CAEP Self-Study Report

Initial self-study report submitted to CAEP July 20, 2018.

In preparation for the CAEP accreditation visit, the College of Education has compiled a self-study report, structured around the five CAEP standards, reviewing all aspects of its teacher preparation programs to show evidence that data is used for continuous improvement.  The report begins with an overview of the College including its history, structure, vision, mission and goals.  It contains a table of program characteristics for all programs offered that are under CAEP review, a table of clinical faculty and supervisor qualifications, and a parity table to make a comparison to a similarly structured entity, such as the College of Nursing.  The unique structure of our Commonwealth Campus system that provides extended teacher preparation programs across Pennsylvania is charted to provide a foundation of the data that are to follow.

The remainder of the report follows the five CAEP standards and two cross-cutting themes, and the three cycles of evidence that the College has compiled to meet these standards, plus the Areas for Improvement that the College has been addressing since the last accreditation review.  To assist readers with the acronyms associated with CAEP reporting, a CAEP 2018 Glossary for Acronyms has been created.

STANDARD 1

Content and Pedagogical Knowledge – The provider ensures that candidates develop a deep understanding of the critical concepts and principles of their discipline and, by completion, are able to use discipline-specific practices flexibly to advance the learning of all students toward attainment of college- and career- readiness standards.

STANDARD 2

Clinical Partnerships and Practice – The provider ensures that effective partnerships and high-quality clinical practice are central to preparation so that candidates develop the knowledge, skills, and professional dispositions necessary to demonstrate positive impact on all P-12 students’ learning and development.

STANDARD 3

Candidate Quality, Recruitment and Selectivity – The provider demonstrates that the quality of candidates is a continuing and purposeful part of its responsibility from recruitment, at admission, through the progression of courses and clinical experiences, and to decisions that completers are prepared to teach effectively and are recommended for certification. The provider demonstrates that development of candidate quality is the goal of educator preparation in all phases of the program. This process is ultimately determined by a program’s meeting of Standard 4.

STANDARD 4

The provider demonstrates the impact of its completers on P-12 student learning and development, classroom instruction, and schools, and the satisfaction of its completers with the relevance and effectiveness of their preparation.

STANDARD 5

The provider maintains a quality assurance system comprised of valid data from multiple measures, including evidence of candidates’ and completers’ positive impact on P- 12 student learning and development. The provider supports continuous improvement that is sustained and evidence-based, and that evaluates the effectiveness of its completers. The provider uses the results of inquiry and data collection to establish priorities, enhance program elements and capacity, and test innovations to improve completers' impact on P-12 student learning and development.

Cross-cutting Theme - Diversity

Penn State identifies diversity, equity, and inclusion as central to the success, viability, and vitality of an exceptional research institution. The institution leads in implementation and institutionalization of systemwide diversity strategic planning processes and regular comprehensive progress reviews with public reports of findings (http://equity.psu.edu/framework/framework-2010-15http://equity.psu.edu/fostering-diverse-world), unique central and unit-specific diversity leadership design ((http://equity.psu.edu/, http://equity.psu.edu/diversity-resources/college-multicultural-programs), appropriate resources (http://equity.psu.edu/diversity-resources), and a well-defined statements of position (http://equity.psu.edu/diversity-statement) and commitment (http://allin.psu.edu).  

The EPP educates our community to be social justice advocates by providing curricula, programs, and environments that emulate the diversity of our society, raise cultural awareness, address systemic inequities of access and participation, and attend to the educational needs of under-resourced and minoritized communities.

The College is further committed to reduction of inter-group disparities and to diversification of the education profession. To that end, we work on the implementation of College specific initiatives and on collaborations across the University system. Recruitment and early intervention efforts include:

  • Achievers: Two-day visitation program connects top students who have received offers of admission with faculty and staff from their academic college of interest.
  • Spend a Summer Day/Spend a Fall Day: Prospective students and their families stay overnight in residence hall and attend an open house.
  • Philadelphia Honors Convocation: Partnership with the School District of Philadelphia connects top prospective students with academic colleges' representatives.
  • Let's R.I.D.E (Reach Individuals and Direct them to higher Education): Prospective students visit University Park campus during Black History Month includes campus tours, admissions and workshops.
  • ¡Vámonos a Penn State! Bus Trip: Visit to University Park during Hispanic Heritage Month. Campus tours, admissions workshop, and academic college fair.
  • Upward Bound, Upward Bound Math & Science, and Upward Migrant: Education representatives participate in college fairs and workshops during the academic year and activities during six-week summer academy that provides field experiences working as teacher assistants, tutors, and residence hall counselors.
  • Summer College Opportunity Program in Education (S.C.O.P.E.): Four-week College of Education summer residential program for high school students who are considering career paths in education. Program gives priority to identifying and recruiting underrepresented, first generation, and/or economically disadvantaged applicants. Participants enroll in a one-credit writing and research skills course and non-credit SAT and College prep courses.
  • S.C.O.P.E. 2.0: Four-day admissions, financial aid, and workshop visitation program for previous S.C.O.P.E. participants who have sustained their desire to enroll in Education programs.
  • Hazleton One Community Center Visitation Program: Students in afterschool programs at Hazleton One Community Center participate in a one-day visit to University Park. The Hazleton group engages with Education faculty and students in activities designed to familiarize students with college life and reinforce their higher education aspirations.

