Standard I: Candidate Knowledge, Skills, and Professional Dispositions

Candidates preparing to work in schools as teachers or other school professionals know and demonstrate the content knowledge, pedagogical content knowledge and skills, pedagogical and professional knowledge and skills, and professional dispositions necessary to help all students learn. Assessments indicate that candidates meet professional, state, and institutional standards.

1.1 Candidate Knowledge, Skills, and Professional Dispositions

What do candidate assessment data tell the unit about candidates’ meeting professional, state, and institutional standards and their impact on P-12 student learning? For programs not nationally/state reviewed, summarize data from key assessments and discuss these results.

Content Knowledge for Teacher Candidates

The primary outcome for candidates in initial teacher preparation and advanced programs in the WCE is to be knowledgeable and proficient education professionals dedicated to improving schools and society (WCE Conceptual Framework). Recent assessment data provide evidence that WCE candidates are achieving these outcomes.

In 2009 initial teacher preparation programs and the MSA program were “revisioned” to align with new state standards. Advanced programs, with the exception of Ed. D, were later revisioned. Revisioning required collaboration with NCDPI, needs assessment, input from B-12 partners, and reflection on best practices for programs. Resulting blueprints include how programs operationalize and assess the knowledge, skills, and professional dispositions outlined in state and professional standards (2.4.g.28-54). All programs received state approval through 2016-2017 (1.4.a.1).

Initial teacher candidates demonstrate proficiency in standards through submission of a Program Evidences Folio that addresses content knowledge; pedagogical and professional knowledge, skills, and dispositions; positive impact on student learning; and leadership and collaboration (2.4.a.5). The Intern Performance Scale and Certification of Teaching Capacity (1.4.c.1-41), similarly address proficiencies in professionalism, classroom climate/culture, instruction, evaluation/assessment, and impact on student learning. Additional assessments include Praxis II, the WCE Performance Review process (1.4.f.1-11), exit, alumni, and employer surveys. In 2012-2013, 369 candidates successfully completed the Program Evidences Folio (1.4.d.12-66). As part of program assessment, faculty conducted program level reviews of a sample of folios in 2011-2012 and 2012-2013 to assess the extent to which folios demonstrated proficiency in student learning outcomes, using the NCDPI/McREL Rubric as a guide (2.4.a 17-18; 2.4.a19). Results for 2011-2012 indicate that candidates demonstrated proficiencies and that the quality of work was appropriate (2.4.g.3-16); 2012-2013 results will be compiled in fall 2013.

In 2012-2013 369 candidates met standards outlined in the Certification of Teaching Capacity; 98% passed Praxis II in 2011-2012. Intern Performance Scale results for 2012-2013 show a pattern of candidates moving from “Inadequate” and “Emerging” ratings at midterm to “Developed” and “Accomplished” at final evaluation (1.4.d.22-30). The highest final ratings were in categories of professionalism, classroom climate/culture, and impact on student learning. Results related to WCE Categories of Professional Dispositions mirror the results of all items (1.4.f.3); open-ended comments from supervisors were categorized according to disposition category and provide examples of how candidates demonstrated dispositions in clinical practice.

According to exit survey results, a majority of candidates believe their coursework and clinical practice provided them with the knowledge, skills, and professional dispositions to be successful education professionals (1.4.d.31-41). Candidates in EYC, EEL, EMG UG, and SPED gave the highest overall ratings to ethical standards of practice and professionalism, instructional planning, systematic reflection, and technology use (1.4.d.31). For SEC UG and MAT programs, the highest rated candidate proficiencies related to professional dispositions: standards of professional practice, reflection, leadership (1.4.d.27, 1.4.d.28; 1.4.d.30). EMG MAT candidates rated items in categories of academic content and pedagogy, ethical and professional standards, and reflective practice highest (1.4.d.19). Results related to WCE Categories of Professional Dispositions further indicate that candidates are particularly well-prepared in areas of ethical standards of practice and professionalism and are reflective practitioners (1.4.f.1-2). Exit surveys for spring 2013 included an open-ended item asking candidates to provide an example of their impact on student learning. Responses were categorized by the tenets of the WCE Conceptual Framework and provide examples of impacts on student learning that demonstrate candidate development as knowledgeable and proficient education professionals who work well with others, effectively engage learners, demonstrate appropriate professional dispositions, effectively assess learning, use research-based practices, value diversity in teaching and learning, integrate global perspectives, adopt/develop innovations, demonstrate an attitude of inquiry, develop nurturing environments, and engage in continual reflection  (1.4.g.1). Candidates demonstrate proficiency in assessment and analysis of P-12 student learning through Evidence 5 of the Program Evidences Folio (1.4.g.2).

