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1c. Professional and Pedagogical Knowledge and Skills for Teacher Candidates

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

All candidates in both initial and advanced teacher preparation programs are required to demonstrate the professional and pedagogical knowledge and skills delineated in professional, state, and institutional standards to facilitate learning. The curricula of these programs include foundations and methods course work that address concepts, theories, and research about effective teaching as well as knowledge about historical, sociological, and philosophical understandings of schooling; pedagogy; professional roles and responsibilities; ethics, laws, and policies; diversity; technology; and the learner and learning. Building on this knowledge base, candidates’ skills are developed through the program field experiences. Matrices listing the initial and advanced teacher preparation programs’ key assessments and curricula that address these knowledge and skills are available in the Professional and Pedagogical Knowledge Overview Chart #1 (Std1.Exh9).

All unit syllabi include the state, national, and institutional standards that apply to the content and experiences provided in the course. Course and field experience syllabi for teacher preparation programs demonstrate that candidates have numerous opportunities to integrate professional and pedagogical knowledge and skills to facilitate learning. Specifically, methodology courses require candidates to develop, implement, and analyze lesson plans in a content area and to exhibit their ability to design and implement complementary instructional strategies. In addition, candidates must create technology-supported instructional experiences and display their ability to adapt instruction to accommodate students’ diverse needs and previous learning experiences.

All candidates receiving institutional recommendations for certification have demonstrated through multiple assessments that they possess the professional and pedagogical knowledge and skills to facilitate learning. These include key course and field assessments such as lesson plans, integrated units, case studies, student work analyses, internship evaluations, and comprehensive portfolios. All teacher preparation programs track candidates’ development of professional and pedagogical knowledge and skills through portfolios organized according to the Alaska teacher standards and appropriate professional organization standards. These standards specify that candidates must understand students along multiple dimensions and create opportunities for learning that use varied approaches, including appropriate instructional technologies. Program and department faculty and staff monitor candidate progress at unit transition points.

The matrices in the Professional and Pedagogical Knowledge Overview Chart #1 (Std1.Exh9) also provide summaries of candidate performance data on one or more selected assessments. For the Early Childhood (BA), Elementary (BA and Post-baccalaureate), and Secondary (MAT) programs, data from key assessment 4 are reported by the Alaska Beginning Teacher Standards that most closely align with the knowledge components. For Special Education (M.Ed. in Early Childhood Special Education and M.Ed. and Graduate Certificate in Special Education), data from portfolio reviews are reported by the CEC standards that most closely align with the knowledge components. Of these programs’ candidates, the vast majority succeeds and meets all standards, while only a small number in each program does not meet one or more standards and can neither graduate nor receive an institutional recommendation. See the matrices mentioned above for the candidates’ average scores or for the percentages or number of candidates demonstrating the professional and pedagogical knowledge and skills delineated in professional, state, and institutional standards to facilitate learning.

A comparison of data by the Assessment and Accreditation Committee found no significant differences in how candidates enrolled in the MAT alternate route and distance options or the elementary off-campus options perform on key assessments and at transition points (Std2b.Exh7).

1c.2. What data from key assessments indicate that candidates in initial teacher preparation programs consider the school, family, and community contexts and the prior experiences of students; reflect on their own practice; know major schools of thought about schooling, teaching, and learning; and can analyze educational research findings? If a licensure test is required in this area, how are candidates performing on it?

Course assignments and field experiences in early childhood, early childhood special education, elementary, secondary, and special education initial teacher preparation programs require candidates to consider school, family, and community contexts and the prior experiences of students; engage in reflective practice; know the major schools of thought about schooling, teaching, and learning; and analyze educational research findings. Professional and Pedagogical Knowledge Overview Chart #2 (Std1.Exh9) provides a set of program matrices listing the key assessments and curricula that address these factors. It also provides a summary of data supporting the statements made below. The only exception is the Graduate Certificate in Special Education – initial certification. This is a new program and there are no candidates who have completed a portfolio review at this time, and an insufficient number has completed any one of the key assessments.

Candidates consider students’ school, family, and community contexts and prior experiences as part of multiple assessments including school/community studies, class profiles, internship and portfolio evaluations, lesson and unit plans, family-based projects, intervention strategies projects, and student work analyses. Candidate performance on Alaska Beginning Teacher Standards 3 and 7 and CEC Standards 5 and 10, collected through culminating internship and portfolio assessments, provide evidence that initial teacher candidates consider these matters in actual practice.

Candidates continuously reflect on their own practice, as measured through a variety of assessments including reflective essays, internship blogs, final portfolio assessments, and internship evaluations. Performance on Alaska Beginning Teacher Standards 1 and 8 and CEC Standard 9, collected through culminating internship and portfolio assessments, demonstrates candidates’ ability to engage in reflective practice and their commitment to continuous professional growth by reflecting upon their own teaching practices, including progress toward reaching their own professional goals.

Candidates know the major schools of thoughts about schooling, teaching, and learning. The major schools of thought are introduced in foundation course work, reflected upon in methodology course work, and applied in field experiences. Multiple assessments including philosophy statements, lesson and unit plans, classroom management plans, position papers, and internship and portfolio evaluations demonstrate candidates’ understanding of the major schools of thought. Alaska Beginning Teacher Standards 1 and 2 and CEC Standards 2 and 3 relate to a candidate’s understanding of how students learn and develop, and application of that knowledge in the candidate’s practice. Performance on these standards, collected through culminating internship and portfolio assessments, illustrates that initial teacher candidates provide instruction that meets the needs of students and is based on theories of learning and motivation. 

