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3.4 Admission and monitoring processes linked to candidate success as part of a quality assurance system aligned to state requirements and professional standards

Northwest enacts a number of admission and monitoring processes linked to candidate success as part of its quality assurance system. Northwest is proud of these systems and data that demonstrates their effectiveness in providing quality teacher education programs.

Quality Assurance and Undergraduate Admission

At Northwest, the criteria for first-time freshmen are based on a combination of class rank, grade-point average and ACT/SAT score.  Northwest does not require the writing component of the ACT. The SAT score used for admission is a combination of SAT Critical Reading and SAT Mathematics scores. Students with a 21 ACT composite or higher (or the SAT equivalent: SAT-980 or 1060*); and a minimum 2.00 cumulative GPA or above (on 4.00 scale) are considered Category 1 students.  Students who have an admissions index score of 100 points based on class rank, GPA, and ACT/SAT scores; and a minimum 2.00 cumulative GPA or above (on 4.00 scale) are considered Category 2 students. 

Northwest has a retention focused program called Academic Success Coaching.  The Academic Success Coaching at Northwest was designed for the first-time freshman who, after thorough and thoughtful review of academic records and transcripts, is believed to have the potential to be successful at Northwest given the proper support. Students selected for participation in this program have identified areas of weakness and must participate in this program in order to enroll as a student at Northwest.

Northwest prides itself on having a student-friendly transfer office and process. Transfer student criteria includes 24 transferable credit hours and a 2.00 cumulative GPA on a 4.00 scale.  Students with fewer than 24 transferable credit hours must also supply a high school transcript and ACT/SAT scores for evaluation.

Northwest International students have been an integral part of the Northwest education community, and we have experienced growth in this part of the student body over the past ten years. Northwest education majors interact with and have the opportunity to broaden their global understanding and interaction without leaving the campus. International Freshman students must have a minimum high school grade point average of 2.00 or "C" average and; a college-preparatory curriculum in secondary school, including courses in mathematics, science, language and social studies.

International transfer students pose a different situation, as they may have been attending another institution where they were taking courses to allow their grades/English levels/scores to become high enough to gain admittance to Northwest. International Transfer students must have a grade point average of 2.00 or "C." Transfer students with less than 24 semester hours of transferable college coursework will be considered based on both secondary and post-secondary coursework.

Quality Assurance and Undergraduate Advising

At Northwest, student advisement is paramount. Given that students in most educational programs of study begin taking classes within the School of Education (SOE) during their first semester, guiding and assisting students toward discernment of their future as an educator is critical.

Northwest utilizes a centralized advisement center for first-year students. Each school or department has an academic advisor who focuses solely on the first-year students within those schools and departments. For students choosing to major in secondary education, the centralized advisor is within their discipline. For example, students choosing to declare a major in secondary English education have the advisor assigned to the Language, Literature, and Writing Department. These students remain with this professional advisor for one year and then are switched to the education-specific faculty advisors within their discipline. In contrast, students in the elementary programs, (elementary education, early childhood education, special education, middle school and education meta-major), have a faculty advisor rather than a professional advisor. This advisor is a faculty member in the School of Education and advises these students until they are formally admitted into the School of Education, which is generally the fourth semester.

Advising has become significantly more effective, using an intrusive, data-rich advising model for first-year students since 2015. In 2017, Northwest moved to the centralized advising system for first-year students and implemented several touchpoints and interventions specifically for these first-time students. Some of these touchpoints included adding in the Academic Success Coaching model, the Strategies for Academic Success course, and specific, consistent touchpoints throughout the academic year.

For students in the elementary programs, this type of intrusive advisement structure has been in place since the fall of 2014. Beginning that semester, students were identified as potentially ‘at-risk’ before even setting foot on campus. Using student admission information (ACT composite, high school GPA, dual credit, and class rank) the professional adviser determined which students would need more specific and focused touchpoints within the first six weeks of the semester. From this, students were classified as high-risk, medium-risk, and low-risk. The faculty advisor then made specific, early contact with those who appeared to be at highest risk. The faculty advisor continued to monitor all students throughout the semester using mid-term grade checks as well information from faculty and student support staff to determine if a student required additional intervention or was able to move to a lower risk category. At the same time, students who fell into lower risk categories upon initial evaluation were able to be moved into higher risk categories based on the evolving data. Essentially, students were placed into tiers of intervention which allowed the faculty member to focus on connecting those students at highest risk with the resources they needed to be successful.

