The Professional Education unit at Towson University expects all teacher candidates to exhibit the essential knowledge, skills and professional dispositions required of high quality teachers and other school personnel. To accomplish these goals, the unit’s assessment system and conceptual framework is aligned with professional, state and institutional professional standards (Specialized Program Association (SPA) standards, Interstate Teacher Assessment and Support Consortium (InTASC) standards (S.1.4), and the Maryland Institutional Performance Criteria (MIPC; S.1.5). The data collected by the assessment system are captured at multiple transition points – including the first years of practice, and from multiple PreK-20 stakeholders. The resulting data are regularly and systematically compiled, aggregated, summarized and reported through the Yearly Assessment System Update/ Data Analysis Report (YASU/DAR) process.
Content Knowledge for Teacher Candidates
Unit candidates have in-depth knowledge of the content they plan to teach, and they pass the Maryland required Praxis II exams at a consistently high rate (R.1.4.b.1, 98%; ARED 97%).
1. Specialized Professional Association (SPA) review. The unit submitted 25 SPA reports for review. Of these, 23 have been nationally recognized by their SPA until 2022. Two have been recognized with conditions, and are submitting response to conditions reports in spring 2014. These SPA outcomes support the claim that unit initial and advanced preparation programs prepare candidates with a strong content knowledge focus. The BS in Art Education program will be reviewed for state approval during the pre-visit.
NCATE accepts the decisions of other national accrediting associations as evidence of program content quality. The unit has four programs that respond to other national accrediting associations. The initial certification programs in Dance Education (NASD; R.I.5.d.5) and Music Education (NASM; R.I.5.d.6) and certification programs for other school professionals in Speech Pathology (CAA; R.I.5.d.3) and Audiology (CAA; R.I.5.d.1) are accredited by their respective accrediting agencies, using identified standards.
2. Assessment of capstone InTASC - aligned internships. Aggregated unit performance data collected from Mentor Teachers (MT) and University Liaisons/Supervisors (ULS), reflecting InTASC Standard 4 (R.1.4.d.1) shows candidates’ abilities to demonstrate content knowledge in their capstone internships. AY 12-13 data for the unit are consistent with mean scores in the range 4.44-4.49 out of 5 from both MT (n=783) and ULS (n=789). (ARED MT: 4.53, n=30; ULS: 4.80, n=30). Self-reported intern data are collected through the program evaluation (R.1.4.c.3). Unit candidates consistently report a strong preparation in content knowledge, including the abilities to teach their field content and to apply content-based lessons in the classroom (R.1.4.d.1, mean: 4.76, n=569; ARED R.1.6.d.1 mean: 4.70 n=10).
Program completers employed as teachers in the state of Maryland are surveyed in the first and third years of inservice practice. These InTASC survey data show that unit programs develop candidates’ content knowledge (R.1.4.i.1, weighted mean: 4.32, n=69). Likewise, the principals of first year inservice completers are surveyed, confirming strong program content knowledge preparation (R.1.4.j.1, mean: 4.54, n=87).
3. Continuing Preparation. The unit offers 9 graduate programs (R.I.5.e.1), for the continuing preparation of teachers; all are aligned to the conceptual framework, and to current applicable professional, state and institutional standards. By intent and design, these programs provide systematic instruction and experiences that build upon and extend prior knowledge, skills, and dispositions in the major content of their respective fields, and reflect professional, state, and institutional standards.
All continuing preparation candidates must meet the University’s graduate admission criteria, as well as program-specific criteria for entry into the program (R.6.4.d.2). All programs require a minimum of 33 credits for graduation, and candidates must maintain a minimum cumulative 3.0 GPA throughout their programs.
Pedagogical Content Knowledge (PCK) for Initial and Continuing Teacher Candidates
Unit candidates are able to apply an in-depth understanding of the content they plan to teach, and are able to use multiple strategies and explanations to assure that all students learn. These strategies recognize the crucial importance of cultural backgrounds, family influence, prior knowledge, and differentiated abilities on students’ learning. Unit candidates exhibit a thorough understanding of the relationship of content and content-specific pedagogy, as defined by InTASC Standards 5, 7 & 8.
