A-Z Index

Conclusion: Findings, Recommendations & Plans for Improvement Based on Our Self-Study

In the process of its AAQEP self-study, Northwest has identified seven action items moving forward as we strive for continuous improvement. We have linked these to our University-wide strategic objectives. These four objectives emanated from a collaborative suite of conversations as part of Northwest’s strategic planning in 2018-2019, and involved the Educational Leadership Team, Faculty Senate, Administration, and Finance.

Action Item #1: Finish Old Program Strong

The recent dip in candidates’ perceptions of their programs, as indicated in the First-Year Teacher Surveys, suggests a morale boost amongst our students completing the old programs. Since analyzing the data, we have realized that our excitement for our newly redesigned undergraduate education programs may have resulted in negative perceptions of our old programs. Phrases like “teaching out the old program” may leave candidates feeling as though they were left out of something special. To remedy this, Northwest is taking steps to make sure to finish the old programs strong. We are addressing these survey results and perception problems in Council on Teacher Education (COTE) meetings, Secondary Education Coordinating Council (SECC) meetings, and other faculty groups. In our analysis of the data, we do not believe that there has been a drop in the quality of teacher preparation, so much as a change in the perceptions. As we hold these conversations in fall 2019 and continuing through the spring semester, we look forward in March 2020 to sharing the steps we have taken and the results thus far.

(Northwest Strategic Objective #1, Addressing Changing Learner Needs)

Action Item #2: Qualitative Student-Teacher Survey

Northwest is implementing a new qualitative student-teacher survey. Through Missouri’s First-Year Teacher, Principal, and Leader Surveys, Northwest has access to rich quantitative feedback from its completers. In order to clarify this quantitative treasure chest, Northwest will begin a program asking student teachers to reflect during student teaching regarding what elements from their programs they found useful and which they think can be improved for future candidates. This instrument will be administered when student teachers return to campus during student teaching. Each student will be asked to reflect in writing for ten minutes. Then candidates will divide in groups of 8-12 to discuss with a faculty representative for thirty to forty minutes their feedback. Each faculty member will then compose a brief summary of the conversations he or she led. The candidates’ writing and the faculty’s written reflections will then be compiled into one document, which Northwest’s Quality Assurance Team (QAT) will analyze for trends. These trends will then be summarized in a three-page document, which will be distributed to the Professional Education Unit (PEU) faculty and discussed at future faculty meetings and PEU retreats. PEU leadership will then follow-up with faculty and track any changes to programs, assignments, and assessments that result from the qualitative survey data.

Northwest has implemented a pilot for the qualitative survey with its Fall 2019 student teachers. Northwest collected pilot data on November 8, 2019, and looks forward to sharing the results from the survey with the AAQEP site visitors in March 2020.

(Northwest Strategic Objective #1, Addressing Changing Learner Needs)

Action Item #3: Supporting Faculty Research at Horace Mann & Leet Center

One of Northwest’s greatest strengths is its two laboratory schools: Horace Mann Elementary and the Phyllis and Richard Leet Center for Children and Families. Northwest wants to strive to continue to improve these resources, both in terms of the opportunities that they afford our elementary candidates, but also as a resource for faculty research. Northwest will in the spring semester begin an initiative to support faculty research in the laboratory schools. This will begin in January with a brainstorming session led by the assistant director of teacher education between faculty and teachers to consider new ideas for research. Northwest looks forward in March 2020 to sharing the results of this work and ideas and plans for faculty research moving forward.

(Northwest Strategic Objective #2, Addressing Workforce and Community Solutions as a Preferred Provider)

Action Item #4: Revision of PEU Standards and Program Outcomes

In creating Table 3: Northwest State and National Education Preparation Standards Alignment, it became clear that Northwest’s School of Education and program-specific outcomes should be revised. This need aligns with Northwest’s Strategic Objective #1: Addressing Changing Learner Needs. Northwest desires to revisit, refine, and make better use of program learning outcomes for continuous quality improvement of Northwest’s School of Education curriculum and programs. For example, these could be improved from aligning them further to AAQEP standards. Further, these have not yet undergone a holistic university-wide review. As part of this process, the assistant director of teacher education will work with a team from the PEU to revise the School of Education outcomes into a set of outcomes that encompasses the entire PEU; the AAQEP self-study process has already laid a framework for these. The assistant director of teacher education will then work together with PEU faculty to lay out a clearer guide to the key assessments that align with these standards. Northwest looks forward to sharing the results of this work with the AAQEP site visitors in March 2020. 

(Northwest Strategic Objective #1, Addressing Changing Learner Needs)

Action Item #5: Involvement of Professional Advisory Board in Data Analysis

We have a strong professional advisory board for the School of Education. The board, comprised of principals, teachers, and alumni, provide strong feedback, great suggestions to improve curriculum, and connect candidates to high-quality field and clinical experiences and job placements. The School of Education seeks to increase involvement from the Professional Advisory Board by involving that entity in the annual analysis of first-year teacher survey results to plan curricular revisions based on this and other relevant data: NOTE: implemented in 2019- Nov. 4th (Maryville) and Nov. 11th (Northwest-Kansas City)

(Northwest Strategic Objective #2, Addressing Workforce and Community Solutions as a Preferred Provider)

(AAQEP standards 2.1 and 3.3)

Action Item #6: Revision Data Dashboard and Predictive Analytics

Northwest was recognized for innovative use of data in educator preparation by AACTE with the Data Systems Case Study. Action Item #6 supports the continuation of the work on educator preparation dashboard to support student success through predictive analytics, including connected advising and scheduling with integrated 4-year plans to support decreased time-to-degree and better retention of students. 

(Northwest Strategic Objective #4, Disrupting and Innovating our Business Model)

Action Item #7: Continue Emphasis on Rich Clinical Practice in Diverse Settings

The Professional Education Unit recognizes a strength of our program relates to consistently rich and excellent clinical experiences in diverse settings with diverse students. We seek to build upon the excellent, mutually-beneficial partnerships represented with the fruitful Grow-your-Own program with North Kansas City School District, the Independence Fellows Program for an accelerated Master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction, and clinical partnerships in highly diverse settings with school partners. We recognize that Northwest candidates live in a predominantly monolingual (English) language area with limited access to learners who are English-language learners. This is not specific to Northwest, but a shared concern for many regional, rural-based institutions located in areas with limited diversity in language, culture, and race and/or ethnicity. The Professional Education Unit (PEU) nonetheless seeks to build upon the rich, diverse clinical experiences and expand those experiences with a targeted focus on exposure for our candidates to students who are English-language learners. 

(Northwest Strategic Objective #2, Addressing Workforce and Community Solutions as a Preferred Provider)