Standard 5: Provider Quality
Our EPP’s quality assurance system or Learning Assessment Reporting System (LARS) is comprised of multiple measures that provides and monitors regular and comprehensive data on candidate qualifications, progress, and performance; completer achievements; program quality; and EPP operational efficacy. As an additive measure, Texas requires all candidate data from admissions through recommendation for state certification to be included in individual candidate folders housed in the Office of Teacher Preparation and Advising [5.2.1]. This two-pronged approach to quality assurance provides formative, ongoing feedback and summative decision points to candidates and to programs. In 2012-2013, the EPP purchased an external online provider as a transparent and accessible system to monitor candidate progress and performance. Insurmountable obstacles arose among our university’s institutional technology security system and the external provider’s inflexible requirements of unlimited access to our servers. The EPP continued negotiations with the provider until 2015 and the EPP finally withdrew from the contract. The EPP has used the LARS system for quality control, quality assurance, and as a timeline mechanism since 2013. Currently, the EPP is in the process of creating our own proprietary system for the EPP.
The LARS quality assurance system relies on relevant, verifiable, representative, cumulative, and actionable measures collected from the EPP and program faculty on an annual basis. The EPP gathers and uploads these collected data into the online LARS system on a cyclical rotation [5.1.1]. Included in the data are the Program or Unit Mission Statement (due on September 30 of each year) that identifies a clear and descriptive program purpose aligned with department and institutional missions; Instructional and Non-Instructional Outcomes that are meaningful, visible, and measureable; Methods and Criteria (each outcome includes at least three methods that draw from at least two direct and two indirect data sources, the criteria of the data sources, the course name, number, assignment, or activity, and the scoring or assessment instrument used); Assessment Results (due on June 30 of each year) that provides results and analyses of the methods used including qualitative or quantitative data in a narrative summary or table and a well-reasoned description of conclusions, significance, and impact); Strengths; Areas for Growth; Actions and Next Steps; and a Feedback Loop [5.1.1].
Through the use of the LARS quality assurance system and the ongoing and regular monitoring of candidates’ individual folders by the Director of Teacher Preparation and Advising, the EPP regularly and systematically assesses performance against our goals and relevant standards, tracks results over time, tests innovations, and monitors effects of our selection criteria on subsequent progress and completion and uses the results of feedback loops to improve our program elements and processes based upon our Selected Improvement Plan [5.3.1]. External data from TEU and EPP Advisory Council Meetings, Principal Employer Surveys, Clinical Teachers’ Exit Surveys, academic program evaluations and reviews, and faculty annual performance assessment reports are collected, analyzed, and reported through the EPP and the Office for Learning Assessment for continuous improvement [5.4.1]. The evaluation of both candidate-level data and unit-level data informs the EPP’s efforts to improve the quality of our preparation through curriculum and instruction, the use of technology, and the quality of our candidates on an ongoing, systemic, and balanced basis.
The cycle of assessment to measure completer impact and available outcome data on P-12 student growth and development are summarized, analyzed, shared widely, and are acted upon for decision-making related to programs, resource allocation, and future direction in the TEU and EPP Advisory Council bi-annual meetings, education faculty meetings, and Dean/Superintendent meetings [5.4.1]. These meetings and ongoing communications with our stakeholders including LEA employers, practitioners, school and community partners, clinical teachers, and university faculty ensure active involvement and participation in the EPP’s program evaluation, continuous improvement, and identification of models of excellence.
At each Decision Point [1.1.16], candidates’ GPAs, required courses, state certification exam results, background checks, requirements for field and clinical experiences, and candidate progression throughout the EPP in PEOs and Ethical and Professional Dispositions are monitored and evaluated. Candidates are given both informal and formal feedback on their progress by faculty, their cooperating teachers, university field supervisors, and the Director of Clinical Teaching and Advising. The professional learning community (PLC) that includes all partners and stakeholders contribute to the design and development of the assessment system through our collaborative preparation of high quality candidates as clinical teachers and future educators. This cycle of assessment enables the EPP through shared efforts and shared accountability with the Office of Learning Assessment, Academic Services, Region 16 Education Service Center (ESC), and our LEA partners informs our program operation, efficacy, and enables the EPP to continually improve our plans.
In our LARS quality assurance system, each program within the EPP evaluates two PEOs per year on a cyclical rotation. Some questions the EPP seeks to answer each year are:
In the EPP’s ongoing efforts to create an evidence-based culture of assessment and continuous improvement, the use of reliable and valid measures and attention to sources of bias are addressed. In instances where bias may occur, our EPP uses multiple raters, anonymous scoring, and validated instruments and/or rubrics. This includes the Professional Development Appraisal System (PDAS) appraisal form for clinical teaching that is also used statewide to evaluate in-service teachers. Reliability, validity, and bias for this instrument are carefully monitored by TEA, the EPP, and the University Office of Learning Assessment. In working with these entities, the EPP ensures confidentiality of the data collected from all sources. Additionally, our comprehensive approach to continuous improvement allows for the testing of innovations and identification of models of excellence [5.5.1]. Currently, three distinct innovations meet these criteria, the Center for Learning Disabilities, the Williams’ Collection of Children’s Literature Reading Room, and the Texas Panhandle Professional Learning Network (TXPPLN), A Candidate Preparation and Professional Learning Partnership between WTAMU and Texas Panhandle School Districts. The TXPPLN will customize the EdCamp model to a co-constructed, mutually beneficial partnership focused upon continuous improvement of candidate preparation and continuing professional education, linking theory with practice and shared accountability for candidate outcomes and continuing professional development for certified Texas educators [5.5.1]. Through these innovations, the EPP is investigating the connections among teacher preparation experiences, pre-service development, community involvement, professional development, and the relationship to P-12 student learning.
Our EPP Selected Improvement Plan focal area relates to Standard 5, Component 5.1. To address this component, our EPP has developed an implementation schedule with appropriate supports for candidates and faculty along with metrics to evaluate both candidate success and EPP continuous improvement [5.3.1]. It is the intent of the EPP to develop an additional in-house quality assurance system to meeting the growing needs of the EPP. Our current quality assurance system is robust, systemic, and systematic. Our EPP uses the results and feedback loops of our inquiries and data collection to establish unit-based priorities; to enhance our programs, offerings, and capacity; and to test innovations through the use of a single source for data collection and reporting. TEA has added additional new requirements in Fall 2016 for EPPs for online submissions of data such as the PDAS Observation data, but with our own tailor-made system in conjunction with LARS, the EPP can add innovations and online components to house and retrieve our data.
The EPP’s quality assurance system reflects not only our shared vision or conceptual framework, but also embraces national, professional, state, regional, and local standards and expectations as well as the legal requirements of our profession.
Evidence for CAEP Standard 5 are located in the Table of Evidence.