The conceptual framework that guides our candidates' preparation for teaching encourages them to practice humane educational decision-making based on appropriate professional knowledge, grounded in Benedictine values, and focused on the essential goals of meeting the needs and enhancing the lives of all students. Within that body of professional knowledge we include not only factual knowledge, but also organizing principles, central concepts, and the epistemology practiced in the disciplines they will share with their students. An integrated understanding of a field of study from which such facts, concepts, principles, and ways of knowing are drawn contributes to the effectiveness of the "planning decisions" described by James Cooper (1999) and Carl Smith (1992) as central to teachers' selections of what they will explore with their students. We thus require that our candidates for licensure "understand the central concepts, tools of inquiry, and structure of the disciplines they are preparing to teach so that they will be able to make this subject matter meaningful for their students" (Conceptual Framework; Unit Goal 1).
This first of our ten program goals reflects The Minnesota Board of Teaching's rules guiding approval of teacher preparation programs. Candidates for licensure prepared in an approved program "complete a program of general studies in the liberal arts and sciences" that is "equivalent" to that required of all students enrolled in that institution (Institutional Program Approval Rules, 8700.7600.5.B.1). That general education curriculum must incorporate "multicultural and global perspectives" (5.B.3). Further, approved programs must "require candidates in teacher preparation programs to attain academic competence in the content that they plan to teach" (5.B.2). This goal is also congruent with Minnesota's "Standards of Effective Practice for Teachers" (Minnesota Board of Teaching Licensure Rules, 8710.2000), a core of knowledge and skills guiding the preparation and practice of all who would teach Minnesota's children.
Approved programs provide their candidates with opportunities to acquire knowledge and skills defined by licensure standards included in licensure rules set by Minnesota's Board of Teaching. These rules incorporate the advice offered by nationally recognized professional associations as well as standards that reflect the unique needs of Minnesota's children.
Our program offers preparation for Minnesota licensure in nineteen licensure areas.
Elementary Education K-6
(Minnesota Board of Teaching Licensure Rules, 8710.3200)
Communication Arts and Literature 5-12 (8710.4250)
English as a Second Language K-12 (8710.4410)
Mathematics (8710.4600) 5-12
Vocal Music and Instrumental Music K-12 (8710.4650)
Natural Science (chemistry, biology, physics) 5-12 (8710.4750)
Social Studies 5-12 (8710.4800)
Visual Arts K-12 (8710.4900)
World Languages and Cultures (Spanish, French, German) K-12 (8710. 4950)
Grade 5-8 Endorsements in: Communication Arts and Literature (8710.3310)
General Science (8710.3340)
World Languages and Cultures (Spanish, French, German) K-8 (8710.3360)
The unit's preparation for the Board of Teaching's program approval process, both in 2001 and again in 2006, helped us identify the opportunities we provide candidates to know, to apply, and to be assessed on all relevant content standards. Documents developed to support that approval process describe the formative review of candidates' performance on those standards by faculty in supporting disciplines. The matrix for this second assessment question describes the unit's summative assessment of candidates' performance on those same standards.
Providing candidates with opportunities to acquire, integrate, and use the subject matter they will teach is also consistent with the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education's standards (NCATE). That organization believes that candidates for initial licensure should "have in-depth knowledge of the content they plan to teach as described in professional, state, and institutional standards" (Professional Standards, p. 16). Our first program goal incorporates this first element in NCATE's conceptualization of "candidate performance."
Driven by this first program goal and supported by relevant state and professional standards, we thus posit our second assessment question. Do candidates recommended for licensure possess an integrated body of knowledge, skills, and values drawn from one or more disciplines central to their area of licensure? Performance indicators supporting this question include evidence of candidates' understanding of their subject, their use of alternative views or theories drawn from that body of knowledge and skill, and candidates' success connecting their content knowledge with other subject areas.
Click the link below to access Assessment Question 2.