Standard 3: Candidate Quality, Recruitment, & Selectivity

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3.1 Recruits and Supports High-Quality and Diverse Candidate Pool

The EPP actively recruits diverse candidates, supports efforts toward program completion, and infuses culturally relevant curricula in courses. The EPP's Recruitment and Retention Center (RCC) maintains relationships with regional school districts. RRC staff travel to regional high schools and host on campus events such as Racer Roundup and Racer Day to motivate students to pursue careers in teaching, disseminate scholarship information, and acquaint prospective students with EPP faculty, programs, and facilities.

EPP monitors candidate demographic information. Data reflect the diversity of districts within the EPP's service area (District Statistics, Demographic Analysis of Admitted Candidates). RRC staff and EPP administrators analyze district demographics to cultivate relationships with schools supporting diverse student population. ERR staff also target areas of teaching shortages (MAT Needs Assessment). Some scholarships, such as the TEACH Grant, entice candidates to pursue careers in areas where there is a shortage (e.g. math).

Upon admission to Murray State, candidates are assigned to an academic advisor who meets with them regularly to schedule classes and address academic/personal needs. The RCC Director teaches EDU 100 Transitions, which introduces teacher education requirements, EPP/Murray State policies, and campus resources. She assesses candidates' current academic and personal needs, tracks candidates' academic progress, contacts struggling candidates, and works with advisors to support candidates' efforts. At-risk candidates are referred to the EPP's Counseling and Assessment Center (CAC). These actions increase retention and program completion.

The Minority Educator Recruitment and Retention Scholarship (MERR) provides funding for candidates of diversity enrolled in Kentucky teacher education programs. Applicants must major in teacher education, pursue initial certification, maintain continuous full-time enrollment, and earn a 2.75 GPA. Recipients teach one semester for each semester they received funding.

The EPP Diversity Committee ensures diversity is infused throughout teacher preparation programs. A review of the Diversity Matrix indicates candidates are being exposed to issues surrounding diversity, social justice, and culturally relevant pedagogy. Candidates are exploring how this content knowledge applies to their own awareness of self.

3.2 Sets Selective Admission Requirements

Murray State and the EPP strive to recruit quality candidates into the profession. To promote a culture of academic excellence and to increase student success, the university has developed a more selective system for admitting incoming freshmen. Freshmen will be supported according to their specific academic needs (Murray State Tiered Admission Policy). Beginning fall 2016, Murray State will increase the average composite ACT from 22.6 to 25 for unconditionally admitted students. Furthermore, they will increase the percentage of first-time, full-time freshmen students in the top 25% of their class from 43%-50%. Murray State will also increase the number of Governor's Scholar Program/Governor's Scholar for the Arts and Commonwealth Honors Academy students enrolling as first-time Murray State freshmen by 100%.

The National Distributions of Cumulative Percents for ACT 2013, 2014 and 2015 documents that the 50th percentile for the ACT Composite is a 20. In response to national agencies' candidate selectivity requirements, Ms. Tracy Roberts, Murray State Registrar, created letters documenting teacher candidates' average ACT composite scores and GPAs for the past three years. These documents verify that candidates' ACT scores are at or above the 50th percentile and that their GPAs meet or exceed the CAEP minimum of 3.0 (ACT and GPA).

Admission to teacher education requirements are aligned with state regulations (Teacher Education Sourcebook). Guidelines are shared during EDU 100T, Admissions to Teacher Education orientations, and Student Teaching orientations. They are also posted on program guide sheets.

Checkpoint Admissions Data demonstrate that candidates admitted to teacher education consistently maintain an average GPA that is above the CAEP minimum requirement. For example, the average overall GPA for 57 candidates admitted in the 2012-2013 academic year (fall, spring and summer) was 3.42 on a 4.0 scale. In the following years, the average overall GPA for admitted candidates was 3.41 (159 students) in the 2013-2014 academic year and 3.37 (173 students) in the 2014-2015 academic year. These averages include GPAs from students admitted to various undergraduate programs. Implementing the Praxis CASE as an admissions requirement helps ensure that candidates have academic ability and foundational knowledge in their content area before entering into the teacher education program.

Requirements for admission to student teaching are shared in the Teacher Education Sourcebook, advising guide sheets, EDU 100T, admission to teacher education orientations, and student teaching orientations. Candidates must submit online applications to Teacher Education Services at least two semesters before they plan to student teach. They must maintain a minimum GPA of 2.75 on a 4.0 scale within their major, demonstrate teaching ability as measured by successful instructional delivery in a Practicum course (e.g. SED 455), complete 200 hours of field experience with designated components. Candidates' applications are reviewed by the Admission to Education Committee, which is comprised of EPP faculty, Murray State content area faculty, and P-12 partners (Meeting Minutes). Candidate flags, GPA and other requirements are discussed and the committee determines whether the candidate should continue with the student teaching semester.

