Summary of COE Unit Assessment System

To ensure and improve upon the quality of our academic programs, the College of Education (COE) has identified 10 key assessments that are required of candidates in all of our academic programs. Initial certification programs require 2 additional key assessments.

  1. State licensure examinations of content knowledge
  2. Additional assessment of content knowledge
  3. Ability to plan instruction, or (for non-teaching fields) to fulfill identified professional responsibilities
  4. Clinical practice evaluation
  5. Student learning, or (for non-teaching fields) the ability to create supportive learning environments
  6. Essay 1 – demonstrate knowledge and understanding of unit standards (Program Entry)
  7. Essay 2 – demonstrate knowledge and understanding of unit standards (Program Exit)
  8. Oral defense – demonstrating application of unit standards
  9. Service learning project evaluation demonstrating integration of unit standards
  10. Dispositions evaluation
    Additional key assessments for Initial Programs follow:
  11. Field experiences evaluation
  12. Assessment of Professional Teaching (APT) State Certification Test
    The data is reviewed at three levels: 1) individual candidate, 2) program level, and 3) unit level.

The COE has also developed a Monitoring Progress (MP) involving four distinct transition points for both initial certification and advanced programs. This MP facilitates routine evaluation of individual candidate progress, ensures that candidates have the requisite knowledge, skills and dispositions necessary before entering clinical practice and before program completion.

What changes have been made to the conceptual framework since the previous visit?

A Conceptual Framework (CF) was in place for the first NCATE/ISBE on-site accreditation visit in 1999. The School of Education began to further develop its Conceptual Framework during the 2000-2001 academic year. The theoretical and philosophical underpinnings of the CF were also revisited. Curricular changes and development of new programs, alignment of programs with Illinois Professional Teaching Standards (IPTS) or Illinois Professional School Leader Standards and NCATE national specialty professional associations (SPA), enhanced implementation of campus and school mission over the past years and new faculty in the College who brought new perspectives all contributed to significant changes in the CF. NCATE 2000 also provided further guidance as we re-examined, expanded and changed the conceptual framework.
The School of Education was formerly housed in the College of Arts and Sciences and became a College of Education (COE) after the first on-site accreditation visit. This change in administrative structure with the College having more autonomy and the ability to take greater control of its destiny also impacted the CF. During those years, work continued on better articulating the CF with candidates, faculty, staff, the school communities served, and the University community.

Intensive work began again in the 2001-2002 academic year. Lively discussions and debates at faculty planning meetings held on COE-wide planning days each semester focused on the theoretical and philosophical base as faculty worked through proposed revisions of the CF. After the planning days, the COE accreditation committee captured the discussions that had taken place and re-drafted several sections of the CF for further faculty discussion and eventual approval. Faculty work teams met regularly to address various issues directly and indirectly related to the CF. Work included on-line discussions of selected articles related to the CF, book discussion groups and development/writing teams that addressed various components of the CF.

Several drafts were presented to the faculty who after much discussion and debate, agreed on several changes including clarification of how key elements of the document align with our vision, mission and institutional standards. These changes were sent to the Education Advisory Board, select College of Arts and Science faculty and the University administration for more discussion and feedback. The final draft was approved at our May, 2004 planning meeting. During summer and early fall of 2005, the document was widely distributed and discussion continued regarding key theorists, in part to introduce new faculty members to this aspect of the CF. Following the NCATE visit in October, 2006, a team of eleven faculty members as a whole and in sub-committees met regularly during spring and summer 2007 reexamining the unit standards and assessment plan. During that time revised unit standards were determined. The faculty as a whole met for three full planning days during that time frame and the revised unit standards were presented, reviewed, analyzed and made operational for Fall, 2007. During Fall, 2007, proficiencies aligned with the unit standards, university and college missions and NCATE standards were determined and also made operational. Revisions to the mission and vision were approved by the full faculty in Fall, 2007 as well.

