Author Archives: Diana Lys

Ellen Dobson

Dr. Ellen Dobson Serves on National Taskstream Panel

Photos Courtesy of Taskstream

In June 2015, Dr. Ellen Dobson, Assistant Director in the COE Office of Assessment and Accreditation, was an invited panelist at Taskstream’s CollabEx Live in New York City. Dr. Dobson participated on a panel addressing CAEP standards and program assessment with Mel Horton of Central Connecticut State University and Courtney Peagler of Taskstream. She also led a roundtable discussion on the use of Taskstream in preparation for the CAEP accreditation process.

In addition to serving on  the panel, Dr. Dobson was also recently recognized as a Taskstream Knowledge Ambassador. This group is a collection of Taskstream clients and advocates who are especially committed to advancing assessment and continuous improvement on their campuses. They work together to promote dialogue and engagement around best practices in assessment.

ECU has used Taskstream since 2009.

Ellen Dobson Leading Discussion

edTPA

edTPA Data Help Ensure Readiness to Teach

Dr. Diana Lys, Director of the Office of Assessment and Accreditation

I recently had the pleasure and honor of delivering the keynote address for the 2015 edTPA Mid-Atlantic Implementation Conference in Towson, Maryland. As a longtime supporter and champion of observation- and performance-based educator preparation and assessment, I was eager to share with peers from across the nation who are at different places on their journey with edTPA.

First, I wanted to commend each person for being there. By the virtue of their attendance and leadership, participants were helping shift the negative tone of dialogue around teacher preparation by highlighting innovative practices and committing to positive change. At the core of the narrative is a shared rallying call to ensure each teacher candidate enters tomorrow’s classroom ready to teach.

Quality teacher preparation matters, and too much external criticism of teacher preparation exists for the field to be fighting against itself. As a field, we have a moral obligation to prepare the best possible beginning teachers for school children; to ensure each graduate is ready for his or her first day of school. edTPA is a positive, uniting step forward.

For example, teacher educators are practically drowning in data. Yet what are we doing with it? In a program without actionable teacher candidate performance data, program improvement efforts often lack momentum or direction. At East Carolina University, our faculty were convinced our students were well prepared, but we couldn’t prove it. Something was missing. That something was a shared, validated summative assessment confirming the program’s outcomes.

Common Data Get Oars “Rowing in Unison”

Today, we use edTPA data to plan our program-improvement journey. By using a common performance assessment, all of the institution’s oars begin rowing in unison. The educative nature of edTPA helps programs to identify strengths and gaps and offers direction for improvements.

edTPA data help to build a culture of inquiry; again, the educative nature of edTPA has a uniting power for faculty, bringing them together to examine candidate portfolios and to assess their programs at a deeper level. In many ways, edTPA helped to break down the tall, isolating silos in teacher education.

edTPA is one improvement that launched others. We are developing new embedded signature assessments as formative metrics prior to edTPA. We are reconceptualizing our clinical practice through a 2:1 coteaching model, and early data and partner feedback are very positive.

As director of assessment and accreditation, I can’t underscore enough the power and value of edTPA in our accreditation process for the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation—a process that builds like a wave. edTPA was an essential uniting factor across our educator preparation programs, allowing us to surf that wave rather than letting it pummel us into the sand. With the right leadership, edTPA:

  • Provides valid and reliable candidate performance data
  • Fosters a culture of evidence in your teacher preparation program
  • Informs evidence-based program improvement

Let’s Not Waste Our Time

In a recent commencement speech to her son’s graduating class, ABC news correspondent Martha Raddatz said, “Don’t waste your time on those who don’t bring out the best in you.”

Similarly, let’s not waste our time on assessments that don’t bring out the best in our candidates and our programs. Let’s not waste our time on assessments that don’t inform our program improvement efforts and that fail to drive our programs in a positive direction.

Let’s focus the energy of our people, our program improvement efforts, and our analysis on data that are valid, reliable, and content and context specific.

And finally, let’s not be silent about what is best—what matters for the field. Make our voices heard as we endeavor to expand our reach with edTPA—blog, tweet, post, share your stories.

This article was also published to the EdPrepMatters blog at http://edprepmatters.net/2015/06/member-voices-edtpa-data-help-ensure-readiness-to-teach/

BoB

Sampson County Battle of the Books Team Led by Coaches with COE Connections

For the first time in Sampson County Schools history, a Battle of the Books (BOB) team will be one of the eight teams competing in the State competition. Over 500 teams across North Carolina read a list of books and competed in quiz-bowl-style tournaments. Roseboro-Salemburg Middle School is the first team in Sampson County to place first in both the District and Region 4 competitions.

