Who are They and What are Their Expectations?
Assessing ECSU First-Year Teacher Preparation Program Candidates Using Entry
Survey
Xing Liu
Learning Goals
Introduction
One of the goals of teacher education programs in education unit at the Eastern
Connecticut State University (ECSU) is to prepare excellent teachers who can contribute
positively to achieve the goals of PK-12 schools and promote educational change for the
welfare of their students.
According to the revised standard of assessment system and unit evaluation of
National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE), target data collection,
analysis, and evaluation is that the unit’s assessment system collects regular and
comprehensive data on program quality, unit operations, and candidate performance at
multiple assessment and key transition points (NCATE, 2007). To provide evidence for
program effectiveness, decision making and NCATE re-accreditation, it is important to
assess teacher candidates as soon as they enter into ECSU education preparation
programs and to assess them again when they graduate.
Goals from the Eastern Education Unit’s Conceptual Framework
2.1
Candidates/Graduates are able to identify developmentally appropriate learning goals and
objectives for students based upon knowledge of subject matter, students, the community and
curriculum goals (both state and national) and to plan instructional activities which foster
individual and collective inquiry, critical thinking, and problem solving to facilitate learning for
all students.
2.2
Candidates/Graduates demonstrate an understanding of major theories of human development
and use instructional strategies to create positive classroom environments that maximize learning
while promoting independence, social competence, and positive self-concept.
2.3
Candidates/Graduates establish a classroom environment that is safe, nurturing, and conducive to
learning.
2.4
Candidates/Graduates establish and maintain appropriate standards of behavior to create a
positive learning environment that shows a commitment to students and their success.
2.6
Candidates/Graduates conduct learning activities in a logical sequence which is flexible and
developmentally appropriate to the needs interests, ability, and background of students.
2.9
Candidates/Graduates appreciate individual variation within each area of development, show
respect for the diverse talents of all learners, and help them develop self-confidence and
competence.
4.1. Candidates/Graduates integrate appropriate technology throughout their courses and clinical
experiences.
4.2. Candidates/Graduates use a variety of print, visual materials, manipulatives, media, and
electronic resources for exploration and development of concepts, principles, and skills
associated with the content they teach.
4.3. Candidates/Graduates appreciate the availability of educational technology and use it with ease
and enthusiasm.
Purpose and Research Questions
The purpose of the proposed assessment was to obtain teacher candidates’
background information and to investigate their perceptions regarding different aspects of
teaching, the use of technology in teaching, and their expectations and goals of future
teaching. It has three sections with 30 items: Aspects of Teaching, Technology, and
Future Teaching Plans. Candidates are also asked to provide some demographic
information in the section of Your Focus. More specifically, this study sought to answer
the following questions: 1. What were their perceptions regarding different aspects of
teaching, the use of technology in teaching, and their expectations and goals of future
teaching? 2. What were the characteristics of entering teacher candidates? This
assessment was designed to provide very useful information for NCATE accreditation
and provide evidence of program effectiveness at ECSU Education Unit.
Assessment Instruments and Methodologies
Instruments and data collection
A survey instrument, ECSU Teacher Education Entry Survey (TEES) was
developed on the basis of Teachers for a New Era Project (TNE) Common Entry Survey
(Liu & Gehlbach, 2006). Items in the TEES survey were aligned with the goals of the
Education Unit’s conceptual framework. The undergraduate participants were the
students who were taking EDU 210 Foundation of U.S. education, a prerequisite course
for the admission to the teacher education programs at Eastern, and ECE 325 Language
and Literacy in fall 2008. For the new graduate students, those who were admitted for the
fall 2008 semester and were taking EDU 508 Research in Education were asked to
complete the survey. These students were invited to take the hard-copy surveys in class.
A total of 143 students returned the completed surveys with the response rate of 100%.
The responded surveys were kept secure in a locked drawer in the faculty’s office. All
electronic data were stored in a password protected computer. All data remained
confidential and no names were retained. Participants’ names were replaced by ID
numbers for tracking purpose only. Only aggregated data were reported and no
individual’s information would ever be revealed.
Data Analysis
All data were entered and analyzed using SPSS 15.0. Frequency distributions and
descriptive statistics (means and standard deviations) were conducted to address the two
research questions. In addition, validity and reliability information of the survey
instrument was provided. In order to understand the underlying structure of the survey,
exploratory factor analysis (EFA) was conducted to measure the construct validity of the
survey instrument. Reliability analysis was conducted to calculate reliability coefficients
of the scales. The survey instrument will be modified based on the results of factor
analysis and reliability analysis. For example, items with low factor loadings (e.g., <.4)
will be removed from the survey.
