Pedagogical Content Knowledge for Teacher Candidates
Beginning in 2002, the Minnesota Board of Teaching began requiring that all candidates seeking initial licensure successfully pass the Praxis II – Principles of Learning and Teaching (PLT) exam. Trend data at the unit level provide strong evidence of candidates’ grasp of pedagogical content knowledge. From 2002 – 2007, our pass rates averaged 100 percent for early childhood; 98.4 percent for K-6; 94.6 percent for 5-9; and 98.8 percent for 7-12.
Candidates also develop pedagogical content knowledge as outlined in state, professional, and institutional standards through specific courses focused on pedagogy content as well as participation in field and clinical experiences throughout their program. The PLT data at the program level also provide documentation of adequate pedagogical content knowledge.
The unit also collects data on pedagogical content knowledge from key assessments including performance assessments, cooperating teacher surveys, follow-up studies, and employer surveys at the unit level. Trend data support the fact that candidates do indeed have the pedagogical content knowledge to be successful; moreover, the data allow the unit to look at areas that need attention over time.
Throughout all programs, candidates gain knowledge and skills related to using technology in teaching and learning and are expected to integrate technology into their planning and instructional strategies. An analysis of data indicates that candidates are proficient in using technology as evaluated by cooperating teachers; however, it appears that there is room for improvement within programs. While self-report data from candidates indicate improved skills over the past six years, data from cooperating teachers has remained steady.
Candidates at the advanced level seeking initial licensure must also pass the Praxis PLT exam as required by the Minnesota Board of Teaching. Trend data for advanced candidates reveal that 230 candidates have taken the PLT exam since 2002; 220 candidates have passed, yielding a 95.6 percent pass rate. Pedagogical content knowledge is also assessed through course activities, student teaching or internship evaluations, portfolios and other related measures. Aggregated data indicate consistent strong performance related to pedagogical content knowledge.
Summary: Teacher candidates demonstrate strong pedagogical content knowledge allowing them to use effective instructional strategies including technology to meet the learning needs of all students. The data suggest that candidates possess the knowledge and skills to plan and deliver instruction that is clear and effective to reach teaching and learning expectations.
Professional and Pedagogical Knowledge and Skills for Teacher Candidates
Professional and pedagogical knowledge and skills include the foundations of education, child and adolescent development; professional ethics, laws, and policies; using research to guide teaching practice; and the consideration of school, family, and community contexts and impact on learning. Reflection within the teaching and learning process is a high expectation that we hold for our candidates and is a hallmark of professional and pedagogical knowledge and skills. Candidates are expected to reflect on their teaching to enable them to create a supportive environment and learning experiences that are authentic and meaningful to enhance the learning of all students. Candidates understand the impact of factors such as family, community, and school on the individual student and work to improve student learning.
Assessments that address professional and pedagogical knowledge and skills are often course or field based; however, the unit is purposeful in seeking data in this important area through follow-up studies, performance-based assessments from cooperating teachers and university supervisors, surveys of cooperating teachers, and employer surveys. The unit has extensive data over the past five years indicating that candidates have the professional and pedagogical knowledge and skills to be successful.
Candidates at the advanced level are also expected to know and be able to demonstrate professional and pedagogical knowledge and skills related to the core propositions of the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) and other professional standards. Course activities and assessments typically include applied work that is authentic and can directly address professional and pedagogical knowledge and skills. Examples include the development of curricula, lesson plans, assessment tools, and action research. Data indicate that advanced candidates are proficient in their professional and pedagogical knowledge and skills.
Summary: Teacher candidates demonstrate professional and pedagogical knowledge and skills and are able to apply these skills in field and clinical experiences. Candidates are also able to assess the learning environment and consider the school, family, and community contexts in their planning process and teaching strategies.