The EPP takes a comprehensive approach to foster personal and professional growth and helps candidates bridge theory and practice. Coursework, co-curricular activities, abroad and community-based programs, experience and fluency in cross-cultural competencies include:

  • Urban Teaching Collaborative Afterschool Online Tutoring: Candidates provide online tutoring in math and literacy to a range of elementary school children in Philadelphia schools to develop understanding of urban teaching and its social and political context.
  • Language, Culture, & Learning in Hazleton: Course offers an immersion experience with English language learners (ELL) in P-12 public schools and a community center in Hazleton, PA, while also attending to individual ELL's needs and to understanding of academic, social, cultural and linguistic factors that affect ELLs' school success.
  • Philadelphia Urban Seminar: To develop understanding of social constructs that affect pedagogical formation and classroom culture, candidates work with children and teachers in the Philadelphia Public School system and participate in lectures, workshops, and community service and cultural events in the city.
  • DC Social Justice Seminar-Empowering & Engaging Communities: Seminar trains students on issues of social justice and civic leadership in preparation for a field experience in Washington DC. Students work with faculty to design a learner-centered curriculum on issues of social justice that they teach to high school students.
  • DC Social Justice Fellowship Experience-Empowering & Engaging Youth and Communities: Second DC Social Justice Fellowship is a teaching practicum working with under-resourced, underserved public high schools in Washington, D.C. Topics include community advocacy, community assessment programs, normative ethical principles in education, and intersections of political processes, social institutions, and systems of government
  • Study Away Philadelphia: Semester-long internship in Philadelphia provides emphasizes collaborative projects with community-based organizations, non-profit advocacy groups, social service agencies, health care providers, and local government. Students work on self-reflexivity when entering new communities and develop skills around particular social issues that education professionals confront, including the conditions that sustain or mitigate them.

Cross-cutting Theme - Technology

Technology is essential to the support of our learning communities and for reflection on our practices. The EPP implements technology to support student recruitment, retention, and monitoring, through specific University tools such as LionPATH and Starfish. Candidates and the EPP use technology and e-learning tools for communication, learning, instruction, and management in content courses and field experiences as well as to prepare educators to use cutting edge and innovative technologies in their teaching practices. Technology also plays crucial roles in collaborations with schools and communities, and in assessment and quality assurance systems.

Penn State prioritizes technology infrastructure, implementation, use, and innovation and these activities are supported by numerous resources within the University communities overall, among them, Penn State IT and Teaching and Learning with Technology (TLT). Continued investments, such as providing Adobe Creative Cloud Suite for all students, demonstrate this priority. The EPP also continuously invests in infrastructure and software as well as supports implementation through leadership coordinated by Senior Associate Dean for Research, Outreach, and Technology, The Carrara Education Technology Center (CETC), and the Krause Innovation Studios.

With planful and evolving use of technologies, we prepare candidates to model and apply technology standards. As one example, candidates are proficient with learning management systems (e.g., Canvas) and systems for candidates to track student learning (e.g., Google, Microsoft). They also use technologies to critically analyze and improve their teaching (e.g., using video analysis tools). As part of the program, candidates are also asked to use technological tools to support their collaborations, including the use of Google Docs and Box to complete assignments and share documents in teams. During candidate's programs, faculty incorporate technology proficiencies and candidates demonstrate these proficiencies in cutting-edge laboratory classrooms equipped with integrated technology, including computerized collaborative group sharing, a variety of digital displays, high-speed wireless internet connectivity, and built-in sound and cameras to support Web conferencing and use of social media. Each subject area in the middle and secondary education programs operates customized lab classrooms built within the previous four years. Also available for pedagogy courses in the elementary education program, these settings feature ubiquitous integrated technology. Through BYOD initiatives, candidates bring a variety of Web-enabled devices to classes. Solstice and the built-in displays and outputs are used to facilitate collaborative work in planning, for workshop products in groups, and to practice teaching to small groups and whole classes. Required teaching assignments are supported by digital visual presentation software, such as Prezi, to organize content instruction.

Class activities and assignments assure that candidates develop the skills and dispositions to use technology to improve student learning. Emphasis is on using both cutting edge resources and more typical resources that are found in schools to provide candidates with a flexible approach to the integration of technology that is responsive to their local contexts. Candidates report they are able to use instructional strategies, including incorporation of technology, to encourage learners.

