Skip to Main Content

Logo: NCATE - The Standard of Excellence in Teacher Preparation
You are in the main content

Standard One

Standard 1. 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 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.

In order to insure that our candidates meet professional, state and institutional standards, curriculum and assessments have been designed to align with JMU's Conceptual Framework unit outcomes, specialized professional association competencies, program goals, and applicable Virginia Department of Education endorsement competencies. These competencies/outcomes are also aligned with NCATE standards.

Standardized test scores are used as one measure of content knowledge in the initial programs. Passing Praxis I scores are required at admission, and passing the Praxis II is a licensing requirement for most programs. As reflected in our Title II report, our 100% pass rate suggests that our candidates possess the content knowledge required to teach all students. In addition, minimum grade point averages are required for admission and retention in all programs.

Evaluation and assessment of candidate performance is completed at the program and the unit level across five areas: Content Knowledge, Pedagogical Content and Professional Knowledge, Dispositions, Impact on Student Learning and Diversity. Data reviewed at both the unit level, through presentations and discussions at the Professional Education Coordinating Council (PECC) and at unit-wide meetings, and at the program level through departmental/program meetings and retreats, inform our decision making and program planning.

Across the unit, initial licensure candidate performance data is analyzed using a specifically developed instrument, the ST-9 (Student Teaching Evaluation Form). A comprehensive observation tool, the ST-9, provides data at both the program and unit level on candidates' content knowledge, pedagogical content and professional knowledge, dispositions, impact on student learning, and diversity competencies. Candidate mean scores on all five areas suggest that candidates meet or exceed unit competencies. The mean scores, on a three point scale, range from 2.88 for diversity to 2.96 for dispositions. These data gathered from the ST-9 validate the data gathered from the key assessments identified by each program and provide evidence of candidates' knowledge skills and dispositions across the same five areas. Success on these measures is a requirement for continued progress through each program's transition points.

Scoring scales used in the evaluation of the key assessments vary across the programs. Many of the key assessments have subsets that relate to professional organizations and/or program-specific competencies. Candidate performance is assessed on the range of items for each subset. The resultant data indicate if a candidate did not meet expectations on one or more subsets; the data may reflect individual candidate performance on a specific item or set of items and not performance on the entire key assessment.

If candidates meet or exceed expectations on subset scores of the assessments, no intervention is necessary. However, if a candidate has challenges in any of the subsets, faculty may provide remediation opportunities.

Taken holistically, the data derived from the program-level assessments support the unit data. Candidates' performance on the key assessments suggest that they overwhelmingly met the expected competencies of the programs. This may be in large part because of the mastery learning strategies that are stressed and implemented across the unit.

Follow-up surveys of completers, alumni, and employers also provide data on candidate performance. Over the past three years, 84-87% of the Virginia public school principals surveyed indicated that JMU graduates "very often" exhibit behaviors indicating they know the subject matter they teach, understand best pedagogical and professional knowledge, and reflect the dispositions that support diversity and the belief that all students can learn.

JMU offers three graduate degree programs for the advanced preparation of teachers: an M.A. in Art Education; an M.M. with a concentration in Music Education; and an M.Ed. in Mathematics. The M.Ed. in Mathematics, the only program being not reviewed by an external accrediting body, has identified key assessments across the five unit focus areas. Course grades are used to gauge candidate content knowledge. Of the 29 grades earned by eight students in these courses between fall 2008 and spring 2010, the mean GPA across the courses was a 3.6 out of 4.0, the median grade was an A-, the modal grade was A-, and the range was B- to A. Specific sections of the Teacher Work Sample are used to document candidates' performance. This program is in its infancy, and we have data on only four candidates to date. Performances are typically at the acceptable level; however, given the low N and also the limited data, the faculty are taking into consideration any potential implications. No curricular or program revisions have been made as of the writing of this report, but that may change as data continue to be gathered.

