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4.3, 4.4., and 4.6: Completer Entry, Placement, Effectiveness, and Retention; Institutional and Programmatic Mission and Commitments

4.3 Supports completer entry into and/or continuation in their professional role, as appropriate to the credential or degree being earned

The main methods utilized by Northwest to assist completer entry and/or continue in their professional role are completed through partnership with the Northwest Regional Professional Development Center (RPDC).  The RPDC uses a team of content and pedagogy experts to help provide professional development assistance to area schools and teachers.  The Northwest RPDC, which has been a part of our campus since 1995, serves 59 public school districts in 15 counties of Northwest Missouri. The staff of the RPDC organize, plan, and conduct induction and training for Missouri teachers in their first or second year as new educators. The state of Missouri requires, via state statute, that all new teachers participate in formalized induction.  In Missouri, induction specifies that new teachers have a mentor, and Missouri has developed aspirational beginning teacher mentoring standards to support quality assurance. In Missouri, new teachers must continue their on-boarding into the profession and participate, with a mentor, in a BTAP program. One of the most beneficial programs offered by the RPDC is the New Teacher Induction offered through the Beginning Teacher Assistance Program (BTAP).  BTAP offers first and second year individual mentoring for new teachers. Successful completion of a state-approved Beginning Teacher Assistance Program is required for all seeking completion of the initial state teaching licensure by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

Graduates from Northwest educator preparation programs and several other teacher preparation programs regularly attend workshops and trainings on the Northwest campus, offered by the excellent, experienced and dedicated staff of the Northwest Regional Professional Development Center, a tremendous resource for the campus and region. The NWRPDC offers customized professional development  and training for school teachers, leaders and partners with the state regional director to ensure that high-quality professional development is available.

The RPDC also provides ways for new teachers to use state-wide resources, like the Missouri Statewide Teacher Academy.  The RPDC uses Teacher Academy to support student engagement, instructional strategies, and reflection on practices that align with the Missouri State Teacher Standards. Teacher Academy graduates must share their action research projects to deepen the learning of the collaborative group.  Teachers who successfully complete the Academy often find it so valuable that they want to engage in the process again and again, and RPDC has developed a program for them, the Teacher Academy Graduate Program, for those who wish to continue collaborating and learning about how to improve their P-12 students' learning.

The RPDC is central to the induction process, and equally connected to continuous quality improvement of teachers with experience. Northwest's educator preparation programs connect to the ethos of AAQEP standard 4.3, as the RPDC offers support for completers as they enter and/or continue in their professional role(s) with additional content and process knowledge to refine and improve teaching and learning outcomes for P-12 learners. The Northwest RPDC is affiliated with the university via formalized agreement, and the NWRPDC Director is evaluated annually by the Dean of the School of Education. 

The goals of the RPDC are:

  1. Raise achievement for all K-12 students and close achievement gaps among subgroups.
  2. Increase the quality of teachers and administrators in the region.
  3. Increase reading, math, science, and social studies achievement in the region through the high quality professional development of teachers.

The RPDC offers a variety of trainings.  These cover the areas of:

  • Curriculum and instruction, including working with students with dyslexia and those having literacy issues
  • Content areas, with a focus on STEM and literacy
  • Networks, including special education and early childhood networks
  • College and career readiness
  • Special education
  • Leadership issues, including equity
  • And issues related to early childhood, including trauma-informed teaching

In addition to the variety of trainings offered by the RPDC, this office also provides a Leadership Conference.  The third annual conference offers breakout sessions for K-12 administrators, teachers and Professional Development Center Teams. 


4.4 Investigates available and trustworthy evidence regarding completer placement, effectiveness, and retention in the profession and uses that information to improve programs

Overview of Investigation and Use of Available and Trustworthy Evidence to Support Continuous Improvement

Northwest uses several data sources, and unique and consistent rolling calendar of when, by whom, and how key data will be analyzed. This is the basis for a strong quality assurance system which provide trustworthy evidence regarding completer placement, effectiveness and retention.  They are discussed in Appendix G . Additionally, Northwests' educator preparation programs include the first year educator surveys  and DESE placement data.  Additional evidence comes from survey data, conversation, and recommendations from the School of Education Professional Advisory Board (PAB) meetings, which occur in Maryville and at our Northwest-Kansas City sites.

