Assessment System and Unit Evaluation
The Fort Valley State University College of Education Assessment Plan is a commitment to academic quality and accountability. It is a vehicle for educational improvement. Our assessment focus is not only on what we choose to assess and how we choose to assess, but it also focuses on how we use the data to improve what we care about most, student learning. According to the American Association for Higher Education, assessment is a process whose power is cumulative. From the admission stage to the program completion stage of matriculation, candidates who express an interest in the new teacher education preparation program will be assessed, advised, taught, and remediated, accordingly.
The purpose of the assessment system is to evaluate the effectiveness of the unit and its programs in producing The Proficient Educator. A wide array of authentic assessments, performance based assessments, and standardized assessments will be administered to improve learning, to improve explicitly stated objectives and outcomes, and to demonstrate responsibility to our publics. Both formative and summative evaluations will be used for internal and external reviews of the program. Information technology, specifically, the LiveText system, will be used to develop profiles, generate databases, and aggregate data over time and to electronically store assessment information on candidates, faculty, programs, and the unit that will lead to a combination of objective professional judgments as well as data-driven decision making.
The data-driven assessment system is designed to gather information about multiple components simultaneously. The unit head, faculty members, and unit committees—via supervisory responsibility, committees, assessment of the data and reports generated—will provide the critical collaborative interpretations of data, assessing those who seek to become proficient educators. To the maximum extent possible, instruments that are used will demonstrate validity and reliability. Evaluations that are more subjective will be enhanced by the use of rubrics (and other scoring devices) and by the careful training of those making the evaluations.
The assessment data gathered will permit program and unit personnel to make informed decisions in implementing and monitoring achievement of the goals of the program and in making recommended changes that will ensure the candidates’, faculty’s, and the program’s continued growth and development. Therefore, the functions of the system are the following:
- Assessment of individual candidates as they move through the program, in order to identify individuals’ strengths and weaknesses, capitalize on strengths, remediate weaknesses, and, when necessary, eliminate candidates from the program in a timely manner, usually at one of the major transition points, if they have not been able to meet expected standards. The LiveText, a computerized system for storing and analyzing unit data, is a central component of the assessment system. The areas in which candidates are assessed are those described in the conceptual framework document and range from appropriate mastery of general education and basic skills, content to be taught, pedagogical knowledge and skills (including appropriate use of technology), and dispositions (that are culturally sensitive to diverse environments), and other personal factors as they impact student learning and are necessary for success as a professional. Evaluation of candidates’ performance is based on multiple assessments that are made regularly and at multiple points from the time the candidate enters FVSU through the induction process (the early years of professional practice).
- Assessment of program strengths and weaknesses, in order to identify topics and skills at which FVSU faculty/staff members and candidates excel, those that need to be taught/learned better, and/or that need to be modified to meet changing conditions. While normally initiated at the unit level, program assessment may trigger curriculum modification recommendations at the program level.
- Assessment of the unit, in order to identify structures, programming, and resources of outstanding quality to identify those that need to be improved and to suggest directions for the improvement, and those that need to be modified to meet changing conditions. Unit assessment includes periodic review of both the conceptual framework and the assessment system (and its instruments and processes) itself, by appropriate parties, including partner school collaborators.
Multiple assessment tools are used to accomplish the objectives of the conceptual framework, which requires fairness, accuracy, and consistency of assessment. These assessment tools include both locally developed instruments and standardized instruments required or provided by external authorities. They include both objective instruments and artifacts/behaviors that are evaluated through collective professional collaboration.
Fort Valley State University Teacher Education Program is a field–based preparation program that aligns field experiences with each semester’s content and methods block courses. The Office of Field Experiences schedules a variety of public school experiences to provide education majors with opportunities to participate in teaching and learning activities with students and teachers in diverse settings.
Pre-Professional Field Experience
All Candidates majoring in any education program- Agriculture Education, Early Childhood/Special Education, Family and Consumer Sciences, Health and Physical Education or Middle Grades- will complete a nine-semester hour pre-professional block and the 50-clock hour field experience practicum during their sophomore year. Teacher candidates will observe and implement specific principles of teaching in assigned academic field sites during the first phase of observation. The principles, procedures, and methods will be practiced as the future teacher shadows a classroom teacher who is tutoring small groups, and demonstrates whole class instructional strategies. Teacher candidates will work as academic assistants in small and large groups of culturally diverse students in lesson planning and assisting in grading student work, and working collaboratively with professional team/school departments. Application of a variety of developmentally appropriate experiences that demonstrate varied approaches to knowledge construction will be studied. This phase provides opportunities for teacher candidates to learn and to process initial information and experiences. Teacher candidates are expected to become proficient with daily classroom procedures, to identify and reflect on behaviors modeled by their cooperating teacher, to teach at least two lessons using the grade level appropriate Georgia Professional Standards, to continue to collect evidence for their pre-professional electronic portfolio, and to demonstrate the professional behaviors and appropriate dispositions necessary for effective teaching.