This practice has continued and is still in place today. Northwest Missouri State University has adopted many of these practices institution-wide for all first-year students. The implementation of Starfish (Northwest 360) as an information sharing tool has streamlined the interventions process significantly. The School of Education faculty advisor can now quickly access all of the data needed to determine risk factors by accessing one information system instead of combing through multiple platforms to access data. The faculty advisor is now able to more quickly access student information, see notes from faculty and other advisors, see flags of dispositional concern and determine the best course of action to assist a student in real time. In the School of Education this interventions process happens until the student is formally admitted into the School of Education, which is often the end of their sophomore year or beginning of their junior year. Given that students are followed and their progress monitored so closely for the first two years of their academic career, the faculty advisor is able to take advising far beyond a “how are your grades” and “what do you want to be when you grow up” relationship to one of true discernment of the student’s true aptitude for the teaching profession. Northwest also tracks the retention of students who leave education, and our support and care for those students for whom education is not a calling is world-class. We assist students in finding their spot no matter which program is the best fit for them.

The faculty advisor has the role of assisting students through the discernment process. This often occurs when a student has a dispositional or academic challenge. The student is taken through a series of conversations, explorations of other majors and connections with other schools and departments across campus to find the major that will ultimately lead to their successful graduation from Northwest Missouri State University. Conversely, the student may be a stellar student in the classroom, be academically highly successful and decide that education is simply not the calling they wish to pursue. The faculty advisor then takes the student through the same set of processes to determine where the student’s passions lie and moves the student toward those majors. The School of Education holds the belief that it is the responsibility of the School to assist students in finding the major that is right for them, regardless of whether or not that is within education. Graduation and successful career placement is the ultimate goal.

Northwest provides all undergraduate students with personalized advising that ensures their individual major and career goals are aligned and supported.

Professional advisors, who specialize in specific academic areas, provide holistic support to first year students. In addition to guidance on course selection and registration, advisors connect students to campus resources and introduce students to profession-based experiences to support their major.

Most second year students transition to a faculty advisor. While professional advisors are still available in the departments when needed, faculty pick up the academic support of students and provide valuable career advice as student matriculate through their degree programs.

Students are required to meet with their advisor at least once each semester, but advisors reach out regularly to touch-base and encourage students to come in more frequently. Students can easily schedule appointments with their advisors and other in their success network through a retention tool: Northwest Success 360. For further information go to https://www.nwmissouri.edu/studentsuccess/advisement.htm

Monitoring Processes: Admission to the Professional Education Program

The Professional Education Program at Northwest Missouri State University monitors several criteria related to candidate knowledge, skills, and dispositions.  In addition to GPA and passage of standardized tests, students are required to successfully complete a robust series of academic coursework before earning admittance to the program. Northwest puts considerable resources into recruitment, retention and support, including a full-time coordinator of the office of Teacher Education Student Services (TESS). The TESS Office monitors and admits candidates, communicates with professional education advisors, serves as the secretary of the Teacher Education Admissions Committee, and provides data analysis, data warehousing, and report generation vital for all undergraduate teacher education candidates as part of a robust quality assurance system.  Prior to the 2016-17 academic year, admission to the professional education program, students were required to complete 62-211:Observation and Activity or 61-262: Practicum I (61-262 Middle School or 61-260 Secondary or 22-260 Physical Ed) grade of C or better; Oral Communication/Speech (29-102) C or better; two Composition courses or one Honors Comp; Math Course (Elementary Majors – 17-171) ; and Information Technology Competency Course. 

Students must also pass all four subsections of the revised Missouri General Education Assessment (MoGEA). The minimum score requirement for the revised MoGEA for the 2018-2019 school year are: Reading—202, Writing—193, Math—220, and Science/Social Studies--204.  GPA requirements: 2.75 overall GPA, 3.00 GPA in major and a 3.00 GPA in professional education courses as well as no more than 7 hours below a “C” in courses that meet general education requirements. Other requirements include a subscription to Tk20 and successful completion of Criminal Background Check through the FCSR/TESS approval.  All students must register with the Family Care Safety Register so that a Criminal Background Check can be ran in Observation and Activity (62-211) or Practicum I (61-260 Secondary or 61-262 Middle School or 22-260 Physical Education) or Professional Learning Community (62-113).

Education majors seeking admission to the professional education program in 2017-2018 or newer Catalogs must successfully complete all Phase I coursework with a grade of C or better for their major.  

