Standard 2: Exhibit 1

Description of the unit’s assessment system in detail including the requirements and key assessments used at transition points.

The School of Leadership and Education Sciences (SOLES) has been developing a culture of assessment across all programs in the past several years. The position of Director of Assessment was created in 2002.   After 4 years as a part-time position, the first full-time Director of Assessment was hired in 2006, and in 2008, the office was renamed Office of Assessment Support to better illustrate its relationship with faculty.

All credential programs, both initial and advanced, are reviewed by the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing. The table below provides a list of credential programs with links to the sections of the most recent Biennial Report that describes the assessment structure for each of the programs specifically.

Initial Teacher Preparation Programs Advanced Programs for other School Personnel
Multiple Subject Credential Pupils Personnel Services Credential: School Counseling
Single Subject Credential Preliminary Administrative Services Credential
Education Specialist Credential Professional Administrative Services Credential

Entry Assessment

Admissions Requirements for each program are posted on SOLES admissions website. Below are the URLS for each program’s admissions criteria:

All initial and advanced programs specify requirements for entry in to the program and successful progression through the program. They have a three tiered process.  The first tier involves determining if the candidate possesses the entry level qualifications (degrees, credentials, etc.). All programs have specified educational requirements for entry into each program. These requirements are checked as part of the application review process.  If an applicant does not meet the entry requirements, his/her application may not be sent to the second level of review.

The second tier involves a review of the applications by program faculty.  Each credential or program (teacher preparation, counselor preparation, and administrator preparation) has a program-specific rubric that faculty complete as they review the application. Candidates submit an essay as part of the admissions process, which is evaluated for dispositions and experience within the rubric criteria. For the teacher education programs and pupil personnel services-school counseling programs, two faculty members review each application. Both reviews are considered in determining if the applicant will move forward.  Based on the rubric rating, the decision is made whether or not to interview the applicant.

The third tier of review is an interview of the applicant by a faculty member.  Most interviews are conducted in person, and phone interviews are used for candidates who are living out of state or out of the country. Each program of study has an interview protocol that is unique to that program and includes dispositions particular to that area of specialization.

For initial teacher candidates in elementary, secondary and special education programs, candidates are required to pass the California Basic Educational Skills Test (CBEST) by the time they complete their second course in the program. Undergraduate students may take two courses before a formal application to the program is made.

There is an additional level of review for entry into both the preliminary administrative services credential program and the professional administrative services credential program. Because these programs are designed for master teachers, applicants are observed in their classrooms by USD program personnel. An observation rubric is scored and those ratings are factored into the decision that is made.

It should be noted that, due to the economy and factors related to regional school districts, SOLES has had a small number of candidates in the Professional Administrative Services program in the last four years.

Midpoint Assessment
Initial Programs
At the midpoint, initial teacher candidates in elementary, secondary, and special education programs are assessed in courses in the program of study using embedded signature assignments (ESA’s).  For each ESA, candidate work is used to assess development tied to specific California Teaching Performance Expectations (TPE’s). Teacher candidates submit their embedded signature assignments to TaskStream’s Learning Achievement Tools (LAT) platform. These ESA’s are assessed using rubrics that are entered into TaskStream. Special education teacher candidates complete a set of assessments that are submitted to and scored within the TaskStream LAT system.

Successful completion of the California Subject Examination for Teachers (CSET) is a second requirement for candidates prior to student teaching. Teacher candidates must also pass an Advancement Interview, which follows a standardized protocol and assesses candidate readiness for student teaching, including dispositions.  In addition, the credential analyst conducts an audit to ensure candidate completion of all required coursework (at a B or higher) and other state requirements (e.g., fingerprinting).

Advanced Programs
The key midpoint assessment for advanced teacher candidates is the Action Research proposal or the thesis proposal. Faculty in the Department of Learning and Teaching decided that the proposals should be assessed using the same criteria as the first stages of the Action Research project or the thesis. Using this process, they are able to provide specific feed back to candidates that will permit them to have a strong foundation for their research. This assessment is included as part of the course in EDUC 500 (EDUC 507 for candidates in the alternative MCC cohort).

For school counseling, the Clinical Instruction Benchmark Assessment (CIBA) was developed by faculty in 2005 to strengthen school counseling assessment practices by providing a strong midpoint evaluation of candidate readiness for fieldwork. The CIBA process includes a review of candidate work completed in two prerequisite core courses, a check to make sure that candidates have completed all administrative steps in preparing for practicum, completion of a reflective essay on readiness for practicum, and a structured interview with the candidate conducted by her or his advisor. This assessment provides a crucial benchmark in the program using school-based practica in which candidates are assigned to sites in groups of five and work with students at the site under the direct supervision of a practicum instructor. Candidates are not approved to engage in clinical work at a school site until they have met the CIBA requirements.  For 2010-2011, the CIBA process has been further refined to include a formal Fieldwork Readiness Assessment.

Candidates in the preliminary administrative services and professional administrative services credential programs are formally assessed at two course-based midpoints in their programs.

Exit Assessment
Initial Credential Programs
Teacher credential candidates must successfully complete two key assessments. Multiple and Single Subject teacher credential candidates complete the Performance Assessment for California Teachers (PACT), a comprehensive assessment of key areas of teaching: planning, instruction, assessment, reflection, and academic language.

