Advanced programs for teachers and other school professionals at Montclair State University follow a common format for their assessments, which makes it possible to aggregate the data from individual programs and report them at the Unit level. The programs share two common instruments at program admission but otherwise each program has its own assessments. Figure 1 provides an overview of the assessment system.
|Sources of Assessment Data:|
Graduate School requirements:
Successful completion of specified course-embedded assessments (assessed with common rubric in all sections)
Successful completion of specified practica (for some programs)
Successful completion of all required courses with GPA specified by the program.
Successful completion of Comprehensive Examination, Thesis, or Culminating Activity
Phase 1: Program Admission
Applicants to advanced programs must meet the admissions requirements set by the Graduate School. All applicants must submit transcripts for review showing an undergraduate GPA of at least 3.0, submit at least two letters of recommendation, submit a Statement of Objectives (in which they describe their goals and purposes for graduate study), and take the GRE Test. For the advanced teacher programs, applicants must also submit a copy of current field-specific teaching certificate(s). The Graduate School reviews these materials and makes an initial decision about whether applicants meet basic requirements for admission to the Graduate School. The materials are then sent to the program advisors, who review them to make final admission decisions, considering any special admission requirements for individual programs, and then set up advisement interviews with candidates who meet admission requirements on paper.
As part of the admissions process, applicants also complete an essay aligned with the MSU Advanced Standards as part of Graduate School application process. Faculty members in the program rate the essays using the common rubric and submit a rating sheet for each student admitted to the NCATE Coordinator's Program Assistant. Ratings are entered in a database and the data are reported back to programs in aggregate form across all advanced programs and for individual programs.
Phase 2: Prior to Culminating Semester
Between admission to the program and the culminating semester, students take courses, a number of which have embedded assessments aligned with the MSU Advanced Standards. All of these assessments meet the following criteria:
- The assignment or task being assessed is described clearly.
- Each assessment has a rubric specifying criteria for three levels of performance: does not meet expectations/meets expectations/exceeds expectations.
- Each assessment has a rating sheet that faculty use to give feedback to the students and that they submit for entry into the assessment system database.
- All sections of each course with an embedded assessment administer the assessment to all students every semester the course is taught.
- The syllabi for all of these course sections include the assessment as part of the course.
- A rating sheet for each student in every section of every course with an assessment is submitted to the NCATE Coordinator's Assistant at the end of each semester.
Phase 3: Program Completion
Final assessments vary across the Advanced Programs. They include synthesis papers, comprehensive exams, portfolios, applied projects, units of instruction, action research projects, intervention projects, and case studies. These assessments meet the same criteria as the course-embedded assessments described above. Regardless of the type of assessment, all are aligned with the MSU Advanced Standards.
To determine program effectiveness, three types of data are collected:
- Students complete a questionnaire within one month of admission to the program and once again in their last semester in which they are asked to rate their confidence in their ability with regard to 25 types of knowledge and skills reflected in the MSU Standards for Advanced Programs for Teachers and Other School Professionals.
In the letter of acceptance to each advanced program, newly admitted students are told that they must complete an entrance questionnaire within their first month after admission to the program. This questionnaire asks for background information about the students and asks them to rate their level of confidence to perform 25 activities associated with knowledge and skills of experienced educators, aligned with the MSU Advanced Standards. The questionnaire provides baseline information; the students are asked to complete another questionnaire at the end of their program in which they rate their confidence on the same knowledge and skills. It is used as a way to evaluate the success of the programs in facilitating the development of these knowledge and skills.
- Programs administer a survey of program graduates. The details of this survey and the process for its administration vary by program.
- Programs administer a survey of employers of program graduates. The details of this survey and the process for its administration vary by program.