Candidates’ first introduction to analyzing educational research findings occurs in foundations coursework. They not only learn about significant educational research findings and the implications to practice, they are expected to use the information to make decisions about their own instructional practice as reflected in lesson plans, instructional units, classroom management plans, various projects, and philosophy statements. Faculty review candidates’ philosophy statements and instructional decisions in terms of best practices as supported by research, the professional literature, and experience with students. In addition, candidates demonstrate their ability to interpret and analyze data through such assessments as teacher-as-researcher projects, school/community/class studies, position papers, and student work sample analyses. Candidate performance on selected assessments illustrates that initial teacher candidates are able to analyze educational research findings and apply them to practice.

There are no significant differences in how candidates enrolled in the MAT alternate route and distance options or the elementary off-campus options perform on key assessments and at transition points (Std2b.Exh7).

In summary, by the end of the internship experience, 100% of the AY09 initial teacher candidates in Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary programs demonstrated the professional and pedagogical knowledge and skills to facilitate learning. In Early Childhood Special Education, 94% of the candidates demonstrated these knowledge and skills. One candidate received an incomplete and has not graduated.

1c.3. What data from key assessments indicate that advanced teacher candidates reflect on their practice; engage in professional activities; have a thorough understanding of the school, family, and community contexts in which they work; collaborate with the professional community; are aware of current research and policies related to schooling, teaching, learning, and best practices; and can analyze educational research and policies and explain the implications for their own practice and the profession?

Early Childhood Special Education (initial and advanced) and Special Education (M.Ed. and Graduate Certificate) programs provide multiple opportunities for candidates to reflect on their practice; engage in professional activities; demonstrate understanding of the school, family, and community contexts in which they work; collaborate with the professional community; describe current research and policies related to schooling, teaching, learning, and best practices; and analyze educational research and policies and explain the implications for their own practice and the profession. Assessments providing evidence of candidate learning and performance in these critical areas include plans, units, disposition surveys, reflective blogs and essays, intervention projects, internship evaluations, and portfolios. For advanced teacher preparation programs, Professional and Pedagogical Knowledge Overview Chart #3 (Std1.Exh9) illustrates 1) the links between the critical areas and key assessments (alignment to artifacts available upon request), 2) candidate’s multiple opportunities to demonstrate their knowledge in these areas, and 3) the number of candidates who were successful over the 3-year period from AY06 to AY09. The data, summarized from program portfolio reviews, show that 94% of early childhood special education candidates and 88% of special education candidates demonstrate professional and pedagogical knowledge. Those who were unable to demonstrate this knowledge received incomplete grades or did not pass the internship and did not graduate. Since successful completion of the internship is required for graduation, only those candidates able to demonstrate professional and pedagogical knowledge graduate.

Key assessments have been identified in the ESOL program (graduate certificate) that will provide evidence that candidates demonstrate professional and pedagogical knowledge. Professional and Pedagogical Knowledge Overview Chart #3 (Std1.Exh9) illustrates the links between the critical areas and key assessments and the multiple opportunities candidates have to demonstrate their knowledge in these areas. However, no data are provided because there are too few candidates (2) and no graduates.

COE’s M.Ed. programs include 6 credits of research courses that enable candidates to become knowledgeable, active participants in and interpreters of research in their respective disciplines. All M.Ed. candidates complete a basic research course and select two additional courses from a menu including topics such as action research, program evaluation, literature reviews, and data-informed instruction. Special Education graduates perform at or above the college-wide performance level as measured by course grades and grade ranges.

Table 1c.3 AY09 Special and Early Childhood Special Education Graduates Compared to All COE Candidates Who Took Research Courses in AY09


Statistic

Unit
N=185*

SpEd
N=11*

ECSE
N=31*

Grade Range

0 - 4.0

3.0 – 4.0

3.0 – 4.0

Avg GPA

3.8

3.8

3.9

A=4, B=3, C=2, D=1, F=0
*duplicated headcount

1c.4. What do follow-up studies of graduates and employers indicate about graduates' preparation related to professional and pedagogical knowledge and skills? If survey data have not already been reported, what was the response rate?

Follow-up studies indicate that COE initial and advanced teacher program graduates are prepared with regard to professional and pedagogical knowledge and skills. Data are summarized by program under Summarized Survey Reports (Std1c.Exh9).

The following survey results show the percentage of alumni who agree that their programs prepared them with regard to professional and pedagogical knowledge and skills:

  • Early Childhood – 96% (average of multiple indicators)
  • Elementary –85% (average of multiple indicators)
  • Secondary – 89% (average of multiple indicators)
  • Special Education – 100% (average of multiple indicators)

Survey results show that 73% of responding employers of our elementary graduates agree that they are prepared with regard to professional and pedagogical knowledge and skills.

The following results show the percentage of graduating candidates who agree that they are prepared with regard to professional and pedagogical knowledge and skills:

  • Early Childhood – 92% (average of multiple indicators)
  • Elementary – 98% (average of multiple indicators)
  • Secondary – 91% (average of multiple indicators)
  • Special Education – 95% (average of multiple indicators)