The PPM-UPRAg possesses an assessment system to examine the efficacy of the program in the attainment of goals and expected candidates’ proficiencies. An important goal is to demonstrate that teacher candidates meet the proficiencies in alignment with the standards of the Council for Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP), Teachers of English to Students of Other Languages (TESOL), and the criteria of the Puerto Rico Council of Higher Education, (known by its Spanish acronym CESPR).
The unit has a professional responsibility to ensure that its program and graduates are of the highest quality by the systematic gathering and evaluation of information and making use of that information to strengthen the unit and program operations. These assessment and evaluation methods are utilized constructively and from various sources to determine the candidate’s progress toward becoming knowledgeable, reflective, and transforming teachers.
Candidates are monitored and assessed through four transition points:
- Admission to the program
- Application for clinical practice
- Student teaching during clinical practice
- Program completion
During each one, the PPM-UPRAg monitors and assesses the progress of candidates towards the unit goals and attainment of proficiencies, and ensures that they receive appropriate career counseling, academic advisement, mentoring or tutoring if needed. This systematic process allows the achievement of knowledge, skills, and dispositions needed to become an effective qualified teacher.
Transition Point # 1: Admission To The Program
Student admission policies and procedures in the UPR System are uniformly applied among all institutional units and respond to the institution-wide mission. Those potential candidates who wish to apply to the UPRAg Teacher Preparation Program should meet the requirement of a General Admission Index of 2.40 or higher. This index is applied as a predictor of success and is further assessed with teacher candidate’s performance in Assessment #1: Grades and Assessment #2: PCMAS (Puerto Rico Teacher Certification Examination).
Performance of potential teacher candidates is further monitored, through formative assessment, by an Educational Philosophy Essay. All teacher candidates admitted to the program must write this essay in the course EDFU 3001 – Growth and Human Development. It will include an initial reflection of their philosophy and pedagogical beliefs. Content, writing skills, and dispositions to become a teacher are some criteria used to evaluate this essay. An expected level of performance for this formative assessment should be above 70%. Those candidates who reflect a lack of these skills will be guided to improve their weaknesses through workshops or tutoring. The essay is revised frequently in different courses and is eventually published in their electronic portfolio.
Transition Point # 2: Application For Student Teaching
In order to be admitted to the student teaching experience course, (EDPE4340 or EDPE 4246), teacher candidates must comply with all criteria to demonstrate satisfactory academic progress. The first criterion is a General GPA of 2.50 or more. The second criterion requires the approval with grades above C in specialization courses:
|Elementary Education||Secondary Education|
|EDPE 3008 Evaluation Process at the Elementary Level||EDFU 3017 Evaluation of Teaching at the Secondary Level|
|EDPE 3018 Methods in TESOL at the Elementary Level||EDPE 4245 Methods in TESOL at the Secondary Level|
|EDPE 4335 Seminar and Curriculum of Teaching at the Elementary Level||EDPE 4005 Seminar and Curriculum of Teaching at the Secondary Level|
Another criterion, field experience assessment instruments, include: Field Experience Observation Instrument (FEOI) and Field Experience Performance Evaluation Instrument (FEPEI). These instruments are used in the pedagogical professional courses and all methodology courses in the content area (English) to assess school observations and direct interventions with students. The candidates visit schools selected by the unit and partnering schools with knowledgeable, experienced, and licensed clinical educators who will serve as role models. The FEOI will assess a candidate’s capacity to observe and interact with teachers, students, and other school personnel. It also encourages the candidate to reflect on visits, interventions, and observations in the learning communities as well as his/her disposition to become a qualified teacher.
The FEPEI will assess the opportunities given to candidates to learn through integrating their knowledge, skills, and dispositions into school programs and teaching practice. Teacher candidates will comply with a minimum of 50 hours in field experience across all courses. Additionally, teacher candidates must develop lesson plans and artifacts according to the requirements of the pedagogical course. The expected level of performance for each instrument must be 70% or higher. Candidates who do not meet the expected level of performance will receive orientation and will be provided with additional opportunities to participate in other learning environments.
Transition Point # 3: Student Teaching Experience During Clinical Practice
Student teaching experience allows for full immersion in diverse learning communities so that candidates can demonstrate proficiencies in the professional roles for which they are preparing. At this stage, the candidates complete 300 hours of direct, face-to-face, contact with students in a classroom under the supervision of a qualified clinical university faculty member who evaluates their lesson planning skills through Assessment #3: Planning for Instruction and their teaching performance using Assessment #4.2: Student Teaching Evaluation.
During this clinical teaching experience candidates’ knowledge, skills, and dispositions are further assessed through Assessment #5: Teacher Work Sample (TWS). The purpose of the TWS is to assess student knowledge, skills, and dispositions across the student teaching experience. It evidences the understanding of the teaching – learning process, mastery of planning, and assessment skills. It also allows the candidates to reflect upon their own teaching to improve student learning. Their performance must be 85% or higher to demonstrate mastery of the proficiencies outlined by the unit and also show how the field experience has influenced each one’s professional development.
If the candidate does not comply with the performance level above the 85% outlined in the TWS, the candidate receives orientation and individual follow-up from the clinical practice supervisor to meet the student teaching proficiencies. One-on-one orientation will be provided weekly for those teacher candidates who require further assistance and tutoring to achieve the knowledge and skills of the profession.
Assessment #6 is used to assess candidates’ ability to plan and implement a School Community Service Project. A School Community Service Project is a thoughtfully organized activity planned and conducted by the candidate with the purpose of addressing the needs of the school community. This project aims to impact the school community (students, parents, and teachers) inviting them to share, interact, and provide mutual support leading to personal and professional growth while fostering a participative and collaborative school culture. Furthermore, this experience seeks to foster knowledge, skills, and attitudes consistent with the Teacher Preparation Program’s promotion of democracy and diversity.
In this Project, the candidate begins by identifying the needs of the school community through observations and conversations with the school director, the faculty, and the social worker. Then, he/she proceeds to analyze the problem and do a revision of literature in terms of how to deal with and solve the problem properly. After justifying the project and obtaining the pertinent authorizations, the candidate proceeds to create an action plan, puts it into action and reflects on the processes involved.
Finally, the Cooperating Clinical Educator uses Assessment #4.1: Student Teaching Evaluation in the student teaching experience to assess the knowledge achieved by the candidates with a ranking score of 85% or higher. These results demonstrate that the candidates have accomplished professional, state, and institutional standards and have developed and demonstrated proficiencies that support learning by all students.
Transition Point #4: Program Completion
To be recommended for graduation, the candidates’ academic records will be evaluated. The candidate must have at least 3.00 GPA as stipulated by the Department of Education of Puerto Rico and the Council for Accreditation of Educator Preparation in order to be certified as a teacher. Candidates need a grade of “B” or higher to meet the requirement of the student teaching experience. Furthermore, they must take the Puerto Rico Teacher Certification Examination (PCMAS) which also serves as assessment criteria for the candidate and the program. Candidates must approve this exam in order to be certified as teachers in Puerto Rico.
Finally, candidates must respond to dispositions and diversity survey at each transition point. The results of this survey are compiled and evaluated for decision-making regarding the unit’s curriculum and procedures. According to the outcomes, program and courses revisions are made. As part of this ongoing process, data results are analyzed and shared with stakeholders for decision-making to allow for ample participation from all the members of the learning community. They are also used to prepare the external reports required by the accrediting agencies.