1. InTASC-aligned internship assessment of PCK. Aggregated unit performance data (R.1.4.d.2, ARED: R.1.6.d.2) collected from MT (range: 4.39-4.48, n=783; ARED: 4.47-4.53, n=30) and ULS (R.1.4.d.2, range: 4.39-4.51, n= 789; ARED: 4.67-4.73, n=30) show that interns demonstrated their PCK, with AY 13 mean scores well above 4 out of 5. Program evaluation data on PCK show that new graduates rate their programs highly on developing PCK proficiencies; aggregated mean scores are well above 4.0 (R.1.4.d.2, range: 4.64-4.70, n=569; ARED R.1.6.d.2: 4.6-4.9, n=30).
2. Alumni Survey Data. Aggregated mean scores from the first and third year alumni surveys show that candidates rate Towson’s teacher preparation program highly on PCK preparation (R.1.4.i.2, range: 4.00-4.61, n=260). Data from first year employers also show that unit-prepared first year teachers are rated highly on their PCK proficiencies (R.1.4.j.2; Range: 4.48-4.55; 87 employers).
3. Advanced Programs. Advanced preparation programs report their candidate PCK with assessment #3 and #4 data in the Yearly Assessment System Update (YASU). Exhibit R.1.4.h.72 summarizes program PCK responses.
Professional and Pedagogical Knowledge and Skills for Initial and Continuing Teacher Candidates
Unit candidates are able to develop meaningful learning experiences to facilitate
learning for all students. This classroom proficiency is measured by InTASC standards
1, 2 & 3. Professional Knowledge and Skills inform a teacher’s views toward general
ethical practice, and is measured by InTASC 9 and 10.
1. Internship Evaluation Data. AY 12-13 unit aggregated mean data from MT and ULS document candidates’ abilities to demonstrate Professional and Pedagogical Knowledge (PPK) skills (R.1.4.d.3; ARED R.1.6.d.3). Unit-wide averages for all programs on PPK-related standards are well above 4.0 (MT range: 4.45-4.58, n=783; ARED: 4.23-4.53, n=30; ULS range: 4.38-4.59, n=789; ARED: 4.33-4.8, n=30).
2. Program Evaluation. AY 12-13 data from program evaluation (R.1.4.d.2) show that candidates rate the Unit highly on PPK-related standards (range: 4.64-4.78, n=569; ARED: 4.5-4.9, n=10).
3. Alumni Survey Data. Data from the first and third year alumni surveys show that candidates rate their preparation programs highly on PPK-related standards (R.1.4.i.3, range: 3.92-4.61, n=69).
4. Employer Survey Data. Data from the employer survey show that unit-prepared first year teachers are rated highly on PPK-related standards (R.1.4.j.3, Range: 4.37-4.70; n=87).
5. Advanced Program Data. Unit advanced programs report their candidates’ PPK in the YASU. R.1.4.h.71 is a summary of program-specific reports related to PPK.
Student Learning for Initial and Continuing Teacher Candidates
InTASC 6 (Assessment to Prove and Improve Learning) data documents that candidates
positively impact student learning (R.1.4.h.1; mean: 4.41; 442 interns). These findings are supported by student learning data
(R.1.4.d.4; ARED: R.1.6.d.4) collected from MT (mean: 4.48, n=783; ARED: 4.47, n=30) and ULS (mean: 4.43, n=789;
ARED: 4.63, n=30), 1st & 3rd year alumni (R.1.4.i.4, range: 4.08-4.61, n=69), and employers (R.1.4.j.4, mean: 4.48, n=87).
The Elementary Education department completes the edTPA. Because there is no single edTPA rubric that aligns directly with InTASC 6, ELED has devised a measure that combines four assessment rubrics from the Elementary Literacy edTPA into a single assessment score for InTASC 6 reporting purposes (R.1.4.h.3, mean: 3.25/5.0, n=112).
Knowledge and Skills for Other School Professionals
Data from SPA assessments show that these candidates have mastered the respective knowledge and skills of their fields, as summarized in Exhibit R.1.4.g.3. Praxis II pass rate data for advanced certification programs shows that unit advanced preparation completers have strong content knowledge (R.1.4.b.1, 98%).
Student Learning for Other School Professionals
Data from SPA assessments show that these candidates are prepared to establish, support, and maintain effective learning environments, as summarized in Exhibit R.1.4.g.3.
Professional Dispositions for All Candidates
Standards-based dispositions data collected by the unit focus on Commitment to Professional Practice; Caring for the Success and Well-being of All Students; Collaboration with Colleagues and Stakeholders (which includes families and communities) (R.1.4.e.1,2,3,4,5,6). The rating scale for this data is: 1 – Unacceptable to 3 – Target. Unit programs have dispositions plans for data collection at multiple time points during candidate preparation (R.1.4.e.1,2,3,4,5,6). Dispositions data show that initial certification candidates are making progress toward the Target proficiency (R.1.4.f.1), and that advanced preparation candidates are approaching target (R.1.4.f.2).
