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Lynch School of Education

Student Learning

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Elements of the Assessment Process
Form E-1-A for Boston College Departments/Programs

Continuous Improvement through Assessment

Boston College is deeply committed to providing the highest quality educational experience to all of its students in all of its programs. To assure that all programs maintain a clear focus on the learning of their students, each department and interdisciplinary program has developed a plan to monitor the actual learning of its students and to consider changes in curriculum, courses, or assignments that would improve that learning.

This process is called ASSESSMENT and requires all programs to:

  1. be clear and specific about the learning goals it sets for its students,
  2. develop measures to determine the degree to which each of its goals is being met,
  3. have a standard process for assessing the learning outcomes for students and recommending appropriate adjustments in the program.

 

Department of Counseling, Developmental, and Educational Psychology

Applied Psychology and Human Development Program

1a. understand the processes of human development and learning from infancy into late adolescence or the transition to adulthood.

1b. understand how social and cultural contexts shape developmental and educational processes

1c. Understand how contemporary social problems affect children, families, and communities

2. use foundational theories of applied psychology and human development to analyze educational and other real-world settings

3. articulate a researchable theoretical argument and apply appropriate research techniques to its empirical analysis

4. articulate their personal core values and beliefs, how these are informed by critical engagement with theoretical and empirical knowledge in applied psychology and human development, and how these inform their relationships with their families and communities.

5. develop a more specialized understanding of one of three areas:

A. Human Services:  Basic knowledge of psychosocial challenges to normal development and of a range of individual and community-level strategies to prevent mental illness and enhance psychosocial well-being and mental health;

B. Organization Studies-Human Resources: Basic knowledge of organizational behavior theories, their applications in human resource management, and the contributions of applied psychology in these contexts.

C. Community, Advocacy and Social Policy:  Basic knowledge of theories of community psychology and the applications of psychological knowledge to advocacy and social policy for and with children, youth and their families and communities.

2) Where are these learning outcomes published? Be specific. (Where are the department’s learning expectations accessible to potential majors: on the web or in the catalog or in your dept major handouts?)

These learning outcomes are published on our LSOE website (http://www.bc.edu/content/bc/schools/lsoe/academics/departments/cdep.html)

3) Other than GPA, what data/evidence is used to determine whether graduates have achieved the stated outcomes for the degree?  (What evidence and analytical approaches do you use to assess which of the student learning outcomes are being achieved more or less well?

Evidence Gathered

Annual review of sample of 20 literature reviews prepared in the introductory level course and 20 research proposals to assess informational and conceptual goals as well as research objectives.  This review will be conducted by the Departmental APHD Sub-Committee.

Exit interviews with all majors will assess Individual Development Goals as well as application of foundational theories to "real-world" problems.  The latter will also be assessed through a review of final projects in the APHD Practicum course.  A sub-sample of projects from 10 students will be reviewed from this course each year by the departmental APHD sub-committee.

Who interprets the evidence? What is the process?  (Who in the department is responsible for interpreting the data and making recommendations for curriculum or assignment changes if appropriate? When does this occur?)

Program faculty discuss relevant evidence on a regular basis in biweekly faculty meetings.  In addition, formal evaluation of the exit interviews takes place in the APHD Practicum course, and via annual review of the subsample of projects by the APHD sub-committee.

5) What changes have been made as a result of using the data/evidence?  (Have there been any recent changes to your curriculum or program? Why were they made?)

6) Date of the most recent program review. (Your latest comprehensive departmental self-study and external review.)

 

Department of Teacher Education, Special Education and Curriculum and Instruction

Elementary and Secondary Teacher Education

We claim that program candidates and graduates:

1.      Believe in and are committed to teaching for social justice, defined as improving the learning of all pupils and enhancing their life chances.

2.      Possess subject matter knowledge, pedagogical knowledge, and pedagogical content knowledge, and demonstrate this knowledge in practice.

3.      Are knowledgeable about and understand the relationships among culture, language, learning, and schooling.

4.      Develop and demonstrate in practice social justice orientations, commitments, and interpretive frameworks.

5.      Demonstrate commitment to learning across their professional lifespan and possess knowledge of technology tools to do so..

6.      Assess and promote all pupils’ learning.

2) Where are these learning outcomes published? Be specific. (Where are the department’s learning expectations accessible to potential majors: on the web or in the catalog or in your dept major handouts?)

These learning outcomes are published on our LSOE website (http://www.bc.edu/content/bc/schools/lsoe/academics/departments/teseci.html)

3)      Other than GPA, what data/evidence is used to determine whether graduates have achieved the stated outcomes for the degree?  (What evidence and analytical approaches do you use to assess which of the student learning outcomes are being achieved more or less well?

