in earnest in 2003, have continued. This spring we will help host one day campus visits for high school students in our urban partner schools in hopes of encouraging them to consider attending our colleges and preparing for a career in teaching. Many of our candidates volunteer to mentor and tutor Spanish-speaking students in our region through our colleges’ Fast Forward program, an several year investment that provides excellent experiences with diverse K-12 learners but which has not yet yielded college students who seek preparation for licensure as teachers.
Areas of Improvement related to Standard Four during the 2001 review: Candidate experiences with diverse faculty, candidate, and student populations are limited.
Our response to this weakness is integrated with our response to Standard Four. Curricular revisions and improved clinical opportunities related to those revisions are providing more extensive opportunities for candidates to work with diverse K-12 student populations. We have not experienced success from our efforts to enrich the diversity of our unit faculty. We welcome diverse candidates for licensure, but their number remains too small.
Standard 5: Faculty Qualifications, Performance, and Development
As liberal arts colleges integrated with a common curriculum, student body, and faculty on two nearby campuses, we first hold ourselves to a high standard of teaching performance. That performance reflects a continuing search for new information and understanding to inform our teaching and thus guide our students’ learning. Scholarship in our respective disciplines or areas of practice, enhanced by our colleges’ faculty development support, thus takes a variety of forms.
Colleagues’ presentations at international, national, and regional conferences during the previous academic year represented the culmination of two years of planning and development. During this past year many laid the foundation for future opportunities to share their scholarship. Our newest colleague, Michael Borka, offered his views on “What’s Guiding Your Guided Reading?” to those attending the 2004 convention of the Minnesota Council of Teachers of English. He continued his long term staff development intervention with faculty at Orchard Lake Elementary in Lakeview, Minnesota. He also offered shorter presentations for faculty at schools in the Anoka, South Washington County, and Buffalo districts. He anticipates completion of his dissertation in the coming year and the subsequent dissemination of his findings.
Lynn Moore has emphasized another facet of our sense of scholarship through her development of a literacy cadre of area K-6 educators who advise her on the evolution of literacy instruction in their schools, provide guidance to refine her preparation of candidates, and contribute to action research projects she conducts with selected candidates. Her exploration of this model provides us with a new way to involve area teachers in advisory roles from the disciplines that contribute to our elementary or secondary licensure programs. She and her student researchers shared their findings earlier this year with those attending the Central Minnesota Reading Association’s annual conference.
Dee Lamb is developing a web site that will present her professional work in children's literature, including poetry, readers' theater and minority literature. The site will also present her collaboration with a Tanzanian educator on the translation of folk stories from that country, many of which have not been previously published in English. Professor Lamb also collaborated with Sister Ann Marie Biermaier on the presentation of the clinical component of our unit diversity plan at the 2004 AACTE convention in Chicago.
Professor Edmund Sass continued his three year association with Minneapolis based Youth Frontiers Inc., a non-profit agency offering school climate and community building interventions to K-12 schools. Sass has helped Youth Frontiers assess the effects of its work though his analysis of more than 3000 student and teacher surveys.
Areas of Improvement Related to Standard Five cited during the 2001 review.
Faculty have limited involvement in scholarly activities at regional and national levels.
Our response to this weakness is integrated with our response to Standard Four. Since 2001 many of our colleagues have focused their attention on sharing their scholarship and practice in state, regional, national and international forums. We are continuing to invest our resources toward this end with gratifying results.
Standard 6: Unit Governance and Resources
We continue to have the resources we need to accomplish our mission. Guided by our chairperson, Sister Ann Marie Biermaier O.S.B., we work to sustain committed unit of faculty and staff who productively work together to prepare competent, caring teachers who enable their K-12 students to achieve their full potential.
1 March 2004