A Case Study: Closing the Assessment Loop with Program and Institutional Data

A Case Study: Closing the Assessment Loop with Program and Institutional Data

Robert Elliott (Eastern New Mexico University, USA)
Copyright: © 2013 |Pages: 19
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-2621-8.ch002
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We know that a nationwide shortage of highly qualified teachers exists, and not enough people are becoming teachers. We also know there are increasing demands for institutions to demonstrate a system of accountability through program assessment. As stated by the State Higher Education Executive Officers (2005), “The National Commission on Accountability in Higher Education believes improved accountability for better results is imperative, but how to improve accountability in higher education is not so obvious” (p. 4). Also, many teacher preparation programs are not accredited, and of the 1,300 teacher preparation programs that existed in 1999, only 38 percent were accredited through the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) (The CEO Forum on Education & Technology, 2000, p. 3). While examining the effectiveness of the Teacher Education program assessment at the case institution, three convergent themes emerged.
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In 2005, both NCATE and the New Mexico Public Education Department (NM PED) conducted an initial approval site visit to 2 of 14 external campuses of this Texas-based four-year private University. The purpose of their visit was to assess and approve the teacher education programs administered at this University’s New Mexico campuses under the NCATE and NM PED standards. The only major deficiency identified during the visit was the lack of sufficient evidence in meeting the following standard:

The unit has an assessment system that collects and analyzes data on applicant qualifications, candidate and graduate performance, and unit operations to evaluate and improve the unit and its programs (National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education, n.d., p. 4; National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education, 2005, p. 19).

Although some forms of accountability were being maintained informally, the campus did not meet the NCATE standard on the existence of program accountability through assessment measures. With the team’s imminent return in January 2008 to conduct a Focus Visit on assessment measures, the need to show evidence that an effective assessment plan and measures were in place was imperative. If documentation of meaningful accountability measures was not evident prior to the scheduled visit, the campus stood to lose program approval to continue administering its educator preparation programs.


Case Description

From a program perspective, preparing for an accreditation visit can be a daunting task. Preparing for a Focus Visit, which comes after not meeting one or more NCATE standards, can prove even more intimidating. The case study institution was self-selected, based on its need and desire to identify strengths and weaknesses in how it assesses its Teacher Education Program. More pressing was the need to conduct an assessment prior to the scheduled revisit by the joint NMPED and the NCATE board of examiner’s (BOE) team in January 2008.

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