Candidates in advanced programs for teachers and other school professionals demonstrate proficiency in state, professional, and institutional standards through capstone projects including comprehensive exams, portfolios, theses, and dissertations. Additional assessments include the WCE Performance Review process, exit surveys, alumni surveys, and employer surveys. In 2012-2013 43 candidates successfully completed capstone projects: 7 CIS theses, 2 EMG MED comprehensive exams, and 12 LL comprehensive exams, 18 MSA portfolios, and 4 Ed. D dissertations (1.4.d.67). Examples of capstone projects and other projects that demonstrate assessment and analysis of P-12 student learning are provided as exhibits (1.4.h.1-25; 1.4.g.1-24). As part of program assessment, faculty conducted program level reviews of a sample of capstone projects in 2011-2012 and 2012-2013 to assess the extent to which candidate work demonstrated proficiency in student learning outcomes (2.4.a.17-18). Results for 2011-2012 indicate that candidates evidenced proficiencies and that the quality of work was appropriate (2.4.g.2); 2012-2013 results will be compiled in fall 2013.

Exit surveys indicate that the majority of advanced candidates believe their programs helped them develop or better develop the knowledge, skills, and professional dispositions to be successful education professionals. The majority of LL candidates agreed or strongly agreed with all rating-scale items; all candidates strongly agreed that their teaching skills and reflective practitioner skills had improved (1.4.d.21). In 2011-2012, the majority of graduating MSA and Ed. D candidates agreed or strongly agreed that their knowledge, skills, and professional dispositions improved as a result of their programs. For MSA, the highest ratings were in data driven decision-making, reflective practice, and ethical and professional standards (1.4.d.41). For Ed. D, the highest ratings were in data driven decision-making, ethical and professional standards, and communication strategies (1.4.d.39).

Results of the spring WCE Alumni and Employer Feedback surveys further indicate that WCE graduates from initial and advanced programs are knowledgeable and proficient education professionals dedicated to improving schools and society. The majority of alumni agreed or strongly agreed with items related to their current application of the tenets of the WCE Conceptual Framework; most alumni similarly rated items related to preparation in those areas (1.4.i.1). Highest rated items related to current practice were: upholding ethical standards to ensure just and respectful educational practices; valuing diversity in teaching and learning; developing nurturing environments, positive relationships, and new ideas; engaging in continual reflection for learning, growth, and change. Highest rated items related to preparation were: helped me develop appropriate professional dispositions; increased/reinforced my dedication to improving schools; helped me develop the knowledge and skills needed to be a proficient education professional. Many alumni have earned National Board Certification, additional certifications/licensures, and teaching awards. Of their cited positive impacts on student learning, most were categorized as affective impacts/professional dispositions, school/grade level leadership, and classroom strategy/program implementation. The majority of employers agreed or strongly agreed with all items on the spring WCE Employer Feedback Survey (1.4.j.2). Highest rated items were: work well with others in the organization; have the knowledge and skills needed to be a proficient education professional; uphold ethical standards to ensure just and respectful educational practices; effectively engage learners; demonstrate appropriate professional dispositions and values. Employers noted particular strength in instructional strategies, knowledge of curriculum/content, and collaboration with colleagues.