Evidence Gathered

Student scores on standardized license or board examinations—Massachusetts Tests for Educator Licensure (MTEL)

Inquiry Project scores and grades

Rates of graduates’ professional advanced study—participation in the New Teacher Academy

Teacher Education Survey System—Entry, Exit, and 1-, 2-, and 3-Year-Out Surveys

Ratings, by cooperating teacher and college/university supervisors, of portfolios from in-service teaching—the Pre-Service Performance Assessment PLUS (PPA+)

4) Who interprets the evidence? What is the process?  (Who in the department is responsible for interpreting the data and making recommendations for curriculum or assignment changes if appropriate? When does this occur?)

Program faculty discuss the evidence on a regular basis, in collaboration with the LSOE Director of Assessment and Accreditation, in biweekly faculty meetings. Based on these discussions, the department chair recommends changes, where approrpriate, to the dean and/or the Educational Policy Committee. In addition, formal evaluation of these evidence sources is conducted on an annual basis via TEAC reporting requirements.

5) What changes have been made as a result of using the data/evidence?  (Have there been any recent changes to your curriculum or program? Why were they made?)

As a result of our TEAC accreditation, the program committed to making improvements within five areas:

1) Faculty found that although nearly all teacher candidates and graduates are strongly committed to fostering the learning of all pupils, they are less likely to critique the larger structures and arrangements of schooling that disadvantage certain groups and not likely to connect their own work to larger movements for social justice. Although these findings are not surprising, we were concerned by the lack of structural critique and connection to larger societal and cultural issues. Currently, we are continuing to talk about what this means for the program and the curriculum by investigating how these issues are addressed in the courses, and how our views converge and diverge.  This includes looking at course integration and how candidates demonstrate and document their understanding. Furthermore, clinical faculty supervisors continue to read and discuss pieces from the published literature (e.g. Cochran-Smith, 2004) and to integrate these topics into the “Quality Conversations” they are having with the candidates.

2) Results suggested that some of the candidates and graduates struggle with maintaining an explicit commitment to pupil learning, especially with regard to their own responsibility.  Going forward, we plan to explore novel ways in which we can support candidates as they confront the moral, cognitive, and ethical dilemmas of teaching. We believe that through consistent and appropriate support, we can nurture candidates’ pedagogical skills and philosophical dispositions that enhance the responsibility they take for pupil learning.

3) We are heavily involved in evaluating and re-organizing the requirements for the Inquiry Project and how the relevant topics are addressed in the corresponding Inquiry Seminars.  Specifically, we have discovered relative weakness in analysis and interpretation of data by the candidates, concerns about writing quality, due to the time limitations and variations in student teaching experience by the candidates and .  In addition, we are exploring the standards that we are setting for candidates with this project and the criteria of the rubric as well as increasing and maintaining high rater reliability.  Currently, we are involved with piloting a new performance assessment that has taken the place of the Inquiry Project this semester (Fall, 2011)—however, this is has not yet occurred at the undergraduate level.

4)  In working extensively with the evidence from the PPA+, the program faculty have come to realize that the relationships they have with the clinical faculty supervisors and cooperating teachers are weak and, therefore, we feel a need to integrate cooperating teachers and clinical faculty more closely into the processes and activities of the program. As a starting point, we are including insight from the cooperating teachers and clinical faculty supervisors with regard to the revisions of the Inquiry Project. Also, faculty have presented their research to the clinical faculty more regularly, and the field-based partners have participated in coursework more often.

5) We believe that it is imperative that graduates continue to deepen their knowledge, as disciplines and pedagogies change and evolve over time. Learning via systematic and collaborative inquiry into practice, professional development, and coursework is critical to improving teaching across the lifespan. Faculty continues to explore this goal through Induction and Mentoring and enhanced Arts and Science’s involvement in teacher preparation.   Currently, the Office of Practicum Experiences sponsors The New Teacher Academy, a two-day summer conference where novice classroom teachers participate in interactive and collaborative sessions, tailored to meet the needs of classroom practitioners. In these workshops participants learn best practices from K-12 teachers in public and private schools throughout Massachusetts and from educators from the Lynch School of Education. As novice and veteran teachers’ needs are continually changing, the program needs to continual reassess its offerings and the types of opportunities available for current students and alumni. This is ongoing work and has included online and e-Mentoring initiatives, partnerships with local school districts, continued tracking efforts through the Teacher Education Survey System, exploring issues of teacher development and retention in the profession, and Arts and Sciences involvement with teacher preparation.

6) Date of the most recent program review. (Your latest comprehensive departmental self-study and external review.)

TEAC Accreditation Visit in Fall, 2009 (accredited through December, 2014)

Massachusetts Program Approval in Fall, 2009 (approved through December, 2014)

Internal Self-Study: Currently ongoing (external review visit was in October, 2011)