ESU’s Teacher Education Unit developed a Unit assessment system that is based on its Conceptual Framework and its commitment to comprehensive assessment. The purpose of the assessment system is to collect, organize, maintain, and analyze information for evaluating and improving candidate, program, and Unit performance. Previously each program established its own assessment practices based on NCATE and disciplinary recommendations. Each department had created programmatic outcomes under the guidance of the university-wide ESU Outcomes Assessment Committee. In February 2002, the Teacher Education Council, Teacher Education Department Chairs, and K-12 school faculty worked to group the Beginning Educator Outcomes and align them with INTASC and NBPTS standards. At that time a decision was made to create a TEU Assessment Committee with representation from all departments that had teacher education programs. This committee was charged with creating an assessment plan and an assessment system for the Unit.
The TEU Assessment Committee was formed in spring 2002 and began developing an assessment plan for the Unit. Over the next three years the committee refined the Assessment Plan and created a Unit Assessment System. Since the committee found it difficult to schedule meetings in a way that allowed for professional community involvement, a summer assessment retreat was begun in summer of 2003 to encourage the involvement of Unit faculty and K-12 faculty and administrators. The Assessment Committee reviewed existing practices, the ESU Model for Comprehensive Assessment, models used by other institutions, literature on assessment, and existing practices. Using retreats and Unit meetings, the committee continues to receive input and feedback on the assessment plan and its implementation as a system. Changes are made as a result of this feedback. One of the most recent such changes is a clarification and refinement of the Dispositions Assessment process (Spring 2011).
The Unit Assessment System: Initial Candidates outlines key assessments given throughout the Unit at beginning, middle, and end of teacher education programs. It corresponds to six key transition points for initial candidates:
- Admission to the university;
- Admittance to the teacher education program;
- Program-based assessments during courses and field experiences;
- Approval for clinical experience;
- Program completion; and
- Program evaluation.