NCDPI released data on how WCE teacher graduates were rated by their principals on the NC Professional Teaching Standards in their first three years of teaching (1.4.j.1). The majority were rated as “Proficient” or “Accomplished” on Standards 1 through 5. For Standard 6, the majority of graduates met or exceeded expected growth based on their students’ growth value. Based on a 2013 UNC Teacher Quality Research report, teachers from WCE performed at about the same level or better than teachers from other public and private in- and out-of-state universities. Middle school mathematics, elementary school reading, and elementary school science teachers performed notably well (1.4.k.2). In a 2011 report, a similar pattern was observed in middle school mathematics and elementary school reading, as well as all high school subjects (1.4.k.4).

1.2.b Continuous Improvement

In 2009 initial teacher preparation programs and the MSA program were “revisioned” to align with new state standards. Advanced programs, with the exception of Ed. D, were later revisioned. The revisioning process required collaboration with NCDPI, needs assessment and evaluation, input from B-12 partners, and reflection on best practices for programs. Resulting blueprints include data-based changes made to programs and how programs operationalize and assess the knowledge, skills, and professional dispositions outlined in current state and professional standards (2.4.g.28-54). For example, the EYC program identified the following as areas of need: infant/toddler early intervention procedures, laws, and skills; emphasis on play-based curriculum; understanding of kindergarten curriculum; and program coherence and delivery (2.4.g.28). In response to these needs, three courses were added to the program, four courses were deleted, and 2-credit hour courses were increased to 3-credit hours. In addition, the program increased use of technology and web-enhanced courses, initiated community partnerships, and developed a state-wide articulation with community colleges. Changes in the EEL program were based on candidate assessment; feedback data collected from candidates, internship supervisors, and faculty; and teacher education research and best practices (2.4.g.29). Changes included three semesters of field experience prior to clinical practice, two semesters of math methods, a 3-credit hour course in cultural arts, and a 1-credit hour seminar in classroom management. The SEC UG program in Social Studies significantly increased early supervised field experiences, increased emphasis on teaching diverse learners, adopted a cohort model, and highlighted the following expectation as a core program descriptor: “Candidates are expected to demonstrate through both verbal and nonverbal actions, classroom behaviors that are consistent with the ideas of fairness and the belief that all students can learn” (2.4.g.44). The MSA program made changes in course delivery methods, increased candidate time in the field, implemented best practices in course instructional strategies, developed a new model for licensure-only candidates, and integrated formative assessment of candidates throughout the program (2.4.g.53).

Continuous improvement, indicated by successful candidate performance and program quality since revisioned programs were first implemented in fall 2010, is supported by positive assessment results including: successful completion of Program Evidence Folios and MSA Portfolios by candidates (1.4.h.1-25); ratings on the Certification of Teaching Capacity indicating that initial candidates meet expected proficiencies; high final evaluation ratings of initial candidates on the Intern Performance Scale (1.4.d.22-30); high Praxis II pass rates (98% for 2011-2012); and overall positive results from exit surveys (1.4.d.12-21), alumni surveys (1.4.i.1), employer surveys (1.4.j.2), NCDPI data (1.4.j.1), and NC Teacher Quality Research reports (1.4.k.1-5).

With the exception of the Ed. D, advanced programs that result in licensure were revisioned in 2012 to align with state and national standards. Program blueprints include data-based changes made to programs and how programs operationalize and assess the knowledge, skills, and professional dispositions outlined in current state and professional standards (2.4.g.28-54). In addition, based on review of enrollment trends and needs assessment, M.Ed. programs in the WCE were consolidated from four programs to one degree program with specializations such as CIS, Higher Education, LL, EEL, EMG, and SEC (2.4.g.55). The three MAT programs were also consolidated into one MAT program with three specializations: EEL, EMG, and SEC. The rationale for the new structure was to maximize resources and be able to continually and consistently offer courses. Under the previous configuration, low enrollments often resulted in limited course offerings for candidates and/or offering courses with low enrollment. Finally, in 2012, the Ed. D program in Educational Leadership and Administration, developed two program strands, one in educational administration and one in curriculum and instruction, to better meet the needs of candidates. A third strand in Higher Education was added in 2013. Given the newness of revised advanced programs, it is early to tell if these continuous improvement efforts have contributed to candidate performance and program quality. However, preliminary data such as successful completion of capstone projects (1.4.d.67) and exit surveys (1.4.d.12-21) indicate positive outcomes. Enrollment in the Ed.D program more than doubled in 2012-2013 with the addition of the curriculum instruction strand and an extension site, from 13 newly enrolled candidates in fall 2011 to 44 newly enrolled candidates in fall 2012.