The Role of the Professional Advisory Board for Continuous Improvement

At the PAB meetings, our school partners suggest improvements to our programs, evaluate our progress, and assist us in innovating. Moreover, a strength of the program is the consistent use of data and evidence to let our PAB know our progress/struggles and to invite them to analyze and make meaning of available and trustworthy evidence of completer performance. Click here for examples of an invitation to join the PAB, as well as examples from 20172018, and 2019 of presentations to and data-analysis with the advisory board partners, alum, and students.  The advisory board members truly appreciate Northwest's level of engagement and involvement, indicating that other educator preparation institutions do not regularly invite them, or engage in systematic analysis of program quality. That helps us stand apart and reflects an institutional commitment to continuous improvement. We use (actually, we covet) the data-advisory board members' feedback was used to revise our entire program in 2016, leading to an award-winning outcome with more field experience, increasing diversity and equity, and better partnerships. The consistent use of feedback is a defining characteristic of the successful redesign of our educator preparation programs, which Northwest has been asked to present at several peer-reviewed educational presentations, including the Teacher Education Council for Schools, Colleges and Universities and The Renaissance Group, as well as AACTE.

Unit Retreats: An Example of Data Analysis and Continuous Improvement

The Professional Education Unit annually comes together in a unit-wide retreat. In September of each year, faculty from all education programs, and both graduate and undergraduate program leaders, participate in a data analysis and interpretation process. We call this a Unit Retreat, but it actually advances our collective knowledge. At the annual retreats, which are led by the Associate Director of Assessment and Accreditation/Assessment Director, Dean, and Assistant Director of Teacher Education, the Unit reviewed data from several sources to triangulate qualitative and quantitative data on student and completer performance. Here are examples of Unit Retreats from 2017, spring, 2018spring, 2019 and fall 2019 (this is a prime example of our commitment to investigating available and trustworthy evidence). Data sources included:

  1. Student teacher qualitative feedback
  2. Dispositions data; Unit-wide, and by each licensure program. Here is an example of dispositions data from Elementary Education from 2018-2019. Here is an artifact based on the valid and reliable Niagara dispositions form. Advanced/graduate programs use a similar process to assess candidates' dispositions with this form.
  3. First-year teacher survey results- especially the principals' perceptions of our graduates' performance
  4. Missouri General Education (MOGEA) Standardized test performance and changes based on data for more equitable and just program entrance requirements. Note: analysis of this data led to a COTE policy change to improve decision quality related to standardized examinations. This data-informed change provides more equity and fairness for diverse candidates in the admittance process and could be a model innovation for program practices in support of diversification of the educator workforce.
  5. Missouri Content Assessment (MoCA) culminating content knowledge standardized test performance
  6. Missouri Educator Evaluation System content validity analysis- (later revised at university supervisor TRIAD training in August, 2019)
  7. State Performance Assessment (MoPTA) Data: (Note- DESE removed this in 2018 and it is no longer used in Missouri)
  8. Missouri Educator Evaluation System artifact analysis for systemic improvement.

Originally developed through the faculty-led Quality Assurance team, MEES data has undergone content validity analysis through a unit-wide PEU retreat, then used feedback from student pilot participants, and all of this feedback was taken to university supervisors for their feedback at TRIAD training, which resulted in multiple lenses, and rich diversity of stakeholder viewpoints. The School of Education supports multiple measures of candidate feedback, consistent involvement of many levels of stakeholder viewpoints, and evidence-based admittance and retention decisions.

