The Assessment and Accreditation Committee (AA) was created to manage the assessment system (PEARL) within the unit and to coordinate assessment processes among programs. The Director of Assessment and Accreditation, a half-time position in the unit except for the accreditation year when it becomes a fulltime position, brings proposed policy and practice changes to the AA Committee. These changes may be initiated at the program level, department level, or at the committee level (e.g., Curriculum Committee) consisting of faculty from initial and advanced programs within the unit. This structure provides feedback from all faculty and staff members within the unit. Once proposed changes are passed in the AA Committee, the changes are brought to the Council of Chairs. The Dean and department chairs disseminate information to program faculty. In this way, all changes in the assessment process are thoroughly reviewed and evaluated by all members of the unit, thus creating a vibrant assessment community.
Each program, through admissions, department and program meetings, portfolio review, and exit interviews evaluates and maintains records of candidate performance and documents actions taken that affect candidate continuation in the program. At each transition point of candidate progress, candidate performance is assessed in a variety of ways as represented in the key assessment matrix (Table 2.3.eh).
All programs have assessments processes and procedures for dealing with students of concern (Table 2.3.f). Data are systematically collected, analyzed, and evaluated on three different levels: candidate, program, and unit operations. At the candidate level, assessments in all programs occur at key points throughout candidates’ course of study including fieldwork.
The unit uses PEARL to improve candidate performance, program quality and unit operations. The Director of Assessment and Accreditation and the AA committee oversee the regular analysis, reflection, and improvement of learning across the initial and advanced programs in the unit. The AA Committee also seeks to answer the questions: Are there any gaps or flaws in the assessment system? Are there adequate resources to support a vibrant assessment system? Is the assessment system meaningful to program continuation and enhancement? Is the assessment system theoretically sound and consistent with our Mission, Conceptual Framework and its Performance Expectations and Dispositions?
At the unit level, the AA Committee undertook an analysis of the sources of bias in assessment procedures. The result has been the addition of articulated evidences of consistency, accuracy, and fairness (Table 2.3.c) in data collection and analysis in all key assessments with subsequent leadership of this process being assumed by faculty, program leads and department chairs.
The unit is committed to using data to make decisions at the candidate, program, and unit levels and, as a result, improving candidate performance and student learning. Thoughtful discussions raised concern that although program data were routinely collected, there was inconsistency within and across programs in analyzing data and using analyses to make programmatic decisions. The result was the inauguration of the Assessment Colloquia to permanently set a once-a-semester assessment day to review, discuss, and reflection on key assessment data, proposed solutions, and evaluation of results of program change. This process is relatively new, but seems to be working well. Assessment data clearly indicate that candidate performance is strong. But the data collected also indicates areas for improvement and opportunities for growth at the faculty, program and unit levels. As described earlier, data are shared with faculty, staff, candidates, advisory boards, administrators, and school partners to demonstrate that the unit has a genuine interest in the use of data for improvement.
Programs regularly examine key assessment data looking for areas of strength and growth. Our programs report these analyses in in the bi-annual Program Assessment Reports. Biennial Reports and Program Assessments Reports demonstrate the use of data to make decisions about candidates, programs and the Unit.
In tight budget times, when teacher and professional preparation are constrained on many fronts, our programs are strong. We see via our key assessment matrix (Table 2.3.eh) that the ideas and ideals of the Conceptual Framework and our Mission are strong and vital foundations in our programs. And always, we will strive to be better. We will not rest on our successes or current status, but continue to move toward even finer, more resonant and current preparation.
We have documented a strong assessment system with solid key assessments. At the unit level, we plan to report data on the School of Education website and continue to report data to the programs, chairs, Dean and Provost. Data reports are typically discussed at the
program and/or department level and will be discussed at the unit level through the bi-annual Assessment Colloquia.
The development of the unit’s Assessment Handbook was undertaken in Spring 2011 and will be fully reviewed and implemented in Fall 2011. The purpose of this Assessment Handbook is to describe in writing the unit’s assessment system so that all professional education faculty members in the unit are aware of and understand the system. The Assessment Handbook will aid in the collection, analysis and dissemination of key assessment data within the unit. Data are shared with candidates, faculty, and staff to promote reflection and to move toward a system of data-driven decision-making.
The unit created an electronic filing system in Moodle. Moodle is a Dynamic Learning Environment that is used by Sonoma State University for course development, instruction and easy availability of program materials and handbooks. Our School developed an electronic repository for our program information, meeting minutes, assessment system, program data, aggregation, analysis, and reflection. The goal is to have a permanent record of the unit and program’s strengths and to ensure positive change and growth.
Summary: Our unit is systematic in the use of data and has recently developed a system to use data to make positive changes at the program, department, and unit levels. We plan to improve the assessment system and refine it as well. Specifically, we will develop the Unit Assessment Handbook and use our collected data more effectively to improve our programs, and thus improve our teacher and professional personnel preparation.