Programs for the advanced preparation of teachers and the preparation of other school professionals have identified key assessments that provide evidence of candidates' knowledge and skills and their ability to impact student learning and establish educational environments that support student learning. These include performance in practica and other projects such as: assignments that demonstrate leadership abilities, ability to critically reflect and analyze student data, conduct applied research, and design school projects. A broad range of assessment tools have been developed to reflect the unique expectations of each program.

Educational Leadership candidates complete a principalship project, which is scored from 1(low) to 5 (high) on seven criteria. The instructor works closely with candidates throughout the development of the project and is able to offer assistance throughout the process. All of the candidates earned final mean scores of 4 or above.

Programs have used a variety of dispositional measures to assess candidate's ability to work well with others and create supportive learning environments. All initial candidates must submit two references that focus on dispositions that are expected of candidates in professional education as part of the admission process for acceptance in teacher education. Candidates who have a pattern of negative evaluation items are identified in the application process; the program is informed so that faculty can monitor these candidates when they start the licensure courses. At the end of their program, the ST-9 includes indicators of professional dispositions.

Continued progress in programs requires that candidates exhibit professional dispositions in field placements as well as university classrooms. Departmental review of candidates at the conclusion of each semester may bring to light specific concerns that are addressed one-on-one with the candidate. The unit's goal is to support candidate mastery learning and demonstration of the expected knowledge, skills, and dispositions of the programs.

Survey data from alumni and employers indicate that JMU graduates demonstrate appropriate professional behaviors, including the belief that all children can learn. However, the PEU continues to believe that a formal, unit process measuring proficiencies as the candidates progress through the programs is critical. In spring 2011, the unit adopted a new disposition rubric that will be used across all programs. This will be piloted during fall 2011 with the intention of refining and developing the unit wide plan for full implementation fall 2012.

Educational Technology and Educational Leadership programs are currently developing their own survey that will provide feedback on the success of their candidates in their eventual employment settings. They expect to begin surveying stakeholders in fall 2011. Since the M.Ed. in Mathematics cohorts have been small and that program often engages in activities with Secondary Education, to date those candidates have been included in the overall unit surveys. Similarly, Reading Specialist M.Ed. candidates are included in unit surveys. The Math Specialist program has not had graduates yet, but that program is in the process of identifying a suitable follow-up survey methodology.

School Psychology surveyed its 2000-2003 graduates in preparation for a NASP visit. Satisfaction with the program, quality of advising, and resulting career options was high. James Madison University does not offer support with graduate level follow-up surveying so the School Psych program, like other programs, has struggled to establish regular procedures for following up with graduates. Nonetheless, following up with alumni occurs on a less formal basis (e.g. bi-annual newsletter and alumni events at a national annual conference).

1.2.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 unit Standard 1.

The Commonwealth of Virginia has made significant changes to its program approval process, and during the 2008-09 academic year, documentation on all existing licensure programs was forwarded to the Virginia Department of Education for review. In January 2010, the Virginia Department of Education notified the College of Education that all educator licensure programs were fully approved under the newly-adopted biennial measure standards. These standards include candidate progress and performance on prescribed Board of Education licensure assessments, with a required passing rate of 70% for individuals completing and exiting the program and achievement of an 80% biennial passing rate required by July 1, 2010. Candidates' test scores were submitted to the Board of Education in July 2009 and will be submitted again in September 2011.

Additional biennial standards include candidate progress and performance on an assessment of basic skills as prescribed by the Board of Education for individuals seeking entry into an approved education preparation program. Indicators for this standard include results on prescribed entry-level assessments and documentation that candidates who fail to achieve a minimum score have the opportunity to address any deficiencies. In response to this standard, a peer tutoring program for Praxis 1 was developed to provide additional support to students who might fail to achieve the required Praxis 1 score and did not have the requisite SAT scores to exempt this entry-level assessment. Data are gathered on the level of support provided and the resultant performance by the candidates. Pass rates for participating candidates indicate that the peer tutoring program does have a positive impact.