USD’s special education programs are recognized by the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) and the programs follow the rigorous policies and procedures of that organization.  At present, all special education programs in the state are under revision to adopt the new CEC standards. USD’s changes will be in place for entering candidates in Fall 2011.  Description of practices and assessments are for the programs as they have been to date. Education specialist candidates complete multiple assessments as they progress through the credential program.

School counseling candidates have two types of culminating assessment.  Candidates are evaluated by on-site supervisors and by university faculty at the midpoint and the end of their clinical fieldwork.  School counseling candidates must also pass the counseling comprehensive examination. In 2011-2012, Action Research projects will become a requirement for all Counseling Master’s candidates at the end of program.

Candidates for both the Preliminary Administrative Services credential and the Professional Administrative Services credential create a capstone portfolio project that addresses seven California Professional Standards for Educational Leaders (CPSEL). Each candidate presents his/her portfolio project to a team of evaluators, who also review the written submissions for each standard. Evaluators use a portfolio rubric to rate the written and presented project. Because the administrative services programs were developed as a partnership between the University of San Diego and San Diego Unified School District, the rubric was developed collaboratively by key stakeholders, including administrators and principals from the San Diego Unified school system. Because the CPSEL standards addressed by the rubric include the knowledge, skills, and dispositions that are expected of school administrators, the expectation is that candidates in the Preliminary Administrative Services Credential Program will score in the mid-range (4-5) if they perform well and candidates in the Professional Administrative Services Credential Program will score in a higher range (6-8) on the same rubric. At present, the program is reviewing the rubric to determine if it needs revision and to assess whether there should be more clear distinctions made regarding the expected performance of the two groups.

USD candidates for the Master of Education Programs in Curriculum and Instruction: Mathematics, Science and Technology Education; and TESOL, Literacy, and Culture all complete an action research project.  This project permits the assessment of candidate proficiency in the key elements of the program expressed in the program learning outcomes.  These elements are content knowledge, pedagogy, learning theories, and research.  Faculty in the Department of Learning and Teaching have developed an Action Research Rubric to assess the projects.

Program Assessment Documentation System
The School of Leadership and Education Sciences has taken assessment of candidates and program improvement very seriously. First, there is an Office of Assessment Support that helps coordinate program assessment and oversee assessment documentation at the program level. The Director of Assessment Support works with faculty in all programs throughout all aspects of the assessment process.  In addition, two faculty members, one from the Department of Learning and Teaching and one from the Counseling program, have as part of their responsibilities working on assessment activities and coordinating these activities with the Office of Assessment Support.

SOLES advanced master’s level programs, including those in the Professional Education Unit (PEU), track program assessment using TaskStream’s Accountability Management System (AMS).  This provides a place for programs to record their student learning outcomes and measures for collecting evidence of those outcomes.  It also provides a place to record the results of the data collection for the measures and the faculty interpretation of those results.  Further, TaskStream’s AMS facilitates the development of an action plan that is based on the results of measures for each learning outcome. The faculty member from each area who has agreed to be the assessment coordinator for the program(s) is responsible for maintaining a record of the program outcomes journey.  All phases of use of the AMS system are facilitated by SOLES Director of Assessment Support.

The assessment process for all initial and advanced credential programs recognized by the State of California includes these common elements:

  1. Review of California Standards for the area of focus (i.e., preliminary elementary education, preliminary secondary education, preliminary special education, pupil personnel services: school counseling, preliminary administrative services, professional administrative services).
  2. Development of course level student learning outcomes that relate to the program mission and the California Standards.
  3. Curriculum mapping to determine points of instruction and assessment related to California Standards.
  4. Determination of appropriate midpoint and exit assessments to address the standards-based student learning outcomes. Additional points of assessment recommended by the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) are implemented for the special education program.
  5. Data collection by faculty and use of the Performance Assessment of California Teachers (PACT) for elementary and secondary teacher credential candidates.
  6. Additional data are pulled from state records for candidates who have to pass a specific test (CSET, RICA).
  7. Data analysis and summary by Director of Assessment Support.
  8. Meeting of faculty and Director of Assessment Support to review results and determine action items.
  9. Changes are made as appropriate and data are collected to determine if the changes are effective.

The assessment process for all advanced master’s programs includes these common elements:

  1. Development of program level student learning outcomes.
  2. Development of course level student learning outcomes that relate to the program mission and the program level student learning outcomes.
  3. Curriculum mapping to determine points of instruction and assessment related to program level student learning outcomes.
  4. Determination of appropriate midpoint and exit assessments to address the program level student learning outcomes.
  5. Data collection by faculty.
  6. Data analysis and summary by Director of Assessment Support.
  7. Meeting of faculty and Director of Assessment Support to review results and determine action items.
  8. Changes are made as appropriate and data are collected to determine if the changes are effective.

Much of the early program assessment data were retained on paper documents. The first electronic data collection was program exit surveys, developed by program faculty and delivered by the Office of Assessment using Survey Monkey.  2006-2007 was the first year in which programs used electronic data collection in a systematic manner. Survey Monkey permitted data to be exported into Excel spreadsheets, which can be more easily analyzed for program use than data collected using paper documents. This provided important information for program evaluation, but allowed only for indirect assessment of student learning. Since Fall of 2008, the Office of Assessment Support has assisted all programs with a clinical component in using an on-line system of data collection for direct evidence of knowledge skills and dispositions. In spring 2010, SOLES purchased Qualtrics software to facilitate more direct assessment efforts across all programs. During the same semester, SOLES was also able to launch a system embedded in student university accounts to have candidates in all programs complete course evaluations.

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