Executive Director’s

Analysis of Recommendations for Proposed Resolutions

Corban College

Teacher Education Program

Site Visit Evaluation Report

November 13-15, 2006

 

On November 13-15, 2006, a TSPC team visited the Corban College Teacher Education Program to evaluate compliance with Teacher Standards and Practices Commission’s established standards for program quality.

 

Oregon Administrative Rules (OARs) 584-010-0020(5)(d) and 584-010-0025 direct the Executive Director to prepare proposed resolutions for the Commission’s consideration following a site visit review.

 

The Director may make one of the following three recommendations:

a)      Propose approval;

b)      Propose approval with conditions that the unit make a report on a specific date indicating progress on correcting deficiencies; or

c)      Propose non approval with conditions.  [OAR 584-010-0025(2).]

 

The administrative rules do not offer further guidance with regard to what standards must be met to guarantee approval and in what circumstances that an approval be conditional.  Accordingly, the Executive Director must make a determination based on her best judgment with regard to whether an “unmet” standard is substantial enough to trigger a conditional approval.

 

The team found the following standard to be “unmet.”  (Site Review Evaluation Report at p. 15-16)

 

584-017-0060 Unit Personnel for the Program

 

The unit provides qualified campus-based faculty to conduct the program.

 

(1) The unit has a plan to recruit and retain qualified faculty from diverse groups to assure representation of public school populations in accordance with equal employment opportunity laws and regulations.

 

(2) Personnel have in-depth academic preparation and experience in their instructional fields.

 

(3) Personnel have knowledge of the early childhood, elementary, middle or high schools.

 

(4) The unit provides orientation and training to all personnel assigned to professional teacher education programs regardless of their individual roles and responsibilities, and shall keep them abreast of current state and program requirements.

 

(5) The unit informs all faculty of the objectives and procedures of the program and their role in achieving the objectives.

 

(6) Each faculty member assigned to professional education and methods courses has had, within the immediately preceding three years, an experience in supervising, consulting, teaching, research, or other appropriate involvement in contact with early childhood, or elementary, or middle or high school students and classroom teachers.

 

(7) All institutional personnel who supervise field experiences have had a minimum of three years' teaching in early childhood, or elementary, or middle or high school and hold, or are eligible to hold, a license appropriate to the authorization level being supervised.

 

 

Discussion and Analysis:  The portion of the administrative rule at issue here is OAR 584-017-0060(7).  The rule states in pertinent part: 

 

“(7) All institutional personnel who supervise field experiences have had a minimum of three years' teaching in early childhood, or elementary, or middle or high school and hold, or are eligible to hold, a license appropriate to the authorization level being supervised.”  (Emphasis added.)

 

The findings of the site review team that this standard is “unmet” hinged on the team’s interpretation that the administrative rule requires that supervising faculty members are qualified in the content areas in which they supervise as well as the grade authorization levels at which they supervise. 

 

The site visit review evaluation report makes the following specific finding:

 

“Evidence demonstrated by interviews with student teachers and administrators, data provided regarding field supervision, and data provided on vitas and licensure of faculty indicates that field supervision assignments were consistent with the standard on authorization level but were inconsistent in the area of content authorization.”

 

OAR 584-005-0005(10) defines “Authorization Level” as follows:  (10) "Authorization Level:  "The grade levels in which a person may teach, i.e., early childhood, elementary, middle level and high school as defined in OAR 584-060-0051.” 

 

OAR 584-060-0051(3) further defines “Authorization Levels” as follows:  “(3) A first Transitional or Initial Teaching License is authorized for levels on the basis of professional education, experience, previous licensure, and specialized academic course work.”  [Emphasis added.] 

 

Each subsequent paragraph in OAR 584-060-0051 which defines the various grade authorization levels [Early Childhood Education (ECE); Elementary (ELE); Middle Level (ML) and High School (HS)], include references to the content level work that must be completed at each authorization level.  In other words, the rules, as originally promulgated have always contemplated that the authorization levels are not defined in isolation of the content areas in which the grade authorization levels are issued.

 

Corban College originally provided a rejoinder letter that appeared to miss the mark insofar as clearly understanding the heart of the site review team’s concerns.  The letter confirmed the team’s findings in that Corban believed that if the placements have field supervising faculty at the “grade authorization levels” only, Corban then would be in compliance with the rule.  [See attached letter dated December 13, 2006.]

 

The letter further acknowledged that supervising field assignments weigh more heavily toward grade authorization as well as the field supervisor’s geographic location and less toward the content area expertise of the field supervisory.  However, interviews with school cooperating teachers (school employees working with student teachers) and candidates indicate that due to the lack of content area expertise among field supervisors, the institution faculty are not always able to provide quality pedagogical expertise for the candidates.

 

By the evidence submitted by the site committee and the subsequent response letter by Corban, it is clear that at that time, the institution failed to meet subparagraph (7) of the standard.

 

The Executive Director reviewed the site visit report and the unit’s rejoinder letter and prepared a recommendation letter to the Commission that included the following conclusion to the analysis:

 

Conclusion:  Corban appears to have misinterpreted the administrative rule which requires that supervising teachers in school district placements hold the appropriate licensure in both grade authorization and content area endorsement. 

 

Corban’s response letter does not suggest that the institution finds the failure to meet his standard as a serious problem that needs correcting.

 

It goes to the core of accountability and quality that a candidate’s only serious field experience, student teaching, be supervised by faculty members who have expertise in the content areas in which the candidate is “practice teaching.”  The supervising faculty member plays a key role in evaluating each candidate’s successful completion of the key components of a preparation program. 

 

It is notable that school cooperating teachers and candidates expressed concerns about the faculty supervising field experiences lack the content area knowledge to be helpful when pedagogical help is needed.

 

The director concludes that the failure to meet this standard rises to the level of requiring a recommendation that approval of the program be conditioned upon the unit’s commitment to remedy the “unmet” portion of OAR 584-017-0060.

 

The proposed recommendation letter was shared with the unit.  Following review of the letter, a subsequent letter was issued by Corban College TEP dated January 22, 2007.  [See attached letter dated January 22, 2007.]

 

The later letter spelled out in detail, the modifications Corban intended to make to its program to ensure that supervising faculty members not only hold the appropriate authorization level, but are also licensed, or eligible to be licensed, in the content areas they are supervising as well.  Corban submitted evidence of the supervising faculty’s credentials in addition to information regarding the upcoming year’s placement schedule for student teachers.  The information related to the individual faculty members is not included with this recommendation letter, but the other information sent with the January 22, 2007, letter has been included with this report.

 

Conclusion:  The Executive Director recommends an unconditional approval of the Corban teacher education program.