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Department of Education Accreditation

4a.1. What proficiencies related to diversity are candidates expected to develop and demonstrate?

The diversity-related proficiencies teacher and counselor candidates are expected to develop and demonstrate are prominent components of the conceptual framework. The conceptual framework version 2003-2008 includes a total of 19 diversity-related proficiencies, constituting 17% of total proficiencies across four of the framework’s six areas. Teacher/Counselor candidates must meet diversity proficiencies detailed in course-based and field-based signature assignments.  Candidates must also participate in civic engagement experiences to ensure development and demonstration of proficiencies related to diversity, such as volunteering to work with refugee children and children suffering abuse.   

Diversity proficiencies include development and demonstration of knowledge, skills, and dispositions that promote P-12 student achievement in learning environments that are equitable and inclusive. A particular focus of the unit's conceptual framework is the preparation of education professionals who respect and appreciate human differences, who believe in justice and fairness for all people, who support and advance learning for all students, and who are prepared to engage with all students in an equitable and caring manner. This focus is reflected in the unit’s curricula wherein at the baccalaureate level candidates may choose from nine initial licensing programs.  These programs are comprised of dual content programs of study which include subject disciplines merged with the mild intervention program. The unit’s post-baccalaureate programs prepare candidates for both the initial and advanced Exceptional Needs licenses and advanced School Counseling licenses. These programs prepare candidates to serve students both in inclusive general education settings and least restrictive non-inclusive settings.  

Diversity proficiencies are assessed by means of candidate performance on course-based and field-based signature assignments whose rubrics are aligned with conceptual framework performance outcomes. Of the diversity-related proficiencies in the conceptual framework, version 2003-2008, 79% are in the Knowledge of Learner area, with the remainder distributed across three of the six conceptual framework areas: Knowledge of Pedagogy, Knowledge of Self as a Partner in a Learning Community, and Knowledge of Spiritual and Professional Self.

The conceptual framework version 2009, approved in fall 2009, contains fewer overall performance outcomes than the 2003 – 2008 versions.  The 2009 version includes a total of 13 diversity-related proficiencies, constituting 42% of all proficiencies in the conceptual framework.  Across five of the conceptual framework’s six areas, the distribution of diversity proficiencies is as follows: Knowledge of Self as an Individual and Professional (0.8%), Knowledge of Learner (39%), Knowledge of Pedagogy (15%), Knowledge of Self as a Partner in a Learning Community (15%), and Knowledge of Spiritual Self (23%).  It is noteworthy that the highest number of performance proficiencies in both the 2003-2008 and 2009 versions of the conceptual framework are located in the area of Knowledge of the Learner, reflecting the importance the unit places on assessing teacher and counselor candidates’ proficiencies in working with diverse student populations.

The unit’s programs assess candidate diversity-related knowledge and skill proficiencies through multiple course-based and field-based signature assignments, in addition to dispositional proficiencies related to working with diverse student populations. Candidate performance data on diversity-related proficiencies are detailed in element 4a.3. 

4a.2. What required coursework and experiences enable teacher candidates and candidates for other school professional roles to develop?

A comprehensive list of required coursework and experiences is located in the Course and Field Diversity Chart. Also, the unit’s curriculum alignment matrices illustrate courses within programs that address national and state diversity standards.

At the baccalaureate initial licensing level, candidates develop awareness of diversity in Introduction to Education in Inclusive Settings (EDUC 140), which presents an overview of diverse populations by ethnicity, race, socioeconomic status, gender, language, religion, and exceptionalities. The Cultural Diversity and Human Rights (SOCW 377), course, taken by all baccalaureate initial candidates, focuses on local and global diverse populations.

Baccalaureate initial licensing programs, with the exception of K-12 visual arts, are dual licensing programs that prepare candidates to teach students in both general education and mild intervention school settings. Additionally, baccalaureate teacher education programs require candidates to complete a total of 40 hours of civic engagement experiences, such as participating in the drama club for cognitively and physically impaired populations. Three teacher education anchor courses, Introduction to Education in Inclusive Settings, EDUC 140; Practicum, EDUC 201; and, Advanced Practicum, EDUC 301 are co-taught, with one instructor bringing expertise in general education and the other an expert in exceptional needs. In EDUC 140, the Exceptionalities Profile requires candidates to demonstrate their knowledge of student populations with exceptional learning needs. Also, in EDUC 140, candidates research prominent social and cultural issues affecting contemporary education and complete ten-hour field placements in diverse schools. The field components of practica courses, EDUC 201and EDUC 301, and Student Teaching, EDUC 480/483, include the Candidate Field Assessment Process (CFAP), whereby candidates are assessed on preparation of lesson plans, lesson delivery, and their analysis of P-12 student work (details in 4a3). Through CFAP’s multiple assessments, candidates demonstrate evidence of the impact their skills and dispositions have on student learning.   Additionally, in EDUC 301 candidates demonstrate their understanding of the diversity of their field placements through on-site research project resulting in the School Community Profile signature assignment.  In Educational Psychology and Measurement, EDUC 250, candidates explore methods of practice specific to diverse student populations. In Effective Collaboration and Use of Community Resources, SPED 405, a co-requisite of student teaching, candidates apply models of collaboration to their work with families, schools, and the community.