The Roseboro-Salemburg Middle School team is led by two of East Carolina University’s own. Catina Iverson, the school’s media specialist, is a current recipient of the Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian Grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services and is a candidate in the Master of Library Science program. Olivia Hall, a sixth grade language arts teacher, is a 2011 Teaching Fellow and Summa Cum Laude graduate of East Carolina’s Middle Grades Education program with a concentration in language arts and social studies.

The middle school team will be representing Region 4 at the State competition on May 15th, 2015.

COE Faculty Reflect Upon edTPA Experiences

CIE

In December 2014, Drs. Diana Lys, Mark L’Esperance, Ellen Dobson, and Ann Bullock published Large-Scale Implementation of the edTPA: Reflections upon Institutional Change in Action in Current Issues in Education about their experiences implementing the edTPA performance assessment in a large teacher preparation program. Current Issues in Education is published by Arizona State University.

The article does not focus on the edTPA itself, rather it reflects upon the challenges and opportunities teacher preparation program face as they implement and embed edTPA. Key areas of reflection included organizational structures and processes; program and faculty readiness; and data use for program improvement.

The edTPA is the summative assessment associated with the Pirate CODE – ECU’s Transformation Initiative (TI) for the upcoming CAEP accreditation visit. In alignment with the goals of the ECU TI, the publication of this work serves as another example of how the Pirate CODE’s  R&D model leading to quality scholarly contributions to the teacher preparation knowledge base.

Throwback Thursday-CAEP Prep: ECU’s Pirate CODE Process

The ECU Pirate CODE features a set of seven coordinated innovations linked throughout the teacher education curriculum and clinical practice. Each innovation is evolving through a series of carefully planned stages, to institutionalize each innovation in the Department of Elementary Education and Middle Grades Education. Once refined and data analysis proves it an effective model, the innovation is scaled up and implemented in other teacher preparation programs across the EPP.

TIThe stages of the ECU Pirate CODE begin with small scale, squishy pilots and more through a carefully planned set of stages to refine, study, and expand the innovation.

Since the submission and approval of the Pirate CODE, the Research on Practice model has evolved within the unique and complete context of the ECU EPP. The language of the model has morphed into an implementation language from the original descriptors rooted in the R&D research literature. The Pirate CODE TI and model have been presented in multiple venues across the EPP and at the American Educational Research Association (AERA) Division K Research Summit as well as at an invited session to the 2014 AERA Annual Meeting.

#ECU_CAEPisComing

CAEP Prep: ECU Conceptual Framework being Reviewed

Conceptual FrameworkThe East Carolina University Conceptual Framework is a guiding document for the programs within the Educator Preparation Provider (EPP) unit at the institution. It applies to all programs which prepare candidate to work in PK-12 school settings and all faculty who contribute to those programs. The current ECU Conceptual Framework was approved by the Council for Teacher Education in 2005.

“Aligned with the mission statements of East Carolina University, the College of Education, and the Educator Preparation Provider unit, the conceptual framework represents the vision that drives the work of all administrators, faculty, and candidates. Through our commitment to excellence through partnership, our efforts to prepare reflective education professionals dedicated to democratic principles and practices, including the empowerment of all learners in all aspects of educational decision-making, define the core of this vision. The conceptual framework is responsive to the changing needs in education and allows for adjustments in the unit’s priorities without altering the entire framework. Current priorities include enhanced emphasis on the areas of diversity, assessment, technology, and research.”

In Spring 2014, the Council for Teacher Education took up a re-examination of the current Conceptual Framework. The timing of the re-examination coincided with the approval of the new ECU Mission Statement and led to the distribution of a survey to all EPP faculty as it considered the future of the current document.

in December 2014, the Council for Teacher Education decided to form an Ad hoc Committee to address potential revisions to the ECU Conceptual Framework to make it more reflective of the EPP’s evolving role as a national leader in clinical practice, service, and other areas discussed by CTE representatives. The Ad hoc Committee will commence its work in January 2014.

Follow this hyperlink for more information on the ECU Conceptual Framework.

#ECU_CAEPisComing

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CAEP Prep: What is the ECU Provost’s Council?

First established in 2006, the ECU Provost’s Council on Teacher Education unites educator preparation efforts at the University. Coming out of the Teachers for New Era movement, the original focus of the Council was developing collaboration between teacher education and the arts and sciences. Today, the Provost’s Council’s focus has broadened to include all educator preparation programs at ECU, yet still centers on collaboration across the campus to prepare candidates.

The Provost’s Council on Teacher Education includes the Provost, the deans of the colleges which house Educator Preparation Provider (EPP) programs, the dean of the ECU Graduate School, and key faculty and administrators in the College of Education, including the Executive Director of Teacher Education and the Director of Assessment and Accreditation.