The unit uses its assessment system (R.2.4.a.1), and the YASU/DAR (R.2.4.d.1) process to continuously and simultaneously monitor and assess candidate content knowledge, pedagogical content knowledge (PCK), professional and pedagogical knowledge and skills (PPK), and Prek-12 student learning attributes, and to enable SPA programs to quickly respond to revised national standards. Exhibit S.2.1 shows the recognition status of SPA-aligned unit programs. Examples of representative YASU-driven data based program changes include:
Foreign Language Education (SCED-FORL) initiated short-term study abroad experiences in Argentina and China after recognizing that students need more immersion in their languages of study. FORL offers two service learning courses in Spanish (SPAN 408, Advanced Spanish Conversation; SPAN 409, Translation), connecting majors with the growing Hispanic population in Maryland. Chinese education initiated a “Chinese Corner” for Chinese language learners across ability levels to practice writing and speaking skills (R.1.4.g.4, R.2.4.g.8.b).
Mathematics education (SCED) uses candidates’ highest earned grades when calculating its assessment 2 (Course GPA) scores. The program has found that candidate performance in Calculus I and II is highly correlated with performance on subsequent higher math courses. This awareness is helping the program to make advising decisions for these candidates, and to counsel them into the Middle School education program, where less post-calculus math coursework is needed for academic success (R.2.4.g.8.d).
History/Social Science (SCED) responded to changes in the PRAXIS II assessments by making modifications to SCED 355 and SOSC 401, allowing students the take a sample Praxis II test, discuss test preparation and test-taking strategies related to content questions. Changes to the SCED 355 course assessments have led to improvements in candidate work samples (R.2.4.g).
The Early Childhood Education MEd reported that ECED 609, Growth and Development of Young Children and its three required assessments (1, 6, & 7; critical content and professional dispositions assessments) plays an indicator role for the program, by providing data to better understand candidates’ strengths and needs as they begin the degree program. The few students with markedly lower scores in these assessments have found that graduate study is not a good fit for them, at least in this point in their lives. In some cases, candidates have shown growth, based on their assessment scores, within the semester (R.2.4.g.15).
Pedagogical Content Knowledge
English Education (SCED) changed its methods course, SCED 357, Teaching English in Secondary Education, to improve candidate performance on identifying curriculum goals and on student assessment. This change provides an additional summative candidate assessment on English pedagogy. This program also reports increases in candidates’ values and beliefs about teaching English through the Philosophy of Teaching English project (R.2.4.g.8.a).
Foreign language education (SCED) developed a state of the art language lab to provide pedagogical experiences for those candidates, who for fiscal or other reasons cannot participate in a study abroad experience (R.2.4.g.8.b).
The School Psychology MA/CAS program found that its interns needed more practice facilitating multi-disciplinary teams.
In fall 2011 the program added a goal to the internship plan, related to effective team participation and leadership (Individualized Education Plan (IEP), Student Success Team (SST), etc.) thereby increasing interns’ opportunities for additional practice within the practicum seminar (R.2.4.g.25).
Professional and Pedagogical Knowledge
ECED added a new required course, ECED 460, Teaching Dual Language Learners, to its program diversity requirement (EDUC 203 Teaching and Learning in a Diverse Society). The program also expects its candidates to consider the role of “family” as it pertains to student learning and establishing effective learning environments. Consistently high ratings on InTASC 9 and 10 reflect this enhanced focus (R.2.4.g.6).
ELED added ELED 357, Linguistically Diverse Learners in the Classroom, to prepare teachers for diverse classrooms in which there are students learning English as a second language (R.4.4.b.3).
Based on data from the validated practices project (VPP), the ENGL (SCED) program sought to increase candidate effectiveness in teaching reading. As a result, SCED reading course instructors have identified common expectations for interns completing the VPP, especially in the area of student assessment. Learning about teacher-constructed assessments will continue to be a priority for the SCED faculty as it studies the implications of the Maryland SLO’s. Teachers of the methods course will stress more effectively creating curriculum goals aligned with assessment (R.2.4.g.8.a).
