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1a. Content Knowledge for Teacher Candidates

1a.1.      Describe how candidates will be prepared to pass the state content assessment for each program. 

The unit uses the following procedures and assessments to ensure that program content prepares teacher candidates in Early Childhood Education, Middle Grades Education (MGE), Secondary (SEC) Math and English Education, and Post Baccalaureate MGE, SEC English and Math with the applicable content knowledge in their areas of specialization, as well as the pedagogical knowledge and skills to enable them to be effective instructors.

Syllabi/course Alignment with Georgia’s PSC Program Standards:  All Division of Education syllabi, as well as the syllabi of the Division of Arts and Sciences content courses that the teacher candidate takes as part of their course progression are aligned.  The Assessment Review Committee meets as needed to facilitate this process and makes recommendations to the Curriculum Committee, Advisory Committee, and Administrative Council regarding program improvement, e.g., the addition of necessary course offerings and/or redesign of courses.

Teacher Candidate Advisement:  The teacher candidate meets with an assigned advisor each semester for advisement regarding registration for the next term’s classes.  Course requirements are clearly delineated on progression sheets (ECE, MGE, SEC English, SEC Math, MGE Post Baccalaureate, SEC English Post Baccalaureate, SEC Math Post Baccalaureate) for each program to ensure that all prerequisite and program course requirements are completed.

All programs require the teacher candidate to successfully complete (grade of “C” or better) content knowledge courses specific to the teacher candidate’s program, as well as pedagogical coursework which includes instruction in presentation of content, instructional strategies, integration of technology, and differentiating instruction for diverse learners.  Required upper division courses include:

Content Knowledge Courses

  • Required content specialization courses, as well as elective possibilities.

Content Specific Pedagogical Courses

  • Teaching Math in the Elementary/Middle/Secondary School
  • Teaching English/Language Arts in the Elementary/Middle/Secondary School
  • Teaching Social Studies in the Elementary/Middle School
  • Teaching Science in the Elementary/Middle School

GACE Workshops:  GACE workshops, which offer strategies for GACE exam preparation, are offered on campus once each semester.  These workshops are provided by the Georgia Association of Educators.  Study guides are located in the library for student use.

The teacher candidate’s content knowledge is evidenced through multiple assessments and can be found in the chart entitled Key Assessment Target Behaviors for Content Knowledge for the Teacher Candidate.

1a.2.      Describe the other key assessments that will be used to indicate that candidates in initial preparation programs demonstrate the content knowledge delineated in professional, state, and institutional/agency standards.

Target behaviors on eight key assessments are used to demonstrate that the teacher candidate can demonstrate the content knowledge and skills delineated in professional, state, and institutional standards.  The key assessments are:

Field Experience/Student Teaching Midterm/Final Summative Assessment.  Elements of this key assessment assess the teacher candidate’s knowledge of the content to plan a lesson aligned with state standards. As the teacher candidate progresses through the field experience component of the program extensive and developmentally progressive opportunities are provided for the candidate to plan lessons demonstrating competence in the content he/she is teaching.  In these experiences and in clinical practice a midterm and final evaluation is conducted to measure proficiency on the content knowledge areas identified by state and professional standards.   These evaluations are completed by both the candidate’s mentor teacher and university supervisor, using a qualitative analytic rubric, to ensure fairness, accuracy, consistency, and to eliminate bias.

Electronic Portfolio.   The primary purpose of this key assessment is to assess the teacher candidate’s ability to demonstrate his/her understanding of the impact of one’s knowledge of content on PK-12 student learning.  During EDU 400 the teacher candidate is introduced to the conceptual framework. As the candidate progresses through the program, each dimension of the conceptual framework is further explored in designated courses.  The teacher candidate’s portfolio includes a reflective statement, using relevant research, examples of classroom application, and appropriate artifacts. The final E-folio is presented as an exit requirement to the program and is assessed using a qualitative analytic rubric.

Lesson Plan Assessment.  The primary purpose of this key assessment is to assess the teacher candidate’s ability to demonstrate the content knowledge necessary to plan lessons that facilitate student learning. As the teacher candidate progresses through the field experience component of the program extensive and developmentally progressive opportunities are provided for the candidate to plan lessons for a wide variety of PK-12 settings in various content areas.  Two check points are conducted (Professional Core I and III) to measure proficiency on the content  knowledge necessary to plan lessons that facilitate positive learning outcomes for all PK-12 students.   These evaluations are completed by both the candidate’s mentor teacher and university supervisor, using a qualitative analytic rubric, to ensure fairness, accuracy, consistency, and to eliminate bias.

Student Teaching Work Sample.  The primary purpose of this key assessment is to assess the teacher candidate’s ability to assess and analyze student learning, develop and implement meaningful learning experiences, monitor student learning, and make appropriate adjustments to instruction to help all students learn.  The teacher candidate completes the Student Teaching Work Sample as an exit requirement to the clinical teaching experience and is scored using a qualitative analytic rubric.

Surveys:  New Teacher Hire Survey, Recent Graduate Self-Assessment Survey, Teacher Candidate Self-Assessment Survey, Mentor Teacher Survey of Teacher Candidate Performance.  The primary purpose of this key assessment is to assess the teacher candidate’s ability to demonstrate content knowledge necessary to help all students learn. Following each field experience teacher candidates self assess the degree to which they feel prepared in their content area(s) of study.  Additionally, the teacher candidate’s mentor teacher also assesses the candidate’s mastery.  Through the use of follow-up surveys, administrators who have hired recent Thomas University Division of Education graduates are surveyed to gain their assessment of the graduate’s content knowledge necessary to help all students learn.  Additionally, recent graduates are also surveyed and asked to rate the degree to which they feel prepared in the content area they are teaching.

 

1a.4.      Describe plans for the use of follow-up studies of graduates and employers and how they will be used to inform graduates', or program completers’, preparation in the content area.

The unit’s plans for follow-up studies of graduates/completers and employers and use of the data to inform the unit and stakeholders of graduates’ and program completers’ preparedness to help all students learn include the use of the following surveys:

New Teacher Hire Survey.  Administrators who have hired recent Thomas University Division of Education graduates are surveyed each year. The target behaviors for content knowledge listed on the survey are:

  • New teachers from Thomas University demonstrate critical thinking skills as related to content, planning, presentation, and decision making that is necessary to be successful in the classroom.
  • New teachers from Thomas University have in-depth knowledge of the content they plan to teach.
    • Reading/Language Arts content ______
    • Mathematics content ______________
    • Social Studies content______________
    • Science  content __________________

Recent Graduate Self-Assessment Survey. Recent graduates are surveyed each year. The target behaviors for content knowledge listed on the survey are:

TheTeacher Education Program at Thomas University:

  • Helped me develop the critical thinking skills as related to content, planning, presentation, and decision making that is necessary to be successful in the classroom.
  • Provided me with in-depth knowledge of the content I plan to teach.
    • Reading/Language Arts content ______
    • Mathematics content ______________
    • Social Studies content______________
    • Science content __________________

Scores from the above assessment instruments are entered into LiveText for future analysis. Members of Division of Education Assessment Review Committee review teacher candidate performance data reports and make recommendations to the Advisory Committee and Curriculum Committee, as needed. Additionally, a report to Faculty Council is provided each semester so that program changes can be made, as necessary.

 

 

 

 

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