Use of Data for Program Improvement
The unit is committed to using data to make decisions at the candidate, program, and unit levels and, as a result, improving candidate performance and student learning. Assessment data clearly indicate that candidate performance is strong and the data collected provides opportunities for growth at the faculty, program and unit levels. As described earlier, data are shared with faculty, staff, candidates, advisory boards, administrators, and school partners to demonstrate that the unit has a deep interest in the use of data for improvement. At the unit level, data reports are typically posted on the College of Education website and provided in hard copy to the Assessment Committee, Teacher Education Council, departments and/or programs, as well as the dean and provost. At the program level, data reports are not posted on the website but are provided to programs and/or departments in hard copy format. Data reports are typically discussed at the program and/or department level but may be discussed at the unit level through appropriate committees (Dean’s Advisory Council, Teacher Education Council) if unit changes need to be proposed. The dean is responsible for providing institutional data that are disaggregated at the college level and works with the Dean’s Advisory Council to analyze the results and makes appropriate recommendations for changes at the unit level.
Based on discussions in the unit during 2005 and 2006, it was agreed that a more formal system for recording, disseminating, and receiving feedback on data reports should be instituted. This process was approved by the Assessment Committee and the Dean’s Advisory Committee during spring 2007 and put into practice during the summer. A Use of Data Form is attached to all reports disseminated within the unit and used by faculty in data analysis. The form is then submitted to the Assessment Director for documentation.
Many examples of the use of formal and informal data exist and were presented in the program review documents that were submitted to the Minnesota Board of Teaching. Several examples of changes at the unit level are highlighted:
- The Praxis Center was created after a formal analysis of data indicated that candidates needed support to prepare for national exams.
- Analysis of the data related to return rates of the unit’s self-report instrument dictated a change in data collection procedures within the Assessment System.
- Analysis of the data available from the use of the performance-based assessment instrument resulted in modifications and revisions over the past five years. A new rubric and indicators of performance were added to the instrument.
- Feedback from the Dean’s Student Advisory Committees (undergraduate and graduate) indicated a need to improve the classroom learning environment. These data were forwarded to the Space and Technology Committee and a COE Renovation Plan was developed and is being implemented.
- A survey of faculty regarding the use of technology resulted in an institutional commitment to upgrading classrooms to ensure they were equipped with technology to enhance pedagogy.
- An analysis of the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) data at the college level indicated the need to develop a Unit Operations Survey to provide more precise information to better inform the unit. This analysis also was instrumental in the development of Student Engagement Funds, available to departments to sponsor activities to promote the involvement of faculty and staff with candidates.
- An analysis of enrollment data trends and an informal NCATE Scan resulted in the movement to reassigned time (25%) for graduate program coordinators.
Summary: The unit is systematic in the use of data and has established a system to use data to make positive changes at the program, department, and college levels. Data are shared with candidates, faculty, and staff to promote reflection and to move toward a system of data-driven decision-making.