SCED is committed to having all of its affiliated programs address diversity issues in an organized way. One aspect of this effort is SCED’s finding ways to increase candidates’ exposure to English Language Learners. SCED-HIST, for example, has revised its social studies methods course SCED 355, Teaching Social Studies in Secondary Education to address explicitly how to teach English Language Learners by incorporating culturally responsive instruction and the Common Core Curriculum Framework (CCCF) into social studies instruction. The historical inquiry project explicitly addresses the CCCF in social studies instruction (R.2.4.g.8.b).
SCED MED reported that candidates’ incoming perceptions of their ability to access relevant research and evaluate of the quality of research declined over the term of 2008 (3.1/4.0) to 2010 (2.3/4.0). The program director identified necessary improvements to the EDUC 605, Research and Information Technology, and EDUC 761, Research in Education, courses to address this issue. By the end of the SCED MEd program, candidates rate their ability to access and evaluate quality research very highly (3.8 out of 4.0; R.2.4.g.17).
Responding to faculty feedback, reflecting expertise in the field, the Media Generalist MS (ISTC-MS) program replaced its MARC (MAchine-Readable Cataloging) assignment and Library of Congress Field Trips with “Pathfinder” that merges the core MARC record element from the original MARC assessment and 21st Century elements related to the organization of knowledge (R.2.4.g.24).
In response to recommendations in its NASP National Recognition Report, School Psychology (SCPY) improved how it assesses diversity elements within its portfolio rubrics, and documents candidate involvement and interactions with K-12 students from diverse backgrounds. These efforts have increased candidates’ interactions with students from diverse backgrounds and ethnicities (R.2.4.g.25).
The MATH BS program reports that its candidates’ evidence of student learning projects demonstrate close attention to the outcomes of their instructional activities and willingness to identify additional changes to further improve their teaching effectiveness. The program emphasizes the role of reflection on practice, and has shown success helping candidates build reflective skills (R.2.4.g.8.d).
Art Education worked to incorporate knowledge and skills related to child development into several of its courses. The topics of child development and learning theories were continued in ARED 381/383, Media and Techniques for Art Teachers Elementary /Secondary, and were expanded within that information in ARED 475/479, Methods of Teaching Art Elementary/Secondary and in ARED 485, Professional Seminar in the Teaching of Art. Candidates reported that they felt well prepared to consider the importance of developmentally appropriate materials, skills and processes when teaching PK -12 students (R.2.4.g.10).
Special Education invites recent graduates to speak to interns in the following year. To this end, the department maintains records of graduate email addresses and hiring locations, and will expand offerings in the Special Education Alumni Series (SEAS) to TU graduates and others in the PDS (R.2.4.g.9).
Sustaining and Enhancing Performance
Recent unit professional development opportunities have focused on preparing candidates
for the Teacher Principal Evaluation, PARCC assessments, and the Maryland Common Core
Curriculum Frameworks (CCCF) (S.5.1,2,3.a,4.a,5).
Unit Programs are increasing coursework helping candidates prepare for the increasing numbers of students exhibiting cultural and linguistic diversities (R.2.4.g.6 (ECED-BS), 9 (SPED-BS), 23(REED-MEd)).
Special Education is continuing its technology integration focus by encouraging the use of the CAST UDL Lesson Builder as a replacement to the former JPTAAR format (R.2.4.g.9).
Early Childhood Education MEd is identifying course mentors for each of its seven required courses and for the four reading electives, resulting in higher consistency across course sections, aligned with program standards and outcomes (R.2.4.g.15).
The Educational Leadership MS/CAS exit survey results indicated that only 60% of students felt confident in their leadership preparation. Program faculty met with local school district officials and practitioners to gain insight toward improvement. The survey also reveals that candidates needed help understanding the significance of parent and community member involvement as contributors to school success, and worked to develop the skills to promote that involvement. With the arrival of the Common Core standards, PARCC assessments, and teacher/principal evaluations, the program made major course revisions to equip candidates with the knowledge and skills to implement these initiatives. (R.2.4.g.22).
1a. How does the unit provide instruction in mathematics and science for early childhood and elementary education teacher candidates?
Both programs provide a strong academic background in math and science, aligned with
national and state standards. The Early Childhood Education program requires candidates
to complete 12 credits of science and 12 credits of math content as prerequisites.
The program also requires an additional three credits of math methods and two credits
of science methods within the professional program sequence.
The Elementary Education program requires 12 credits of math content, and eight credits of Science content in the prerequisite sequence, and a further six credits of science content and methods and five credits of mathematics content and methods in the professional program. (Program Checklists: ECED R.1.5.a.1; ELED R.1.5.a.2)
1b. Do secondary teacher education candidates major in their certificate area?
