The vision of the U of A Teacher Education is to be a leader in the preparation of educational professionals based on essential knowledge, evolving technology, research findings, and reflective practice in a diverse and dynamic global society. The University of Arkansas graduates are prepared to become: 1) Knowledgeable, 2) Skillful, 3) Caring, and 4) Professional educators in diverse educational settings who can balance the needs and aspirations of each learner with the expectations of an increasingly complex and technological society. Our educators are teachers, administrators, counselors, and other school professionals who value theory and research, understand that theory and practice are complementary and mutually reinforcing, and are committed to the enhancement of teaching, learning, and professional practice.
Educator Preparation Programs (EPPs) at the University of Arkansas believe in the nature of continuous improvement. It is through the cycles of assessment that all professional programs can evaluate their impact on their teacher candidates. This culture of assessment extends to the way candidates’ are prepared through their professional learning experiences.
Development and Refinement of the Assurance System
At the EPP’s last accreditation visit (Fall 2010), the assurance system was based on the scholar/practitioner model. These tenets guided the coursework and data was collected to support the system through Chalk and Wire. In 2017, the EPP began to look at their data collection system and reflect on the new CAEP standards as well at the InTASC standards.
In response to the feedback from students and professors, the EPP adopted a new electronic portfolio system based upon key assessments used to measure the attainment of InTASC standards. In the spring of 2018, input from the faculty and a range of sources such as candidates, university supervisors, and the University Teacher Education Board provided rich and detailed insights about what we assess and why we assess. Modifications to the assurance system included the development of key transition points and data collected along the way to inform key decisions throughout the process.
Characteristics of the Assurance System
- Candidates’ knowledge, skills, professional dispositions and their impact on P-12 learning are assessed systematically and continuously at critical points.
- The Assurance System is comprised of multiple measures to monitor candidate progress, completer achievements, and EPP operational effectiveness.
- The system consists of EPP-wide assessments as well as assessments that are program specific.
- The system consists of proprietary and EPP-created assessments.
- The system consists of course-embedded assessments as well as assessments that are not linked to course-work.
- Multiple assessments are used to assess candidate performance.
- Data are systematically and regularly collected, aggregated and analyzed to measure expected competencies candidates.
- The expected competencies are based and derived from the InTASC standards and reflect the goals of the EPP.
- Data from internal and external sources are used to make decisions about candidates’ admission, retention, program completion, and graduation.
- Assessments and rubrics are developed, piloted, modified as needed, and utilized to determine candidates’ levels of performance.
- Programs and EPP operations are evaluated and modified based on data collected and analyzed.
- Data are disaggregated for individual programs as well as for different levels of programs (undergraduate and post-baccalaureate initial programs).
- Data are shared with all stakeholders: administrators, faculty, candidates, and school partners through established mechanisms: annual reports, EPP and department meetings and retreats, committees, advisory groups, etc.