Professional Field Experiences
Teacher candidates will plan, implement, assess, and reflect on instructional procedures and specific principles of teaching in public schools during this phase. Future teachers experience a progression of increasing responsibilities from tutoring to working with small and large group instruction. Other activities will include lesson planning, assessing, evaluating, grading, conducting case studies, and developing effective classroom management strategies. The FVSU evaluation processes for professional teaching are addressed and practiced. Teacher candidates gain experience in working with students of various abilities, exceptionalities, and cultural and linguistic diversities.
Each teacher candidate is expected to work collaboratively with the cooperating teacher in all classroom activities, to demonstrate growth in INTASC behaviors, to plan, teach, and assess lessons using the grade level appropriate Georgia Performance Standards, to continue developing the Professional Education Portfolio, and to continue to demonstrate the appropriate dispositions and professional behaviors.
The phases of Continuing Field Experiences begin with admission to the Teacher Education Program and continue through the culminating semester of Directed Teaching/Seminar. The phases are aligned with courses that provide the pedagogical knowledge base that candidates need to be successful in a middle grades classroom. These phases include:
Introductory Block - 80 clock hours
Upon admission to the Teacher Education Program, candidates complete a 40 -80-clock hour field experience during the first semester of their junior year. The course and field experience provide candidates an opportunity to examine the curriculum, instruction, and organization of K-12 schools and the nature, needs, and development of the students. The field experience provides observation through the completion of two shadow studies (Key Assessment #8) and through assignments related to students. Candidates also participate in daily routines such as taking attendance, leading students in a discussion, grading papers, preparing materials, teaching a mini-lesson, and other teaching tasks. Candidates must successfully complete both the coursework and field component in order to pass the course and enroll in Methods Block I or II.
Methods Block -Practicum I—100-135 clock hours
During the second semester of their junior year, candidates enroll in Methods Block I. This block is a team-based, integrated approach to more of the pedagogy and content of each departments’ major.
Practicum I is the field component for the block and candidates spend 135 hours in a classroom under the direct and active supervision of a university supervisor and the Practicum I instructor. Field experience activities include completion of an integrated instructional unit (Key Assessment #3), teach the unit (Key Assessment #4), assess their impact on student learning (Key Assessment #5), examine their attitudes toward teaching (Key Assessment #6), and evaluate educational resources (Key Assessment #7).
Methods Block - Practicum II- 100 -135 clock hours
During the first semester of their senior year, candidates enroll in Methods Block I. This block is also a team-based, integrated approach to more of the pedagogy and content of each department majors.
Practicum II is the field experience component and candidates are placed in another classroom setting. . Field experience activities include completion of an integrated instructional unit (Key Assessment #3), teach the unit (Key Assessment #4), assess their impact on student learning (Key Assessment #5), examine their attitudes toward teaching (Key Assessment #6), and evaluate educational resources (Key Assessment #7). Candidates are again assessed using Key Assessments #3, #4, #5, #6, and #7.
May Experience -3-5 days/24-40 hours
All teacher candidates planning to enroll in directed teaching during the fall or spring of the next academic year will spend at the three days in a school setting shadowing a teacher during the closing of an academic year. This activity begins on the last day of school and last through two days of post-planning. The purpose for this experience is to provide insight into the procedures in the closing of an academic school year and everything that is involved in dismissing the students. These three days are not counted in any other field experience. This activity is called May Experience.
August Experience – 7-10 days/40-80 hours
Two weeks before directed teaching begins, all fall and spring candidates for directed teaching will spend at least 10 days in a school setting shadowing a teacher. This activity begins on the first day teachers return to school for pre-planning. The purpose for this experience is to provide insight into the procedures in the opening of school and everything that is involved in preparing for and receiving the students. These two weeks do not count toward the 550 hours of directed teaching. This activity is called the August Experience.
Directed Teaching/Seminar (4895—550 clock hours)
Candidates who successfully complete Methods Block II, as well as meet the additional program criteria, are admitted into Directed Teaching/Seminar and enroll in a 12-semester hour directed teaching culminating clinical experience. Directed Teaching involves a 550-clock hour, all day clinical experience over a 15 week period. Candidates work closely with both a university supervisor and a clinical supervisor in a classroom setting. Candidates are expected to perform all the duties and responsibilities of a veteran teacher, with a minimum of two weeks (10 days) of full-time, all day teaching.