K-12 visual arts majors complete field work with general education students in settings that include students with exceptional needs and students from diverse backgrounds. Their course work and community involvement include: the study of culturally diverse artists and art works, attendance at museum exhibits, volunteer work with children at Vincent Village, a family homeless shelter, and collaboration with faculty and parents at Price Elementary, to create and exhibit student art work.

Post-baccalaureate exceptional needs candidates at the initial and advanced licensure levels develop awareness of and proficiencies in diversity through Methods and Techniques for Teaching Pre-Kindergarten Exceptional Needs Children, SPED 507; Methods and Techniques for Teaching Exceptional Elementary Children, SPED 508; Advanced Methods for Teaching Exceptional Middle and High School Youth, SPED 509; Functional Curriculum / Assistive Technology, SPED 518; and, Classroom and Behavior Management, SPED 541.  These courses utilize either the INCLUDE Plan or COACH Planning Processes (available on-site), each of which develops candidates’ abilities to analyze how student diversity can inform effective instructional planning. In Practicum, SPED 513 and Student Teaching, EDUC 583, candidates apply their knowledge and skills of learner characteristics to work with students with special needs. Both Classroom and Behavior Management, SPED 541, and Diagnostic and Prescriptive Teaching, SPED 540 focus on adapting instruction and services for diverse populations.

Several required school counseling courses prepare candidates to adapt services to diverse student populations. Social and Cultural Issues in Counseling, PSYC 522, explores social problems and their impact on counseling. The course sensitizes candidates to ethnocentrism and develops their skills for interacting respectfully with diverse populations. Lifestyle and Career Counseling, PSYC 518, addresses theories and practical delivery systems in schools and community mental health settings, with attention to how theories and service delivery impact diverse populations. Counseling Skills, PSYC 544, explores candidates’ personal counseling styles with a variety of client types, including clients from diverse backgrounds. Group Process, PSYC 548, addresses counseling theories, groups, methods, and skills, with attention to issues relevant to candidates’ work with diverse populations. Professional Orientation: Ethical and Legal Issues, PSYC 578, addresses how the ethical and legal codes of professional counseling organizations should inform candidates’ engagement with diverse populations.

4a.3. What key assessments provide evidence about candidates' proficiencies related to diversity? How are candidates performing on these assessments?

Key assessments that provide evidence about candidate proficiencies include course and field-based signature assignments and dispositional assessments.  Three years of aggregated data indicate that candidates in baccalaureate initial licensing programs rank on or above the expected levels on course-based and field-based signature assignments  

Comparison scores of diversity-related dispositional proficiencies  indicate negligible performance differences among candidates across baccalaureate initial licensing programs. Data generated from the Assessment of Professional Dispositions for all baccalaureate initial licensing programs reveal expected developmental progression in diversity proficiencies as candidates move through key courses that correspond to program transition points: Teaching in Inclusive Settings (EDUC 140), Practicum in Teaching (EDUC 201), Advanced Practicum (EDUC 301), and Student Teaching (EDUC 480/483).

During the three-year data period, post-baccalaureate exceptional needs candidates’ dispositional performance as measured both in courses (Mild Disabilities, SPED 510; Teacher Inquiry, SPED 550) and in the field Practicum, SPED 513, are at or above expected proficiency levels. Exceptional needs candidates’ overall scores are 4.67 on a 5.00 scale (Capability). Mean score variation among mild and intense intervention candidates and among initial and advanced licensure candidates is negligible.

On course-based assessments of candidate knowledge and skills, a four-point scale is employed. Exceptional needs candidates’ mean scores are at the Acceptable (3.0 / 4.0) and Exceeds Expectations (4.0 / 4.0) levels on diversity-related knowledge and skill proficiencies (Please select table bookmarks for course-based signature assignments).  On field-based assessments of candidate knowledge and skills, a five-point scale is employed. Exceptional needs candidates’ mean scores are at the Acceptable (4.0 / 5.0) and Exceeds Expectations (5.0 / 5.0) on diversity-related knowledge and skill proficiencies.

School counseling candidates’ Assessment of Professional Dispositions instrument varies from that of other programs, employing a three-point scale. Candidates’ dispositions are assessed in field-based signature assignments in Practicum, PSYC 579 and Internship in School Counseling, PSYC 583. In assessments conducted during field-based courses, candidates’ dispositional performance is at or above average. On assessments of candidate knowledge and skills, a 4-point scale is employed. School counseling candidates’ mean score occur at the “Acceptable” or “Exceeds Expectations” levels on diversity-related knowledge and skill proficiencies. (Click table’s bookmark for ‘field-based’ signature assignments.) Although initially proving problematic in 2007-2008, mean scores on 2 indicators related to attitudes, relationships, and participation with colleagues, caregivers and school constituencies have markedly improved.