Technical Analysis of First-Year Teacher Survey Instrument

DESE now provides placement data for completers who graduated from educator preparation programs since 2010. This includes data from 1119 Northwest completers, holding 1600 total certifications. However, this data does have limitations including questions about predictive and consequential validity as specified on pages 18-24 in the 2015 First-year-teacher-survey technical manual.  AAQEP standard 4.4 indicates that the evidence used to make admissions and retention decisions, or assess program quality, should be available and trustworthy. Northwest takes heart in the conclusion from the first-year teacher survey technical manual, which asserts on page 23: "The psychometric evidence presented earlier in this section suggests that the First-Year Teacher Survey questionnaire, at a minimum, does in fact measure various dimensions of preparation reliably." Since the best evidence indicates that the survey data is reliable and consequentially valid, although imperfect, the following limitation offers an area of improvement for Northwest, and field: it is hard to track graduates who leave the state in which a credential, degree, or licensure is received for all preparation programs. Furthermore, Northwest is actively seeking an efficient and consistent method to track graduates into the field when they leave Missouri.

Employment, Placement in Careers of Further Education and Retention

Data from the Northwest Office of Career Services, under the leadership of the new Director of Partnerships and Placement, has made significant inroads in tracking where our graduates go to seek employment and/or continuation of their education through graduate study (or, happily, both!). Results of Career Services placement information for graduates of the Northwest educator preparation programs from 2015-20162016-2017, and 2017-2018 note that 100% completed a professional internship, and more than 95% were gainfully employed and/or continuing their education after graduating from Northwest. An examination of the jobs accepted by educator preparation completers reveals two strong indicators of program quality: 1) graduates received jobs in areas in which they were credentialed and prepared, and 2) program completers took positions in their fields, and in school district settings in urban, rural, and suburban locations.

However, without compulsory or obligatory requirements to check in with the university about one's future at graduation or shortly thereafter, Career Services relies on the willingness of individuals to disclose private employment information from recent graduates/completers. As such, available data reveal that approximately 2/3, but not all, Northwest educator preparation program completers indicate their work or school status. Career Services, and the School of Education faculty, have strongly encouraged all graduates to supply this information, setting up booths at commencement to ask, "where are you headed next, my friend?" but not all attend commencement and not all wish to disclose what can be considered private information. Northwest uses a series of School of Education social media connection platforms to try to maintain communication with completers.

Only completers who have been employed in a Missouri public school are included in the First-Year Teacher Survey. This removes many Northwest program completers, as many of our program completers find gainful employment across state lines in Nebraska, Iowa and Kansas. Maryville and the Gladstone location of Northwest-Kansas City are less than 30 miles from three state borders. The First-year teacher and principal surveys provide a lens through which programs can gather a measure of program effectiveness. Yet, a persistent limitation is that FYTS is built to analyze data from Missouri-employed completers in Missouri's public schools, and thus, (by intent) excludes Northwest graduates who opt to work in parochial, private, charter, and/or out-of-state locations. This also applies to principal feedback, as we only receive first-year principal information from in-state principals.

The certifications included in this data ranged from teacher, to building level leader, to superintendent, to counselors. 

Some data points related to retention are the number of years each completer has been employed:

  • At their current district
  • As an educator in Missouri
  • In public education altogether

Drawbacks and Limitations to Tracking Candidates Into the Field

One of the other drawbacks of this data is related to years of employment.  Some completers have been in public education before the completion of their program at Northwest.  Therefore, someone who completed a teacher preparation program nine years ago, may have been employed 12 years in Missouri public education.  More than one third of all Northwest completers (36%) have worked in public education before completing their program in Northwest.  Of all completers, 62% have been employed in the same district since they began working in public education. 

DESE uses several modes of one survey, the First Year Teacher Survey (FYTS), to monitor effectiveness of program completers. Based on DESE placement data, this also has limitations.  Again, only program completers who are currently employed in Missouri public schools are included in the data set. But, every June, first-year program completers from the teacher preparation, leader preparation, and counselor preparation programs are surveyed using this instrument, along with their supervisors of record.  The survey questions are based upon the state standards of each profession.  For instance, the first year teacher survey has questions based on the nine Missouri Teacher Standards.  The first year principal survey is based upon the six Missouri Leader Standards. 