To address the state biennial standards focused on structured and integrated field experiences, the unit continues to gather data on candidate performance and the quality of field experiences through assessments such as the ST-9 and surveys. Information from these sources is then used at both the program and the unit level to consider any needed changes in field experiences. As a result of this process, several changes have occurred. For example, the Education Support Center initiated on-line training modules for cooperating teachers in order to provide them with current and accessible information. Programs in the Department of Middle, Secondary and Mathematics Education (MSSE) noted that there was a need to support candidates' work on Teacher Work Samples and have increased the level of faculty involvement in supervision of field experiences. To assist with coordination of elementary education field experiences, program faculty have developed explanations of various field experience expectations and goals and have worked on clustering both practicum and student teachers.

In addition, in keeping with the unit focus to prepare candidates to work in diverse educational environments, additional field experience sites were developed in Richmond and Williamsburg, practicum and service learning opportunities were provided by the Career Development Academy and 21st Century grant-funded programs, and additional options for international student teaching were explored. These opportunities expand our candidates' experiences in diverse settings that enhance our already diverse communities.

A need to develop a shared response to teaching English Language Learners resulted in the formation of the English Language Learner Academy, which allowed the college to bring all of its English language learning resources together. ELLA spent a very productive year developing curriculum and beginning the approval process for a four-year undergraduate minor in TESL with an initial endorsement in ESL and a five-year program that results in an MAT in TESL.

Faculty from two of our approved licensure programs - early childhood and early childhood special education engaged in extended examination of their programs and the needs of our school partners and determined that the development of a dual licensure program, Inclusive Early Childhood Education, would best serve the needs of our candidates and the children and families they serve. The first full cohort of candidates began in the fall 2010. Program goals and curriculum have been aligned with state and national standards and course content has been further defined. Key assessments have been identified and review of these will continue.

The MEd Reading Specialist program has been aligned with national and state standards and key assessments have been defined. This program was revitalized in 2008 and is offered off-campus using a cohort model. The first cohort of 25 completed the program in spring 2011, with 50 candidates currently pursuing Reading Specialist licensure through this program at three different locations and the potential for a fourth to start Fall 2011.

Since summer 2009, Dr. Kidd, (Learning, Technology, & Leadership Education Department) has expanded the Educational Leadership program and added three more Educational Leadership Outreach cohort programs, in Winchester/Fredrick County, Harrisonburg/Rockingham County, and Martinsville, VA. Total enrollment in these programs now exceeds 65 graduate students.

Utilization of technology to support the assessment and evaluation of programs has expanded. Not only have the unit's teacher licensure programs begun documentation of candidate progress and performance through the use of key assessments in Tk20, non-licensure programs in the college (i.e. Adult and Human Resource Development) are taking advantage of the electronic Tk20 system.

The Educational Technology Master's Program has been redesigned under the leadership of Drs. Karen Kellison and Michelle Estes. Under the leadership provided by Educational Technology, an Emerging Technologies Lab has been established in Memorial Hall 3320, and the undergraduate educational media minor has been revised.

Two new licensure areas, an M.Ed. for K-8 math specialists developed through a partnership between the College of Education and the College of Math and Science and Dance Arts (P-12) have been fully approved by the VDOE within the past three years. While both are small programs at this time, it is anticipated that they will grow and meet the diverse needs of our candidates and the schools we serve.

The Assessment Progress Template (APT), an annual program review process, required by the university, often results in the development of data from multiple sources that may lead to significant revisions to existing programs and the development and delivery of several new programs for teachers and other school professionals. Programs' use of these data has led to several curricular changes. While the APTs provide valuable information for program improvement, a more integrated process for sharing the APT information across the unit is needed. In developing unit and program data sites, it is our expectation that deeper and richer discussions will result.

The ST-9 represents a valuable and consistent source of unit and program data. During discussions of unit and program data, faculty and others have expressed a desire to review and possibly revise this instrument. Such discussions will continue, and it is anticipated that a recommendation to form a task force to review this instrument will be brought to PECC for consideration during the fall 2011 semester.