  • The courses include Ecology of Teaching (62-111), Developmental Foundations of Learning (62-112); Professional Learning Community I (62-113); Introduction to Curriculum And Instruction (62-114); Principles of Assessment (62-115); Professional Learning Community II (62-116); Inclusive Classrooms & Positive Learning Environments (62-117); Teaching is Communication (62-118); and Professional Learning Community III (62-119)
  • Agricultural Education Major Coursework Requirements vary:  Ecology of Teaching (62-111); Foundations of Agricultural Education (03-320); Inclusive Classrooms & Positive Learning Environments (62-117); Teaching is Communication (62-118); and Professional Learning Community III (62-119)
  • Physical Education Major Coursework Requirements also vary:  Ecology of Teaching (62-111); Developmental Foundations of Learning (62-112); Practicum I (22-260); Literacy and Applications in PE (22-445); Inclusive Classrooms & Positive Learning Environments (62-117); Teaching is Communication (62-118); and Professional Learning Community III (62-119)

Other Requirements for all education majors include a 2.75 Cumulative GPA & 3.00 Professional Education GPA and pass all four subsections of the Missouri General Education Assessment (MoGEA). *The minimum score requirement for the revised MoGEA for the 2018-2019 school year are: Reading—202, Writing—193, Math—220, and Science/Social Studies—204). Successfully complete Criminal Background Check through the Family Care Safety Registry/TESS approval. Demonstrate appropriate professional dispositions as measured by the dispositions assessment, and acquire subscription to Tk20 and create student account.  

In the fall of 2019, the testing requirement was revised for students in both Catalogs due to a memo that was released by the DESE Office of Educator Quality. This memo stated that the ACT may be used as the entry-level test for teacher preparation programs instead of the MoGEA. EPPs were allowed to choose their entry-level test and determine appropriate cut scores for whichever test they chose. In addition, EPPs could develop an appeals process to determine admittance for students who did not meet the EPP’s identified cut scores.

After analysis and discussion with a team of PEU faculty and staff, the following change was made to the entry-level testing process for admittance into teacher education for Fall 2019.

To be admitted as a teacher candidate, Northwest education students should:

  1. MoGEA: Take the MoGEA once. If the student passes all subtests with Northwest-approved cut scores, this admission requirement is met.
  2. ACT: If the student fails to pass the MoGEA, but has a Composite ACT score of 20 or higher, this admission requirement is met.
  3. GPA: If the student fails to meet the MoGEA or ACT cut scores, but has a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher, this admission requirement is met.

In addition, if the student fails to meet any of the above admission requirements, they could appeal to the Teacher Education Admission Committee (TEAC). TEAC would take into account other factors, including student disposition assessment data, to determine whether the student should be admitted without meeting other admission requirements. Finally, if TEAC does not admit the student, the student could appeal to the Dean of the School of Education, who would hear the appeal.

Monitoring Processes: Teacher Education Admissions Committee (TEAC)

The Teacher Education Admissions Committee (TEAC) is a sub-committee of COTE.  The charge for this committee is to review petitions by students to allow admittance to teacher education and/or teacher education blocked courses (due to the candidate not passing all admission requirements for teacher education, the higher level courses get blocked). All Petitions to Enroll in a Blocked Class are reviewed by TEAC. TEAC ensures that the admissions process to the Professional Education Program is managed carefully and fairly and that students entering Northwest as teacher education majors have early feedback on admittance expectations and potential deficiencies and that the Assessment System empowers teacher candidates to utilize multiple measures to demonstrate their capability to be a teacher. The primary focus of this team is to assure talented students have the support necessary to qualify for entry into the Professional Education Program and to hear cases of students who have not yet met these expectations.

TEAC has maintained student records since its inception in 2000. Over the course of these nineteen years, some 840 Northwest candidates have benefited from the TEAC process, a brief summary of each of these is provided in the TEAC Individual Student Data, 2000-2019 spreadsheet. The data is further interpreted in the TEAC Quant Data 2000-2019 spreadsheet

Northwest retention and quality assurance system is robust. For almost twenty years, the TEAC has met twice a month to support candidates, provide feedback, and make decisions on petitions for course enrollment and admittance to the program. Please see minutes of TEAC decisions here. Note these student names have been redacted to ensure confidentiality. Northwest monitors our decisions processes and strives to improve decision quality. The TEAC committee also provides continuity of systematic operations to support student retention, while serving as a faculty on-boarding process in support of quality.

Monitoring Processes: Student Teaching Application

Students who plan to student teach must attend two student teaching orientation meetings during the semester immediately preceding the semester scheduled for student teaching. One meeting is usually held in September for spring semester student teaching and January for fall semester student teaching and the other meeting will be held at the end of the semester prior to student teaching. Student teaching is not available during the summer trimester. Only students who have indicated on their application to Professional Education that they will be student teaching during the subsequent student teaching semester will be sent notification of the orientation meeting. Information concerning the student teaching semester is obtained from the “Application for Admission to Professional Education” form. It is the student’s responsibility to report to the TESS Office any changes in plans to student teach.

Persons enrolling in student teaching must have a minimum GPA of 2.75 in their total college program and a minimum GPA of 3.00 in their teaching field and in their professional education courses, with no course in professional education having a grade lower than a C. Furthermore, all teacher candidates will be required to attempt the appropriate initial certification, state-mandated content examination(s) (MoCA) prior to finalizing placement into student teaching. The student teaching website contains information on the application for student teaching, required reporting forms, the Student Teaching Handbook, and other information and forms needed for student teaching placement. Northwest students may request placement in schools within specified territorial boundaries. Whenever possible, students are encouraged to seek placement at schools whose populations represent diverse populations. Further information concerning student teaching placement may be obtained through the Director of Educational Field Experiences.

