Benchmarks

College of Education

Benchmarks

The College of Education values and embraces data-driven decision-making to inform continuous improvement and to reflect on the effectiveness of its programs. The College's operations and its teacher and administrator preparation programs are reflective of standards and principles espoused by national accrediting bodies, professional education organizations, and the Arizona Department of Education. These include the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE 2008); the Interstate New Teacher Assessment and Support Consortium (INTASC 2008); the National Board Professional Teacher Standards (NBPTS); the Interstate School Leaders Licensure Consortium (ISLLC 2008); and the Arizona Professional Teacher Standards (APTS).

During both IR and non-IR programs of study, learners complete a Benchmark Assessment (IR) or Signature Assignment (non-IR) that reflects scaffolded learning throughout each course of the program. Each measures learner understanding of specific specialized professional association standards related to the programs as noted earlier, stressing understanding and application of specific standards within coursework. In many cases, practicum/field experience, the action inquiry process, and/or contact with a variety of stakeholders within the greater educational community inform them as well.

In IR programs, the structure of the benchmark assessment and rubric documentation is designed to identify a number of components critical to the learner's understanding of the benchmark as a capstone to a particular course. Each identifies a Targeted Essential Learning, which is gleaned from the deconstructed applicable standards' enduring understandings. The Assessment Tool Selected is simply the type of deliverable work product candidates should expect to produce. Specific Performance/Tasks are those skills determined through the deconstructed standards to be applicable to the benchmark. The Relevancy of Task to Teacher/Administrator Candidate answers the following question: How does this task relate to real life work applications or real issues/problems or student interests? The Assessment: Student Prompts/Directions section outlines the specific directions for completion of the general practicum experience (where applicable) and the assignment itself. Each Scoring Tool/Guide (Rubric) identifies the criteria against which the work product is graded. One section of the rubric always addresses the applicable NAEYC standard and function. Another section of the rubric addresses assignment specific criteria. A third section addresses presentation of the work product.

The Assessment of Applied Learning plots a teacher or administrator candidate's progress through the requisite program of study, from admission through student teaching/internship, as it applies to the ability to meet the above national standard competencies for educators. It identifies the requisite hours of practicum/field experiences candidates participate in by course, as well as the title of the associated Benchmark Assessment. College of Education faculty assesses these benchmarks in the TaskStream AMS system and then use it to monitor program success, identify weak-performing areas, and make curricular changes.

Example: Assessment of Applied Learning