Candidates who are admitted for Student Teaching have consistently maintained a high average GPA for the previous three academic years. The average overall GPA for 260 candidates admitted in the 2012- 2013 academic year was 3.41 on a 4.0 scale. The average overall GPA for admitted candidates was 3.46 (222 students) in the 2013-2014 academic year and 3.45 (198 students) in the 2014-2015 academic year. The EPSB Admissions Data and the Praxis/PLT Pass Rates data further support that the provider monitors admissions standards.

3.3 Monitors Attributes and Dispositions Beyond Academic Ability

EPP faculty conducted extensive research into educational efficacy to collaboratively create a Conceptual Framework for the EPP. This discussion led to the identification of seven professional dispositions programs engender in candidates: inclusiveness, responsibility, enthusiasm, caring, confidence, ethics, and professionalism. To motivate students to learn and to positively impact the development of all P-12 students, candidates need to demonstrate more than just knowledge and skills, they need to have professional dispositions in place as well. Candidates who exhibit difficult with professional dispositions are flagged (Flag System).

EPP candidates' professional dispositions are evaluated at multiple points in their program (Candidate Dispositions, Teacher Education Sourcebook). Candidates begin by using the provided TES disposition instrument to self-assess their own dispositions during EDU 100T. Cooperating Teachers and EPP faculty use specific assignments, observation, and Field Experience Evaluations to assess candidates' dispositions during their course work. Checkpoint Admissions Data demonstrate that candidates' dispositions are assessed during an advisor interview, interview with the Coordinator of Student Teaching, and senior-level dispositions essays. Candidates' dispositions are also assessed by EPP faculty, University Supervisors, and Cooperating Teachers during clinical experiences. Moreover, candidates assess their own dispositions in EDU 100T, a program-designated junior-level course, and during student teaching (Candidate Dispositions).

Data are collected using multiple EPP assessment instruments including key course assignments, field experiences, dispositions self-assessments, admission to teacher education interview, student teaching interview, evaluation of student teaching, and student teaching eligibility portfolio (Field Experience Evaluations, Student Teaching Evaluations, Candidate Dispositions, TPA Eligibility Portfolio). Course instructors complete analytical rubrics assessing candidates' dispositions. Data are posted on LiveText and analyzed to inform program improvement.

3.4 Creates Criteria and Monitors Candidate Progress

Continuous assessment procedures are used to document and systematically monitor candidate progress throughout the education program to ascertain candidates' proficiency in the Kentucky Teacher Standards. Checkpoints provide data to facilitate faculty's efforts to make recommendations for improvement, remediation, or candidates' continuance in the program. Candidates' efforts are formally assessed at three checkpoints: admission to teacher education, admission to student teaching, and program exit. These checkpoints ensure that candidates have acquired the necessary professional and pedagogical content knowledge, instructional skills, and educator dispositions to become highly qualified teachers and leaders. Performance criteria are shared with candidates during mandatory orientations at each checkpoint (see 3.3). Guidelines are also delineated on program guide sheets and further detailed in the EPP's continuous assessment plan. As program policy states, candidates follow curriculum guide sheets, Racer Academic Completion Reports, and confer with advisors to help them to monitor their own progress and prepare for the continuous self-assessment as required of professional educators.

All coursework, common syllabi, clinical experiences, and EPP-created evaluation instruments are aligned with the Kentucky Teacher Standards (KTS Course Alignment Tables). Furthermore, course content is aligned with Specialized Professional Associations related to that field of study. College and Career Readiness Standards tables are also embedded in each program's submission document. These alignment tables are found at www.coehsnet.murraystate.edu , EPSB F15 Submissions.

Candidates develop content knowledge through the University Studies (41-45 cr. hrs.) courses. They demonstrate content knowledge by maintaining GPA > 2.75 and passing the Core Academic Skills for Education (CASE) exam. Moreover, they gain additional academic content knowledge and pedagogical content knowledge through the successful completion of education course work and clinical experiences (Field Experience Evaluations, Student Teaching Evaluations).

Candidates develop technology proficiency by participating in KATE-sponsored training opportunities; using Recruiter, Canvas, LiveText, and KFETS to submit assignments and clinical experience information; completing CSC 199 or EDU 222; and embedding instructional technology in their instructional delivery during clinical experiences. Instructional technology training and opportunities are reflected in the Technology Matrix and KATE evidence items.

Candidates enhance personal literacy skills by successfully completing two Oral and Written Communication university studies courses, ENG 105 Critical Reading, Writing, and Inquiry and COM 161 Introduction to Public Speaking. Furthermore, they complete six hours of Historical, Literary, and Philosophical university studies courses, CIV 201/202 World Civilizations I/II and HUM 211 The Western Humanities Tradition. They further refine their writing skills by completing the unit's writing intensive student teaching semester. Furthermore, candidates demonstrate writing proficiency by passing the writing portion of the Core Academic Skills for Educators exam. With these literacy skills in place, candidates are trained how to develop the reading and writing skills of students in their future classrooms.

