August 16, 2013-The nation’s two largest accrediting boards for education—the National Council for Accreditation of Teaching Education and the Teacher Education Accreditation Council—recently merged to form the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation. The de factoconsolidation means that institutions, such as Fort Valley State University, will be required to meet new assessment standards for teacher education programs.
Fort Valley State University’s College of Education is actively preparing its teacher educator program to meet CAEP’s new standards.
“We are looking at the changes as an avenue to make our program stronger,” said Dr.Alfrieda Manson, director of clinical and field experiences. “We see the [merger] as an attempt to strengthen teacher educator programs across the country, based on unified national standards.”
“Our synergy will focus on standard five continuous improvement and quality,” said Dr. Edward Hill, dean of FVSU’s College of Education, “We will focus on creating partnerships, enhancing clinical experiences that advance pedagogy. The college will also focus on strategies that will enhance pass rates on GACE and other state mandated assessments. “
In 2011, FVSU’s College of Education was accredited under the National Council for Accreditation of Teaching Education. The next accrediting evaluation for FVSU’s COE is in 2017, with CAEP serving as the new accrediting board.
CAEP has five new standards that teacher education programs across the nation must meet.
Standard one requires that teacher education programs, like FVSU’s, must produce aspiring teachers that have a deep understanding of their discipline, and are able to use their knowledge to ensure their pupils are college and career-ready.
Standard two involves clinical partnerships and practices. Teacher preparation programs must ensure they have successful partnerships with local schools, and a high-quality clinical practice so that aspiring teachers can develop the knowledge, skills and dispositions necessary to positively impact young students.
To meet this new standard, the Manson says that the university is continuously building a rapport with local school systems to provide field placements for teacher candidates in various settings.
“Our program wants to ensure that our students have different field experiences that will give them an opportunity to work with students in diverse settings (demographically and culturally),” Manson explained. “As a teacher preparation program, we are now looking at more ways to support and have a more active role in our supporting school systems.”
The director explained that the entire College of Education has a goal to create viable partnerships with various organizations such as mentoring programs, partnerships with informal educational programs (Starbase 2.0), and collaborative partnerships among K-12 schools to help public schools ensure their students are college ready. The COE is also examining ways to assure its partnerships with schools are more beneficial by providing opportunities that include summer camps, and exposing students to the university’s campus.
Standard three addresses the quality, recruitment and selectivity of candidates. Programs must show that they are selecting good candidates, and show that the development of quality educators is in place in all phases of the program.
Standards four and five examine the programs’ impact and quality assurance. Schools must show how their program impacts its completers on P-12 student learning and classroom instruction. Programs must also provide valid data of this impact, and demonstrate how the program is involving.
To improve the tracking of teaching assessment statewide, the Georgia Professional Standards Commission is requiring all education prep programs, including FVSU’sCollege of Education, to implement a new pre-service teacher assessment: the Educator Teacher Performance Assessment. The edTPA is a capstone assessment that evaluates teacher quality preparation. Teacher candidates are evaluated on their ability to plan lessons based on students’ needs and abilities, their delivery of effective instruction, and an analysis of their teaching effectiveness.
Currently, the FVSU College of Education analyzes teaching candidates’ e-portfolios through a data management system known as Livetext. The teacher candidates create e-portfolios, including unedited video clips of their instruction. This is similar to the criteria set forth in edTPA. The CoE is utilizing edTPA as a roadmap to ensure the alignment with CAEP standards and GaPSC initiatives.
“We focus on students’ achievement from the instruction received, but edTPA is asking for more in-depth thinking about their teaching effectiveness,” stated Manson. “Before, teacher candidates reflected upon how well they delivered instruction and student achievement from quantitative data, now edTPA will provide qualitative and quantitative data to analyze teacher candidates’ effectiveness long term.”
“The CoE is examining our core concepts and central pedagogies that will now become the heart of our teacher training program,” said Hill. “As our university continues to prepare proficient educators, we will also prepare ourselves as well as our students for the changing world of education.”
To learn more about FVSU’s College of Education, please call (478) 825-6390 or visitwww.fvsu.edu/academics/college_of_education.
Christina D. Milton,writer
Fort Valley State University
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