The Conceptual Framework now contains the five structural elements (NCATE 2006, p. 12): (1) vision and mission of the institution and unit; (2) unit philosophy, purpose and goals; (3) knowledge bases, including theories, research, the wisdom of practice and education policies; (4) candidate proficiencies aligned with the expectations in professional, state and institutional standards and (5) the system by which candidate performance is regularly assessed. A contemporary CF must also “reflect the unit’s commitment to technology to enhance candidate and student learning” and “reflect the unit’s commitment to diversity and the preparation of educators who help all students learn” (NCATE 2006, p. 12).

The CF continues to evolve – in keeping with the NCATE belief, which the College of Education at Lewis University share, that a CF is a living document, constantly being updated and refined. Examples of developmental work under each element since the last ISBE/NCATE visit include, but are not limited to:

Several drafts of the Conceptual Framework were shared for discussion and feedback with COE faculty, the COE Advisory Board, the COE Student Advisory Council and the College of Arts and Sciences faculty members who are involved with secondary certification programs. Key components of the document have been incorporated into the COE Handbooks and COE Policy Manuals and have also been shared with candidates, cooperating teachers, advisory committee members and prospective students and parents. A condensed version of the Conceptual Framework was prepared in the form of a professionally produced COE brochure for sharing with full, part-time and adjunct faculty as well as candidates and the school communities we serve.

  1. Our unit vision statement was created to reflect who we are, what we want to be and the values of the College. Our ethos Developing Learning Communities was identified as our overriding mission. This became a strong and vibrant living reality as we assessed, studied, discussed, debated and came to a consensus on the unit vision. Alignment with the mission of the University was also central to our work on our unit vision. Attention to knowledge, skills and dispositions, as well as a strong focus on diversity, are evident in our vision statement.

  2. Minor changes were made to the unit mission statement to more accurately reflect the vision statement.

  3. Institutional standards were determined that are aligned with the vision and mission of the College of Education and the mission of the University. These standards focus on the knowledge, skills and dispositions expected of all our candidates, undergraduate and graduate levels, initial or advanced programs. Attention to diversity of experiences in multiple ways is central to the standards. Use of technology is also integral to the standards.

  4. Theoretical and philosophical underpinnings were revisited as a result of ongoing curricular changes and development of new programs. Key theorists were selected for emphasis across the unit. Potential candidates in all programs are introduced to core theorists in education courses as determined by each department. All undergraduate and graduate students in the College of Education have the same theoretical/philosophical lens through which to view their coursework and educational experiences.

  5. Performance expectations for candidates in each certification program were aligned with State and national standards as part of on ongoing process of curriculum development/revision and preparation to demonstrate how knowledge, skills and dispositions are taught, assessed and applied in courses and field experiences across all programs.

  6. LiveText was piloted in 2004 and fully implemented across the unit in 2006 to collect assessment data for programs and for the unit.

  7. Processes of assessing candidate performance across the unit were determined and profiled in the Assessment Handbook that reflect the transition points for admission to, and progressing through, programs for all candidates as determined by the initial certification programs and advanced certification programs. The transition points include the four NCATE/ISBE-required points.

  8. The College of Education faculty assembled a short collection of seminal articles by or about our focal theorists/philosophers, for all candidates, borrowing our “one book, one university” concept and applying it to “one collection, one college”. A power point presentation on our key theorists was piloted in Spring, 2006, and was shared with candidates and learning community colleagues in Fall, 2006.

  9. During the spring and summer of 2007, the College of Education faculty spent significant time and effort in reviewing and refining the College of Education unit standards and unit assessment plan. This work began after our NCATE/ISBE accreditation visit in the fall of 2006. During that visit, the NCATE/ISBE accreditation team indicated they believed the mission of Lewis University was alive and well in the College, but there was not data to support what they were seeing and hearing. Because of those discussions, the written team report, and the letters relating the accreditation decisions of the Unit Accreditation Board of NCATE and the Illinois State Board of Education, changes and additions have been made to our unit standards and unit assessment system.

  10. During 2006-2007 the College of Education faculty engaged in several reading/discussion groups regarding Critical Pedagogy which is central to our unit standards and proficiencies.