For more information, please contact the Office of Field Experiences, William Hubbard Education Building, Room 307, or call (478) 825-6192.
Assessment measures used to assess candidate knowledge, skills, and dispositions are identified at each phase of the program and are presented in data tables in the Unit Assessment System.
The first transition point occurs when candidates enter Phase I, Entrance to the Teacher Education Program. In Phase I data collected from candidates include: GPAs, Georgia Assessments for the Certification of Educators (GACE) Basic Skills scores, pre-professional portfolios, interviews for entrance to the program, Regents’ Exam, writing sample, background check, dispositions assessments, Pre-Professional Block courses and field experiences, letters of recommendation, proof of liability insurance, membership in a professional organization. Information from these sources combined with faculty observation, and performance in selected courses and activities allows the unit to determine if prospective candidates are prepared for study at the professional education level of the teacher education program.
These data are collected on an ongoing basis as requirements for entrance to the Teacher Education Program (just prior to the beginning of a candidate’s junior year).
The second transition point occurs when candidates enter Phase II, Entrance to Clinical Practice (Directed Teaching). In Phase II data collected on candidates include GPAs, GACE Subject Assessment scores, dispositions assessments, interviews for directed teaching, and professional portfolios. These data determine if candidates meet the requirements for entrance to directed teaching.
These data are collected on an ongoing basis and are formally assessed at the beginning of a candidate’s senior year.
The third transition point occurs when candidates enter Phase III, Exit from Clinical Practice (Directed Teaching). In Phase III data collected include GPAs, GACE Subject Assessment scores, professional portfolios, dispositions assessments, exit surveys, directed teaching evaluations and completion of the Teacher Education Program. Information from Phase III measures allows the unit to determine the extent to which candidates have mastered the identified outcomes of being competent in content, being competent in pedagogy, possessing a caring disposition, appreciating diversity, and being skilled in the use of technology at the level of proficient educators.
These data are collected on an ongoing basis and are formally collected / assessed at the end of a candidate’s senior year. They are a requirement for recommendation for completion of the Teacher Education Program and for certification.
The fourth transition point occurs when graduates enter Phase IV, Entrance to the Profession. In Phase IV data collected include Graduate Surveys, Employer Surveys, and Alumni Surveys. Information from Phase IV measures allows the unit to determine the extent to which graduates have mastered the identified outcomes.
These data are collected at the end of a graduate’s first year of teaching.
The progress of all students who are admitted into or are applying for admission into any initial or advanced program is monitored from the point of entrance to the program until they exit the program and enter the profession. This scrutiny begins in the first two years when candidates are enrolled in introductory education courses. It continues as candidates are admitted to the Teacher Education Program. Included are multiple assessments at four major Phases (transition points) in the program. A full description of the assessments used is included in the Unit Assessment System. The table below outlines the transition points and examples of assessments for each:
Transition Points (Phases) and Assessments – Initial Program
Phase I – Entrance to the Teacher Education Program
(Should be completed by beginning of junior year)
- 2.5 or better GPA
- Georgia Assessments for the Certification of Educators (GACE) Basic Skills
- Pre-professional electronic portfolio
- Successful interview and presentation
- Pass Regent’s Exam (Reading and Writing)
- Writing Sample
- Background Check
- Satisfactory ratings on Dispositions Assessments
- Satisfactory completion of Pre-Professional
Block courses and field experiences
- Acceptable Letters of Recommendation (3)
- Proof of Liability Insurance
- Membership in Professional Organization (GAESP, SPAGE or NAAE)
Phase II – Entrance to Clinical Practice
(Directed Teaching - Should be completed by beginning of senior year)
- 2.5 or better GPA
- Georgia Assessments for the Certification of Educators (GACE) Subject Assessment
- Satisfactory Ratings on Dispositions Assessments
- Interviews for Directed Teaching
- Development of Professional Electronic Portfolio
Phase III – Exit from Clinical Practice
(Directed Teaching/Exit from Program - Should be completed by end of Senior Year)
- 2.5 or Better GPA
- Georgia Assessments for the Certification of Educators (GACE) Subject Assessment
- Professional Portfolio
- Dispositions Assessments
- Exit surveys
- Directed Teaching Evaluations
- Completion of the Teacher Education Program
Phase IV Entrance to the Profession
(Should be completed at the end of a graduate’s first year of teaching)
- Graduate Surveys
- Employer Surveys
- Alumni Surveys