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Program Evaluation

Claims
The faculty in the teacher preparation program asserts that we prepare teachers who are competent, caring and qualified. Our teacher candidates can and do teach effectively and are prepared for the responsibilities of professional educators.

We also believe that every candidate acquires knowledge in the areas of learning to learn, multicultural perspectives and understandings and technology in their teacher preparation course work. For those candidates who study at the University of Richmond as undergraduates and those who come to us with an earned Bachelors degree, their undergraduate and/or graduate work, as well as life and work experience, have also contributed to their knowledge in these areas.

The University of Richmond makes four claims about the candidates who successfully complete the teacher preparation program.

Claim 1. Knowledge of Content – UR candidates possess a rich understanding of subject matter and apply this knowledge in the subject(s) they teach. (Quality Principle 1.1 – Subject matter knowledge)

Claim 2. Knowledge of Pedagogy – UR candidates design classroom instruction based on current research, best educational practice and the Virginia Standards of Learning (SOL) to promote the learning of all students. (Quality Principle 1.2 – Pedagogical knowledge and Quality Principle 1.4.3 – Technology)

Claim 3. Professionalism – UR candidates exhibit the highest levels of professionalism and caring in dealing with students and their families from diverse backgrounds. (Quality Principle 1.3 – Caring and effective teaching skill and Quality Principle 1.4.2 – Multicultural perspectives and accuracy)

Claim 4. Commitment to Learning – UR candidates are reflective practitioners who can acquire, assess, apply, and integrate new knowledge. Upon entering the profession they possess the foundational skills for lifelong learning and continuing professional development. (Quality Principle 1.4.1 – Learning how to learn)

Evidence
In providing evidence to support our claims, faculty analyzed data from a random representative sample of 200 program completers in years 2008-2009 to 2012-2013. Some of the data we use to support our claims and the quality of our candidates include:

Standardized Test Scores
We use scores from three standardized exams as measures of basic skill knowledge in reading, writing and mathematics. At program entry, these include:

  • SAT
  • Praxis I
  • Virginia Communication and Literacy Assessment

All mean scores for ALL tests were above the state’s required passing scores for candidates in all program levels (elementary, secondary, PK-12).

Praxis II scores were used as one measure of subject matter knowledge. Among the 6 exam areas reported (n≥5), all median scores exceeded the Virginia cut scores as well as the national median score for each endorsement area. The percent of candidates receiving recognition of excellence ranged from 11 percent (biology) to 100 percent (chemistry and French).

A test of reading is required for licensure by Virginia for elementary teachers, either the Virginia Reading Assessment or Reading for Virginia Educators (after July 2011) and is used as a measure of pedagogical knowledge necessary for success in he teaching of reading and other literacy skills. Among the 116 candidates’ scores reported, the median and mean scores were higher than the required Virginia passing scores.

Grade Point Averages
We used GPAs of program completers as measures of their pedagogical knowledge and professionalism/caring. Cumulative GPAs for education coursework ranged from 3.79-3.92 with SDs ranging from .06-.22.

Teacher Work Sample Evaluations
Student teachers complete a teacher work sample in which they provide artifacts related to instructional planning and assessment, rationales and contextual analysis, data on student learning, and teaching reflections. The university supervisor assesses overall performance and performance on 7 different categories using a rating scale of 1-6 (6 is high).  The mean overall score for all candidates sampled as 5.65 (SD = .65).

Student Teacher Evaluations
We used scores on student teacher evaluations to provide further evidence for our claims. Each cooperating teacher and university supervisor completes a rating of student teacher performance on the program’s standards using a 3 point scale (1 = average and 3 = outstanding).

  • Mean ratings on Knowledge of Content (old form) and Professional Knowledge (new form) by cooperating teachers were 2.68 and 2.73; mean ratings of the same standards by supervisors were 2.75 and 2.80.
  • Mean ratings on professionalism standards on the old and new form by cooperating teachers were 2.78 and 2.86; mean ratings by supervisors were 2.83 and 2.90.

Program Graduates Receiving Honors
We track the successes of our graduates once they enter the field and note alumni honored by their school districts as teacher of the year/first year teacher of the year. In the years 2009-2014, 10 alumni were honored as teachers of the year and 45 were honored as first year teachers of the year.

Student Teaching Placements
We work to ensure our candidates work with diverse students in preparation for the positions they will one day fill. Each year we analyze the students teaching placements of candidates to examine this diversity. Among the most recent 56 placements reviewed (2013-2014), an average of 71 percent included racial diversity, 57 percent included economic diversity, and 46 percent included linguistic diversity.