The WCE assessment process supports continuous improvement of candidate performance and program quality through an assessment cycle that is integrated into the work of programs. The process is described in the WCE Assessment System Handbook (2.4.a.1) and includes assessment of student learning outcomes and program outcomes. Data-based changes made to programs based on 2011-2012 program assessment results fell into the categories of changes to: courses-program of study (32), assessment (27), capstone project (23), communication-recruitment (15), clinical-field experiences (11), course format-delivery (8), and procedures (7) (2.4.g.2). Examples of specific changes based on program assessment results include: SPED incorporated Educating Language Minority Students grant resources into SED 375 (2.4.g.8); EEL increased field experience hours in Block (2.4.g.4); EMG UG revised Evidences 5 and 6 of the Program Evidences Folio to better address NC Professional Teaching Standards (2.4.g.6); SEC UG introduced the requirement that candidates complete a log to document communication with parents and community members during clinical practice (2.4.g.7); SEC MAT will require a formal portfolio defense in SEC 521 (2.4.g.10); EMG MAT redesigned EDN 520 to include covering more content and increased contact with candidates in clinical practice (2.4.g.9); CIS appointed a subcommittee of program faculty to revisit student learning outcomes and revise as needed (2.4.g.12); LL provided school placements needed for projects for candidates who are not currently teaching (2.4.g.14); EMG MED developed a professional portfolio that candidates will complete in place of the comprehensive exam (2.4.g.15); MSA embedded Hallmark projects completed for the MSA Portfolio into specific courses instead of having them completed across courses (2.4.g.16), and EDD developed a survey of internship hosts to determine their perceptions of candidate and program effectiveness, including benefits to host sites (e.g., business, international, school/government) (2.4.g.13). Results of 2012-2013 program assessment will be compiled at the beginning of fall semester 2013. The Assessment Director will meet with programs to discuss results and determine actions to be taken.

To sustain and enhance performance through continuous improvement, the WCE will continue to implement the WCE program assessment process. A revised process was adopted in spring semester 2012. As faculty become more familiar with the process, the cycle will become increasingly integrated into the culture of the WCE. In 2012-2013 the WCE Assessment and Accreditation Committee will provide unit-level review of program assessment reports. The WCE has also been working on assessment of professional dispositions. Although assessment results indicate that WCE candidates and graduates demonstrate notable proficiency in this area, many programs are focusing on better ways to assess these skills. In 2012-2013, the WCE Assessment and Accreditation Committee compiled information from programs to better understand what programs are currently doing to address and assess professional dispositions (1.4.e.1-5). They developed a template to be used by programs to document this work (1.4.e.12). Next steps are to get feedback from faculty on the template, make needed revisions, and implementation. Ongoing development and expansion of the WCE Database and Collaborative Portal also supports the continuous improvement efforts of the WCE. The database is described in the WCE Assessment System Handbook (2.4.a.1). Finally, with changes in programs, such as the consolidated M.Ed. program, and a newly adopted WCE Conceptual Framework, the programs of the WCE are evolving to meet the mission of the WCE and their identified outcomes. The WCE Assessment System is similarly evolving to ensure the mission of the WCE and tenets of the conceptual framework are directly assessed and that assessment aligns with changes in programs. A fall 2013 Program Coordinator meeting will be devoted to review of current program exit surveys and making needed revisions. A fall 2013 college-wide meeting session will be devoted to identifying concrete action steps and timelines to ensure the WCE effectively addresses all aspects of the WCE Conceptual Framework.



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