All student teaching candidates are required to complete a minimum of two blocks (one semester) of student teaching experience.

Monitoring Processes: Council on Teacher Education (COTE)

Northwest assures the quality of curriculum by bringing together diverse constituencies including: undergraduate and graduate students, faculty members from the School of Education, Arts and Sciences, and the Professional Education Unit, school partners and district representatives, the Assistant Director of Teacher Education, Dean of the School of Education, Assessment Director, Certification Officer, TESS Coordinator, and Associate Provost. The Council on Teacher Education (COTE) is charged with reviewing all curriculum related to educator preparation programs at the undergraduate ad graduate level. Graduate level proposals for curricular improvements are also decided upon by the Graduate Council. After review by COTE and/or Graduate Council, curriculum is vetted by the Faculty Senate, Provost, President, Board of Regents, and the Missouri Department of Higher Education. These levels of oversight ensure the quality of curriculum is strong while preserving a sense of faculty voice in the curriculum process. Please see COTE minutes here.

Monitoring Processes: Teacher Education Guidance Committee (TEGC)

The TEGC committee is responsible for issues affecting teacher candidates after admission to the professional education program. This may include curricular issues, dispositional issues and/or have deficiencies which are so serious that the candidate’s success in the field of teaching would be in jeopardy. Such deficiencies may or may not relate to quantitative criteria.

The guidance committee is a standing subcommittee of the Council on Teacher Education. Although the Council on Teacher Education has overall reviewing authority, this subcommittee, known as the Teacher Education Guidance Committee, develops and implements necessary policies. Due to the sensitive and confidential nature of the issues acted upon by this committee, the membership will be limited as follows: the President of the Council on Teacher Education (COTE), the Assistant Director of Teacher Education, Chairperson of the Department of Professional Education (or designee), and the Director of Field Experiences. Other persons that may possess relevant information such as the student’s advisor, cooperating teacher, or university supervisor may be contacted on a case-by-case basis.

Any University faculty member may refer a student to the Teacher Education Guidance Committee. The chairperson of the Council on Teacher Education will then structure the committee and arrange a meeting in which the student may be called to appear. The chairperson will then report the decision of the committee to the student.

The committee will take one of three courses of action in regard to a student in question:

  1. No action; the student would continue in the Teacher Education Program.
  2. Recommend remedial actions that the student must take, to be followed by further screening.
  3. Recommend remedial action and suspension from the teacher education program until the student has met said requirements of the committee.
  4. Recommend that the student be terminated from the Teacher Education Program, in which case he or she would not be permitted to complete any program from this University leading to educator certification.

All students will have the right to appeal in person regarding decisions rendered by the Teacher Education Guidance Committee. The purpose of the appeal is not to provide a secondary hearing of a case already heard by the committee, but rather to insure that students have been able to present all information pertaining to their case and that proper protocols have been followed. Students should provide a basis for their appeal by submitting either new information (e.g. documentation from a doctor, counselor, or official) pertaining to their case, or evidence of error or bias on the part of the previous committee. The students must initiate the appeals process by contacting the Office of the Dean in the School of Education.

Monitoring Processes: State Teacher Certification Support

Northwest supports teacher candidates through admittance to the program and provides support for state licensure. A full-time staff member dedicated to student licensure works with each candidate for state certification. Additional services provided by the Northwest Certification Officer include: process review for criminal background checks, quality assurance, a liaison to the Teacher Education Guidance Committee, state certification transfer ability, and support for program approval and matrices with the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE). Undergraduate and graduate candidates receive support for licensure and state-to-state credential transfer.

Admission to Advanced/Graduate Programs and Monitoring

Advanced programs at Northwest are governed and monitored by the program of study in conjunction with the Northwest Graduate Studies Office. Applicants for graduate studies at Northwest should submit an application well in advance of enrollment date. The application along with official transcripts of all previous degree(s) and credits earned from all accredited institutions, and GREGMAT scores or alternative requirements, if applicable, must be submitted to the Northwest Graduate Studies Office.  Additional information for international students may be found at nwmissouri.edu/admissions/apply/international.  Information for online students may be found at online.nwmissouri.edu/admissions.aspx.

An additional degree is provided at Northwest, that of the Educational Specialist.  Typically teachers or principals seek to obtain the specialist degree in either the area of principal or superintendency. Education Specialist enrollees must have an appropriate master's degree with a 3.25 GPA. Each graduate program has specific admission policies in addition to the policies for admission to graduate study. Admissions Page Link: nwmissouri.edu/admissions