NCATE Accreditation

Continuous Improvement

3.2.b  Continuous Improvement

Summarize activities and changes based on data that have led to continuous improvement of candidate performance and program quality. Discuss plans for sustaining and enhancing performance through continuous improvement as articulated in this standard.

1) Increased communication and collaboration with partners.

SOE hired a centralized field placement coordinator to make all placements for candidates in initial programs, in collaboration with program coordinators, university supervisors and undergraduate subject matter advisors and school site partners. She acts as the university point-of-contact for all our partner schools and agencies in matters related to fieldwork. This change has addressed our K-12 school partners’ previous concerns about the coordination of student teacher placements between the two departments and the need for more streamlined communication processes.

With each of our district partners, we have established a communication system that satisfies the needs of both partners. For example, our largest school district partner experiences regular administration changes in the district. This challenge became compounded when we realized that university forms with site administrator approval of cooperating teachers were not updated frequently enough to reflect the frequent administrative changes. Together with the district, we identified the gap in the shared decision-making process and revised the process to address the concern.

School site partners regularly provide input on aspects of clinical practices experiences, including evaluation instruments. For example, based on feedback from recent alumni and practicing administrators, the Educational Leadership program transformed its approach to supervision of candidates and revised the content of field-based syllabi.

In CMSD, candidates, clinical instructors, site supervisors and faculty now use a newly launched web-based data management system that allows students to electronically record their clinical contact hours and specific hours working with diverse populations, and allows them to submit their Student Evaluations of Supervisors and Sites.

2) Focused attention on clinically based design principles that reflect best practice.

The Rural Teacher Residency program just ended the forth year of a five-year TQP grant. RTR has set an example of a comprehensive partnership between the SOE and designated high-need rural schools. RTR was designed to improve the preparation of new teachers, to address high-need rural schools, and to improve the achievement of all students. As the grant funding nears an end, we have continued to identify ways to sustain and replicate the model.

For the past three years, we have piloted a secondary co-teaching program called MASCOT: Math and Science Special Education Co-Teaching. Beginning as a small pilot, the program has continued to grow in demand and size. Future plans include identifying partner schools for co-teaching pilots at each initial program level (Multiple, Single, Ed specialist, Bilingual). Partners will participate in the training, design and implementation of the co-teaching pilot to begin in 2014-2015. Training all initial program supervisors in co-teaching practices (summer 2014).

Plans to seek additional Teacher Quality Partnership Grant funding are also underway. The unit will be submitting a proposal (summer 2014, October start date, if funded) for a recently designed collaborative project called PRISMS Project: Promoting Rural Improvement in Secondary Mathematics and Science. PRISMS represents a partnership of CSU, Chico, local rural school districts, county offices of education, and a community college district. As a comprehensive reform initiative, PRISMS includes a Residency in Secondary Education (RiSE) a post-baccalaureate teaching residency program leading to a secondary credential in math, science, English language arts, or special education and a master’s degree. This program will include classroom-based action research and full-time, intensive clinical experience working with carefully selected mentor teachers and using a co-planning/co-teaching model.

3) Development of instruments and assessments to continuously measure candidates’ progress and evaluate elements of our preparation programs, based on data.  These changes include:

  • Subject matter entry requirements. In order to ensure that qualified candidates receive quality placements, we have established cut dates by which candidates have to meet all admission requirements including subject matter competence prior start field placements.
  • Performance Assessment for California Teachers (PACT). Since 2007-2008 when all initial Multiple and Single Subject programs adopted the Performance Assessment for California Teachers (PACT), the unit has continued to refine this assessment process and create a culture where data is regularly used to inform all programs. This year for the first time SPED programs are piloting PACT, although the teaching performance assessment is not yet required for education specialists in CA.
  • Classroom Environment Survey. The unit jointly developed a Classroom Environment Survey for candidates to provide feedback on the ways in which their school placements reflect the mission and vision of the unit, provide opportunities for professional growth. The instrument was jointly developed with school partners including local teacher union representatives.
  • Disposition survey. For purposes of program improvement, a survey designed to gather feedback on candidates’ perception of where and how they were supported in their disposition development throughout the program, including fieldwork.
  • Exit surveys.  Locally developed surveys (including MA in Ed) and Classroom Environment Survey (Clinical Practice Environment Survey) have been modified to measures opportunities for candidates to use technology in field placements.
  • Rubrics. Revised TPE rubric to reflect Common Core and EL standards and shared with school site partners for feedback. The instrument was also modified to reflect additional SPED components not reflected in the TPEs. Currently used across all initial programs.

4) Strengthening field experiences and clinical practice. These changes include:

  • Mentor/ CT Professional Development. Increased support for those who serve in cooperating teacher/mentoring roles has taken many forms. For example, this past year the unit sponsored workshops on (initial programs) supervision related to Teacher Performance Expectations and new English Learner standards.  Plans for fall 2014 include a workshop for cooperating teachers/mentors, jointly designed. Professional development opportunities have been regularly shared with school partners. For example, at Dr. Yvette Jackson’s workshop on Helping Underserved Students to Thrive cooperating teachers/mentors served as experts on a panel.
  • Increased use of technology to support candidates across all programs in their field experiences. For example, interns in fieldwork for Education Specialist Program experience at least one video observation using Swvl Cam technology and “bug in the ear.” All SPED supervisors have been trained to use this technology, also supported through BbLearn. Supervisors also use video conferencing. Redesigned course delivery on evenings and weekends allows greater access and emphasis on clinical experiences.
  • Advanced program fieldwork. The MA in Ed program has increased the quality and quantity of opportunities to apply coursework in classroom settings.  Assignments include an Equity Study in EDMA 600, Critical Perspectives in Education, and an Action Research Project in EDCI 601, Curriculum Development and Instructional Design. In EDCI 602, Assessment and Evaluation of Learning, candidates analyze P-12 student work.
  • Carefully regulated diversity placements. With the development of centralized placement data, the unit can now assure that candidates have at least one placement in a school with over 10% English learners and at least one placement in a school in which over 50% of students are socioeconomically disadvantaged as defined by the percentage of students receiving free or reduced lunch. Additional plans for 2014-2015 include assuring diversity data down to the student level per classroom.
  • Enhancing field experiences with diversity. Because diverse placements pose a challenge in our vast rural region, particularly in advanced programs, candidate experiences with diverse settings are enhanced by diversity field trips to schools other than their own that serve a diverse population of students. Candidates complete a pre- and post visit reflection, share their written reflection(s) with their Field Supervisor, and include their written reflection in their portfolio. Additionally, virtual “Field Trips” in class provide experiences with diverse populations, such as the panel composed of local tribe school administrators and teachers. Following these experiences, candidates reflect on and revise their espoused theories and discuss ways to integrate their new perspectives into school leadership roles.

5) Increased focus on student learning.

Since the 2007-2008 when all initial programs in the unit adopted the Performance Assessment for California Teachers (PACT), teacher preparation at CSU Chico has continued to focus more on student learning. Initial credential programs have continually refined course and field experiences to focus on P-12 learning and provide additional practice opportunities throughout. For example, methods courses have added lesson study methodologies, assignments that ask students to analyze P-12 work, and experiences with professional learning communities. In Practicum II, seminars continue to guide students in monitoring student achievement. In advanced programs, for example, the EDAD program continually updates its extensive field-based culminating course, EDAD 615, Field-based Accountability: Managing for Learning to focus on student learning and success.