Educator preparation programs at ECU reside in the following colleges:

  • College of Allied Health Sciences
  • College of Fine Arts and Communication
  • College of Human Ecology
  • College of Education
  • College of Health and Human Performance
  • Harriot College of Arts and Sciences

The Provost’s Council meets quarterly to address EPP issues related to accreditation, enrollment, funding, and planning. More information is available on the Provost’s Council and EPP Leadership and Authority webpage.

The Provost’s Council is evidence of how the EPP at ECU meets NCATE Standard 6: Unit Governance and Resources.

#ECU_CAEPisComing

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What is an AFI? Areas for Improvement from NCATE 2006

During the 2006 NCATE accreditation visit, the Educator Preparation Provider (EPP) unit at ECU received three AFIs or Areas for Improvement. According to the NCATE Glossary, an Area for Improvement is:

A statement cited by the Board of Examiners or the Unit Accreditation Board indicating that a unit has not met expected levels of achievement in one or more elements of a standard. The Board of Examiners may cite one or more areas for improvement and still recommend that the standard is met.

The EPP at ECU received one AFI in Standard 2: Assessment System and Unit Evaluation, and two AFIs in Standard 4: Diversity. Specifically, they are:

AFI in Standard 2: Assessment System and Unit Evaluation:

  • The assessment system does not certify that faculty regularly and systematically analyze data composites in order to improve programs and unit operations. (ITP and ADV)

AFI for Standard 4: Diversity:

  • Commitments to diversity are not consistently aligned in curriculum, instruction, and assessment. (ITP only)
  • Candidates have limited opportunities to interact with faculty members from diverse backgrounds. (ITP and ADV)

Since 2006, the EPP has worked diligently to address each AFI and reports on its progress to date in the CAEP Annual Report. Future 2015 CAEP Preparation Blog posts will address how the EPP has tackled each AFI.

#ECU_CAEPisComing

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ICYMI: Implementing edTPA in Small Teacher Prep Programs

In small teacher preparation programs, the issue of implementation and scale-up of using a standardized performance assessment, like edTPA, can be challenging.  Peck and McDonald (2013) found one of the most significant outcomes of implementing a standardized performance assessment was faculty-initiated change. In small teacher preparation programs – those with five or fewer faculty and approximately 30 graduates annually – how do faculty lead systemic change in an edTPA implementation with fidelity and rigor?

At the 2013 edTPA Implementation Conference in San Diego, four ECU teacher education faculty shared their experiences and how each is initiating change through their edTPA implementation.

  • Barbara Brehm, Birth through Kindergarten Education
  • Ann Bullock, Middle Grades Education
  • Sharilyn Steadman, English Education
  • Michele Wallen, Health Education

Faculty shared models of communication, the development of common signature assessments, content-specific sticking points, and early successes as part of the session.  These programs proved that big change can be had with a small, committed team of faculty focused on a common goal.

Learn more about their experiences through video interviews posted on the ECU Pirate CODE-edTPA website or on the national edTPA website at 2013 National edTPA Implementation Conference.

edTPA is a teacher candidate performance assessment used in all initial teacher preparation programs at ECU, supporting the EPP’s efforts to meet NCATE Standards 1 and 2.

#ECU_CAEPisComing

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ICYMI: Now What? Using edTPA Data to Drive Program Improvement

With edTPA implementations growing nationwide, it is imperative that teacher preparation programs explore meaningful ways to feed that data back to faculty for program and unit improvement.  Key to this work is engaging faculty in edTPA data analysis and examining issues and trends across content areas, program pathways, and portfolio components.  Peck and McDonald (2013) found one of the most significant outcomes of implementing a standardized performance assessment was faculty-initiated change; therefore, creating venues for faculty to engage with, analyze, and dialogue about edTPA data is critical.

At the 2013 edTPA Implementation Conference, ECU faculty—Drs. Diana Lys, Kristen Cuthrell, and Ellen Dobson—highlighted how the large teacher preparation program at East Carolina University uses edTPA data to inform program-level and unit-level decision making.  Presenters shared two models of data use: 1) at the program level with a focus on student learning outcomes and continuous program improvement; and 2) a data summit at the unit level where faculty from across teacher education programs examined collective issues and identified action items for to drive unit improvement.

Conference organizers approached Drs. Diana Lys, Kristen Cuthrell, and Ellen Dobson to interview them about their session and related edTPA experiences. Video clips from these interviews are available on the ECU Pirate CODE-edTPA website or on the national edTPA website at 2013 National edTPA Implementation Conference.

edTPA is a teacher candidate performance assessment used in all initial teacher preparation programs at ECU, supporting the EPP’s efforts to meet NCATE Standards 1 and 2.

#ECU_CAEPisComing