Yes. Secondary Education candidates complete a content major, and 47 credits of professional education coursework.
Ic. How does the unit include state approved reading courses in all TEACHER preparation programs including a process for ensuring that all outcomes continue to be addressed in the program?
All initial preparation candidates must satisfactorily complete state-approved reading courses within their professional education coursework sequences. ECED, ELED, EESE, ECSE and SPED Elementary/Middle candidates complete twelve credits of required reading coursework. Candidates in SCED and SPED Secondary/Adult programs, and those enrolled in the PreK-12 programs (Art, Music, Dance & Physical Education) complete six credits.
Id. How does the unit ensure candidates possess knowledge and skills that are consistent with Maryland's PreK-12 content standards, as evidenced in the Maryland Common Core State Curriculum?
As a result of the common core curriculum and the 2011 revision of the InTASC Standards,
the unit required all programs to revise required course curricula and materials.
Course syllabi demonstrate that candidates are provided opportunities to learn and
are required to demonstrate knowledge and skills consistent with Maryland PreK-12
content standards (R.1.5.c.1). Sample lesson plans (R.1.4.g.2) embedded within candidate portfolios provide documentation of candidate ability
to integrate these standards within their “Evidence of Student Learning” projects.
Ie. How does the unit provide opportunities for Arts and Sciences faculty to work with education and local school system faculty to achieve PreK-16 alignment?
Teacher preparation at Towson University occurs with the Professional Education Unit. Unit programs may be found in five of the University’s six academic Colleges. Unit governance – through TEEB – provides opportunities for faculty from across the Unit to collaborate and plan such PreK-16 alignment activities. Arts and Sciences faculty at Towson serve as supervisors of Secondary Education interns, furthering collaborations between the IHE and LEA. Curricular initiatives in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) are illustrative of collaborative initiatives among campus faculty, designed to enhance the academic and pedagogical preparation of candidates. Towson’s STEM Education Center is developing a program for practicing teachers to earn the new MSDE "Instructional Leader – STEM" PreK-6 grade band endorsement, and eventually to offer that endorsement as a Post-Baccalaureate Certificate (PBC) program. The unit collaborates with P-12 schools through the Towson Learning Network, the Center for Leadership in Education, and through departmental outreach (R.1.5.e.1) These collaborations have resulted in numerous professional development programs, responding to school system identified professional development needs for inservice teachers and leaders. To respond to the need for classroom leaders, the ILPD department is offering multiple cohorts for classroom teachers to earn Admin I licensure, with several cohorts underway in Baltimore County and Baltimore City.
If. How does the unit align curricula with the Maryland Teacher Technology Standards (MTTS)?
All unit candidates complete two required courses, which together help establish that
the candidates have met all seven of the Maryland Teacher Technology Standards (R.2.5.3). Prior to the implementation of the Towson University Core Curriculum, Unit candidates
completed ISTC 201 – Using Information Effectively, and ISTC 301 – Integrating Instructional
Technology. The ISTC 201 course has a final research paper (R.1.5.d.3) project that informed MTTS 1-3. The ISTC 301 course has a practical teaching experience
project that helped candidates to demonstrate MTTS 4-7 (R.1.5.d.4). With the implementation of the Towson University Core Curriculum, ISTC 201 was
replaced with SCED 304 – Education, Ethics and Change. Beginning in Spring 2014,
SCED 304 will assume the MTTS 1-3 role previously held by ISTC 201 (R.1.5.d.6).
Ig. How does the unit provide instruction in Maryland's school accountability system (Maryland Model for School Readiness[Early Childhood]); Maryland School Assessments [Elementary/Middle School]); High School Assessments [Secondary School]);
Candidates learn about MMSR, MSA, HSA, and Core Learning Goals within required coursework,
and within field and clinical experiences. Interns must demonstrate alignment of learning
objectives with level-appropriate common core frameworks, using required lesson planning
templates (Exhibit R.1.5.b).
Ih. If applicable: Maryland Instructional Leadership Framework. In Administrator I preparation programs, how does the unit integrate the Maryland Instructional Leadership Framework (MILF) into the program?
The Educational Leadership MS and CAS (designed for candidates who already possess a master’s degree) programs at Towson University contain six required courses, for a total of 18 credits (MS candidates take another 18 credits of electives to complete their master’s degrees). Exhibit R.2.5.6 shows how the program incorporates the eight MILF outcomes across the six required courses, and includes matrices that show the alignment of the MILF outcomes with ELLC and ISLLC standards.