Candidates refine their pedagogical proficiency through participation in multiple clinical experiences. As per 16 KAR 5:040 legislation, Kentucky teacher candidates complete a minimum of 200 clock hours of field experiences prior to student teaching. Candidates participate in varied activities in P12 school settings. Activities include engaging a diverse student population, observing in schools and related agencies (e.g. Family Resource Centers or Youth Service Centers), tutoring, interacting with families of students, attending school board and school-based council meetings, participating in a school-based professional learning community, and assisting teachers or other school professionals. Candidates record field experience hours and activities on the LiveText Field Experience Module system and the Kentucky Field Experience Tracking System. Course instructors, cooperating teachers, and university supervisors confirm candidates' participation.

After candidates successfully complete required course work and student teaching, they receive their bachelor degrees in teacher education. To be recommended for initial certification, they must complete the Declaration of Eligibility form and earn passing scores on relevant PRAXIS content area tests and the Principles of Learning and Teaching exam (Teacher Education Sourcebook).

3.5 Candidate Positively Impacts P-12 Students

Kentucky Collaboration for Quality Data (KCQD) state agency-EPP partners are building a data dashboard linking program completers to students' achievement results. The EPP is partnering with the Kentucky Center for Education and Workforce Statistics (KCEWS) to pilot a system for gathering student growth percentile data (see KCEWS Program Impact). This plan relies upon district-level student achievement generated by "K-PREP" (Kentucky Performance Rating for Educational Progress) tests. To analyze impact on students at this time, the EPP used alternate measures. Please reference 4.1 and 5.4 for additional information.

Kentucky public school districts recently developed customized Certified Evaluation Plans (CEP) to evaluate certified educators' efficacy and to increase student academic achievement. Districts' CEPs use multiple measures to document certified educators' impact on student achievement, such as student learning (p. 11) and student growth (p. 20). Final CEPs are approved by local school boards and the Kentucky Department of Education. Once CEPs are actualized, the KCQD group will add student learning and student growth data to the statewide data dashboard.

Kentucky is not an EdTPA state; EPPs design their own TPAs. Student teachers' capstone efforts are placed in their TPA Eligibility Portfolios. Aggregated Student Teacher Impact on Student Learning data indicate students' mean growth percentiles increased as a result of student teachers' instructional efforts. Disaggregated program data document large gains in student achievement. Student Teacher Evaluations indicate candidates impact student learning as well. From F14-F15, 89-100% of student teachers received the two highest ratings on 'helps all students learn.' Once state-provided completer impact on student learning data are available, the EPP will use CEP teacher performance data, student teacher's TPA assessments, and Student Teacher Evaluation items as predictive/comparative data points to inform program improvement.

3.6 Candidate Understands the Expectations of the Profession

Candidates' knowledge, skills, and dispositions are assessed continuously throughout the program (see 3.1-3.3). Teacher candidates read and examine the Professional Code of Ethics for Kentucky School Personnel when they attend an admission to teacher education orientation. They sign the Declaration of Eligibility to attest they (1) understand the standard for personal and professional conduct expected of a professional educator; (2) certify they have read, examined, and understand the Professional Code of Ethics for Kentucky Certified School Personnel and agree to abide by its terms during the course of preparation and careers as professional educators; and (3) affirm and declare that all information they give is true, correct, and complete to the best of their knowledge. This is one of the requirements for admission to teacher education.

Before participating in clinical experiences, candidates must pass criminal background checks. They sign TES Confidentiality Forms to document their understanding of the importance of professional conduct during clinical experiences. Candidates' professional dispositions are formally evaluated by cooperating teachers, EPP faculty, and university supervisors during their clinical experiences. Candidates who exhibit unprofessional conduct are flagged (Flag System).

Once the Declaration of Eligibility has been completed and signed, if the attestation changes during the time of participation in the teacher education program the Director of Teacher Education Services must be notified immediately and a new declaration must be submitted. Teacher candidates re-examine the Professional Code of Ethics for Kentucky School Personnel during the admission to student teaching orientation. They submit an updated Declaration of Eligibility at the conclusion of this orientation. Once candidates have completed all program and certification requirements, they submit a CA-1 application for Kentucky Certification. The application includes a section entitled Character and Fitness. By signing the form, candidates attest they have abided and will continue to adhere to the Professional Code of Ethics for Kentucky School Personnel.

Conclusion

A preponderance of evidence documents the EPP's recruitment and retention systems. Candidates' progress is monitored throughout their programs. Proficiencies are documented through formal assessments.