Standard 1.2: Continuous Improvement

1.2a.  Not moving toward Target on this standard

1.2b.  Continuous Improvement

Many of the recommendations for improving teacher education that are included in the state's influential Greatness by Design report (Torlakson, 2012) are already being implemented at Fresno State. In addition the Biennial Report, Part B (pilot), documents actions taken in the unit assessment system based on the analysis of data collection in 2011 and 2012 (e.g., revision of Single Subject Credential Program, implementation of efforts related to diversity and equity, increase in the number of cohorts in partnership districts, implementation of “signature assignments” across all sections of the same course in all initial and many advanced programs.

Of special note is the active leadership stance that the Director of Teacher Education (Dean) has taken regarding preparing students for tomorrow's classrooms. In addition to providing current information via email to all faculty regarding the Common Core State Standards and the imminent Smarter Balanced assessments, faculty were required to attend sessions on the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) in March 2012 and work sessions in Fall 2012 and Spring 2013 to plan amendments to the content and focus of credential courses relevant to the CCSS. In March 2013, CCTC approved revisions to the Teaching Performance Expectations (TPEs) to align with the CCSS.

All programs are striving for continuous improvement; the Multiple Subject Review Committee (MS Program Coordinator; a Department Chair; and representatives from Liberal Studies , Education Administration, local schools, each course in the program, and a student) meets monthly to review the SEPTPP results and FAST results, as well as anecdotal observations to determine what changes might need to be made in the program or in courses. (The SS program has a similar committee.) When assessments of TPE 7 indicated relatively low candidate performance, the English Language Development faculty were provided professional development and a handout of related ELD strategies and modifications which led to improved performance on this TPE (p. 8 of the MS Biennial Report 2011/12) which noted performance strengths in TPE 1A (Reading-Language Arts) and TPE 7 (Teaching English Learners) on the Comprehensive Lesson Plan Project. The inclusion of an Educational Administration representative on the MS and SS committees occurred after an analysis of the SEPTPP results, showing a discrepancy between employer (principal) ratings of graduates and graduates' ratings and provides opportunity to share teaching expectations.

Instructors of Multiple and Single Subject credential courses indicated that incoming credential students did not have adequate computer technology skills upon which to address the CCTC technology standard expectations. Their perceptions were supported by data collected from surveys of graduates after their first year of teaching and their employers through the Systemwide Evaluation of Professional Teacher Preparation Programs (SEPTPP) conducted by the California State University Chancellor's Office. In response to the data, a 3-unit course on instructional technology was added as a requirement for the Liberal Studies major, the primary major for most Multiple Subject credential candidates, and then as a pre- or co-requisite for the Multiple, Single and Education Specialist credential programs in 2012.

In Spring 2011 an ad hoc committee on Single Subject preparation, composed of credential faculty, program graduates, and district representatives, was convened to examine the program and ensure candidates were prepared to meet the needs of 21st century classrooms. The committee met from May 2011 to May 2012 to analyze and revise the current program, highlighting these needs plus current and related emphases such as Career Technical Education (CTE) and the Common Core State Standards. As a result of the committee’s work, the stand-alone technology course for Single Subject candidates will be replaced in Fall 2013 by a prerequisite/co-requisite course, CI 149, Research-Based Planning, Instruction, and Use of Technology. In addition to this course, content-specific technology skills will be infused in the revised Single Subject content area teaching methods courses.

Data from the SEPTPP and the Exit Survey of students in the Single Subject (SS) credential program also indicated that additional preparation was needed in differentiating instruction (i.e., addressing the needs of at-risk and special needs students) teaching English learners, and to formalize the seminars accompanying the two student teaching experiences. The revised Single Subject credential program with increased coursework hours will be implemented in Fall Semester 2013.

The unit has been productive in preparing highly-qualified Single Subject math and science teachers to address a current and projected statewide shortage, an effort supported by the Mathematics and Science Teacher Initiative (MSTI) funded by the CSU Chancellor's Office (CO). CCTC reports official numbers of credentials produced and in AY 2006, we were 17th out of 22 in production of math and science teachers; in AY 2011 we had climbed to 5th and increased our production by 268% (25 to 92); [link to CSU credential counts]. Recruitment efforts, partnerships with districts, MSTI support to candidates were all improved to recruit and prepare high quality teachers in these high need areas. Through CSET workshop series and pedagogy course offerings, Fresno State's MSTI has also supported the production of candidates with the new Foundational-Level General Science credentials, 23 in 2012, the third highest in the CSU system.

Continuous improvement in an advanced programs is evidenced in the update of the major concepts and theories taught in the curriculum for the Deaf Education graduate coursework to meet new credentialing standards for the California Education Specialist: Deaf and Hard of Hearing credentials. Additional content related to students who are deaf and blind and those who have additional disabilities along with being deaf was added to the assessments class and differentiated instruction was given more emphasis throughout the curricula that will be taught beginning in Fall 2013. These changes were determined from the programs exit survey, advisory board feedback (DEPP), and candidate input. Candidates in the advanced program, Education Specialist (Deaf, Mild/Moderate, and Moderate Severe), have an Individual Induction Plan (IIP) based on self-identified strengths and needs. The IIP is developed and reviewed with the candidate, a university supervisor, and a district support provider. Candidates utilize information from their TPE assessments, their employment placement, and personal goals to identify personal improvements and specific professional development needed.

In an effort to sustain and expand our partnerships, in the fall of 2013 a teacher residency cohort of 20 candidates is beginning as a partnership between the Kremen School and the Fresno Unified School District. Members of the two institutions have been meeting to develop courses and experiences that will incorporate the knowledge and skills required in state and national standards, research-based best practices, the instructional shifts required for the Common Core, and targeted practices for the urban, diverse community. Supported through a Bechtel grant, these candidates will be provided increased STEM education and mentorship. At the core is work in Professional Learning Communities (PLC), also known as Accountable Communities (AC), utilizing data to make instructional decisions. In the unit’s programs the use of PLCs to develop candidates’ collaborative skills and to have them consider the school, family and community contexts when developing meaningful learning experiences and utilizing resources is a central feathure. In the fall of 2014 a second teacher residency cohort will begin.

Continuous improvement is a goal for secondary preparation in the area of CTE and Linked Learning. A related daylong retreat/workshop in September 2013 on Linked Learning will be required of all faculty/instructors in the Multiple and Single Subject Credential, Education Specialist, and School Counseling programs. The school visitation accompanying the workshop, which will be held in Porterville, CA, will highlight their exemplary, nationally recognized model of the state's Career Technical Education (CTE) standards in action. This visit will support the new Single Subject credential program, as well as provide faculty in related programs with important information to inform their own instruction. Currently the university is meeting with the Porterville School District to expand both partnerships and the Linked Learning emphasis.

Sustaining effort in technology requires continual investment and improvement. The KSOEHD has long supported 21st century technology skills and cutting edge computer labs to demonstrate instructional strategies applicable in K-12 classrooms. In Fall 2012, a computer lab space was completely upgraded and redesigned to include 6 interactive LCD projectors, a flat screen TV, 30 Macintosh computers organized in 6 pods, 7 Apple TV devices, Extron controllers, and white boards around the room. The technology can be managed wirelessly from a laptop, an iPhone or an iPad. The intent of the redesign is to facilitate learning/instruction by applying current methodologies using technology.

Areas of Improvement»

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