Here is a breakdown of Northwest teacher program completer performance as scored by the First Year Teacher Survey, as reported by: Northwest completers; completers of all Missouri programs; the principals of Northwest completers; and the principals of completers from all Missouri programs. These indicate that Northwest completers perform at or above the state average in nearly all measures, as scored by program completers and their principals.  One of the biggest contrasts was how completers rated their preparation program, with 90% of Northwest completers scoring their program positively, compared to 83% of program completers from around the state.

Northwest leader program completer performance was evaluated by the First Year Principal Survey. This survey was scored by: Northwest completers; completers of all Missouri programs; the supervisors of Northwest completers; and the supervisors of completers from all Missouri programs.

Again, these results indicate that Missouri leader program completers score, for the most part, are at or above the state average in all measures related to state standards, as reported by program completers and their supervisors.

The above data sources are certainly available and can be considered trustworthy with limitations. The limitations of the placement data have been mentioned previously (placement data only from completers working at public, in-state schools).  This is also a limitation of the first-year teacher and first-year principal surveys.  This is because DESE only sends these surveys to first year educators and their supervisors, if their data is included in the DESE placement data set. Data from placements or surveys from completers employed out-of-state or within private institutions is not available.

One final note about the first year teacher and first year principal surveys, is that this data is included in the Annual Performance Report (APR) created for each program leading to educator certification in Northwest.  DESE utilizes First Year Teacher Survey and First Year Principal Survey results as a data point to calculate each program’s percentage of APR points. By that, performance in these surveys is vital to maintaining DESE program approval.

First-Year surveys have been utilized for program improvement since 2000, and for the past three years of the Annual Performance Report. The most recent utilization of First Year survey usage for program improvement was at the fall 2019 PEU Retreat.  At this event, program faculty receive survey results from their own completers and discussed how they could potentially use those results to make improvements.

Conclusion

The School of Education supports multiple measures of candidate feedback, consistent involvement of many levels of stakeholder viewpoints, and evidence-based admittance and retention decisions. Our programs have received national recognition for many years for the innovative use of data and evidence in improving our programs, and national recognition for the processes and systems supporting quality evidence and student success and retention. Our completers are highly effective and show evidence that they can succeed in the roles in which they received preparation. Please see AAQEP standard 3.6 in this report for additional evidence of processes and systems supporting continuous improvement.

An educator preparation program must be able to demonstrate its impact on P-12 learners. Through the systems, data analysis, advisement, and quality processes employed by faculty and staff, we have developed a quality, impactful program. In comparison with other programs in our state, our completers are the most effective of the 38, when considering all university supervisors' evaluation of performance. Our completers strive to support diversity, equity, and inclusion and demonstrate reflective practice. Finally, our candidates are effective in four key skills teachers need: differentiating lessons, managing classroom behavior, using assessment data to improve P-12 student learning, and engaging students in subject matter. Considering that these preceding charts are taken from statewide data with a common measuring stick, performance on the Missouri Effective Educator System used to evaluate performance on the culminating student teaching project, this is trustworthy evidence that lends credence to the case that the Northwest educator preparation programs provide excellent preparation and that our completers are successful in their craft as educators.


4.6 Investigates effectiveness relative to its stated institutional and/or programmatic mission and commitments

Northwest has established seven institutional learning outcomes rooted in its mission and vision (as described in Appendix F). These outcomes are communicating; critical thinking; managing information; valuing; diversity, equity, and inclusion; teamwork; and leadership. Northwest’s educator preparation programs are all aligned to these outcomes and include key assessments that investigate effectiveness relative to these stated institutional learning outcomes., as described further in Table 3: Northwest State and National Educator Prep Standards Alignment.