The College of Education draws from the student technology fee to support innovative uses of technology for education through a competitive small grants program. These grants provide support for faculty and staff interested in developing new ideas for uses of technology for students. Further, initiatives such as Exploring Directions in Ubiquitous Computing and Teacher Education (EDUCATE) prepare candidates to engage children in inquiry-based, technology-rich learning opportunities and provide rich opportunities for candidates to interact with culturally and linguistically diverse learners in urban and rural settings. 

Our candidates model and apply technology in planning, instruction, and assessment. Candidates are versed in media literacy and educationally responsible uses of technology and social media. The EPP further leverages technologies to expand opportunities to enrich and support experiences with a diverse student population, such as online tutoring with students in urban schools and communication with candidates as they student teach and do other work abroad. Technologies support innovation through tools and techniques for instruction, such as the Ozobot robots by candidates to support STEM instruction and TeachLIVE software to support pedagogy and professional practice. Finally, video analysis software such as Vosaic Connect is used to code, tag, review, and assess student teaching classroom video segments to provide rich, reflective pedagogical feedback.

Areas for Improvement

(AFI 1) [from NCATE Standard 1] The unit and its programs do not ensure consistent ongoing assessment monitoring of dispositions for all candidates.

(AFI 1 Response)  All programs collect and review candidates' dispositions at multiple times during their programs. An EPP-wide review of dispositions was discussed at the 3/23/17 and 3/19/18 Professional Certification Coordinating Committee (PCCC) meetings. PCCC is comprised of representatives from all unit programs that lead to P-12 certification at initial and advanced levels. All field supervisors examined and discussed assessment and monitoring of dispositions at their 9/11/17 meeting and during subsequent meetings during the 2017-2018 academic year. Common class activities and assignments provide ongoing assessment and monitoring of dispositions across programs.

(AFI 2) [from NCATE Standard 1]  The unit has not reported the existence of or evidence related to the advanced program in Instructional Systems: Educational Technology (Master of Education).

(AFI 2 Response)  This program was closed Fall 2012 due to lack of P-12 certification interest. The EPP recommended the last student to the state for certification in August 2013.

(AFI 3) [from NCATE Standard 2]  The unit does not have a systematic approach or timeline for collection and evaluation of data in programs housed inside and outside the unit, resulting in inconsistency of data collection and analysis across all programs.

(AFI 3 Response)   Penn State established institution-wide systematic approaches for program level assessment and evaluation through the University's Office of Planning and Assessment (OPA). With focus on student learning, program assessment, and evaluation, the unit submitted annual assessment plans for program improvement. OPA feedback is analyzed by individual programs and PCCC.

(AFI 4) [from NCATE Standard 2]  The unit does not systematically analyze and evaluate these date for unit improvement.

 (AFI 4 Response)   Penn State systematically collects institutional and student data for accreditation programs, including enrollment, time to graduation, GPAs, and certification test scores. In 2015, the EPP designated an Assessment and Accreditation Coordinator. As central point person for data collection and evaluation, the AAC ensures consistency of data collection, data formatting, and data reporting and provides ongoing data needs assistance to all programs and units. The AAC provides entrance to major, candidate pass or fail data (candidate quality), and candidate progression data to support ongoing monitoring of student progress. Certification testing data are provided each semester for program review and continuous improvement. Further, the AAC collects completer data from the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) to inform programs of completer employment within Pennsylvania schools and shares results of completer satisfaction surveys.

(AFI 5) [from NCATE Standard 3]  The unit has not implemented a system to ensure that candidates have experiences working in P-12 schools with students from ethnically and culturally diverse backgrounds.

(AFI 5 Response)   Candidates have several opportunities to work with students from ethnically and culturally diverse backgrounds. CI 295D Urban Experience, for example, provides students with opportunities to observe and participate in ethnically diverse urban settings. CI 280 provides immersion experiences for students in Hazleton, PA working with Latinx ELL students. Teacher candidates in the EPP have student teaching opportunities in Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, and Altoona, districts with large numbers of students from underrepresented populations. Students may choose to student teach abroad or at the Pierre Indian Learning Center in Pierre, SD.

In addition to student teaching experiences, Study Away programs allow students to complete full semester internships in diverse districts prior to field experiences. Students may enroll in a Culture and Disability experience in Ireland to visit service agencies and meet experts in the field of disability services. Teacher candidates can pursue coursework toward ESL certification through an immersion experience in Ecuador.

(AFI 6) [from NCATE Standard 4]  Candidates have limited opportunities to work with faculty from ethnically diverse backgrounds on campus and in schools.

(AFI 6 Response)  The unit supports the Penn State Diversity Statement, http://equity.psu.edu/diversity-statement, which targets increased diversity in ethnicity of students, staff, and faculty. Several programs provide student teaching opportunities in diverse districts in efforts to increase candidates' opportunities to work with faculty and supervisors from ethnically diverse backgrounds on campus and in schools. The EPP is also attentive to this AFI as it hires new faculty and staff. Focused efforts have resulted in consistent increases of ethnically diverse faculty.