Results
Exploratory Factor Analysis Results
An exploratory factor analysis (EFA) was conducted to examine the factorial
validity of the 22-item instrument using SPSS 15.0. Principal axis factoring and the
oblimin rotation methods were used in the EFA. Univariate statistics, the Kaiser-MeyerOlkin (KMO) measure of sampling adequacy, Bartlett’s test, communalities, eigenvalues,
and the scree plot were examined.
The KMO for the sample data was found to be .916, suggesting that the
correlations among items is good for conducting factor analysis (Tabachnick & Fidell,
2007). For the Bartlett’s test of sphericity, χ2 = 2120.72, df =231, p<.001, indicating that
the correlation matrix among the items was not an identity matrix.
In the factor analysis, three factors were extracted on the basis of the eigenvalue
larger than one criterion. The rotation eigenvalue for the first factor was 6.204, indicating
28.20% of total variance in all the items was accounted for by that factor. The rotation
eigenvalue for the second factor was 4.084, indicating 18.56% of total variance in all the
items was accounted for by that factor. The rotation eigenvalue for the third factor was
2.551, indicating 11.60% of total variance in all the items was accounted for by that
factor. The scree plot also suggested that three-factor solution since three factors could be
retained above the elbow of eigenvalues. The first factor could be named as aspects of
teaching; the second factor could be named as use of technology; and the third factor
could be named as diversity and use of assessment. Therefore, the 22-item three-factor
pattern was the most interpretable factor pattern.
Reliability Analyses
Based on the results of EFA, a reliability analysis was conducted on the 22 items
in the TEES scale. The reliability coefficients (Cronbach’s alpha) of aspects of teaching,
use of technology, and use of assessment were .933, 932, and .791, respectively,
indicating a high internal consistency among the items of each of these three factors.
Self-efficacy of Teaching, Diversity and Use of Assessment, and Use of Technology
With regard to self-efficacy of aspects of teaching, participants were moderately
confident with their teaching ability. On a five-point Likert scale (1 = Not at all confident; 5 =
Very confident), the average score on the self-efficacy scale in aspects of teaching was 3.054
with a standard deviation of .745. Table 1 provides descriptive statistics for the items of
TEES scale. Among the scale, the average scores on five items were below three
(Moderately confident), indicating that students were slightly confident to moderately
confident of knowing what procedures to follow if they believed a student had a disability,
implementing a variety of teaching strategies to reach students who are not native English
speakers, teaching even the most challenging students, addressing the learning needs of
students who struggle with behavioral issues in school, and diversifying their lessons to
meet the needs of special education students.
For self-efficacy of diversity and use of assessment, participants indicated that
they were also moderately confident of diversity and use of assessment. On a 5-point
scale, the average responses to the degree of confidence in respecting different cultural
backgrounds from your own were 4.07. The mean of the responses to the confidence of
using effective classroom assessment strategies was 3.38, and the mean of the responses
to the confidence of developing a strong rapport with parents of your students was 3.59.
The average responses to the confidence level of using formalized assessment (i.e., CMT,
CAPT) results were 2.57, indicating that students were slightly confidence in this aspect.
Regarding self-efficacy of use of technology, overall Eastern students felt
moderately confidence in use of technology. The average score on this scale was 3.35
with a standard deviation of .94. On a five-point scale, students were moderately
confident of integrating educational technology throughout their courses and clinical
experiences, using different types of educational technology, using computers effectively
in their classroom, integrating educational technology into their lessons, and helping their
students better learn to use technology.
Table 1
Descriptive Statistics for the Items of the TEES Scale (n = 143)
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
M
SD
Self-efficacy of Aspects of Teaching
3.05
.75
Planning stimulating lessons for students
Motivating students to participate in academic tasks
Changing the way you present material to accommodate the learning
needs of all your students
Knowing what procedures to follow if you believe a student has a
disability
Creating learning experiences that are meaningful to students
Implementing a variety of teaching strategies to reach students who
are not native English speakers
Teaching even the most challenging students
3.04
3.53
3.22
0.99
0.95
1.03
2.72
1.15
3.44
2.21
0.96
0.99
2.66
0.97
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
19
20
21
22
23
Effectively addressing classroom management issues
Addressing the learning needs of students who struggle with
behavioral issues in school
Facilitating learning for all of your students
Adapting your curriculum to accommodate individual differences
Developing a strong rapport with your students
Diversifying your lessons to meet the needs of special education
students
3.15
2.86
0.96
1.03
3.21
3.08
3.68
2.88
0.94
0.99
1.00
1.02
Self-efficacy of Diversity and Use of Assessment
Respecting different cultural backgrounds from your own
Using effective classroom assessment strategies
Using formalized assessment (i.e., CMT, CAPT) results
Developing a strong rapport with parents of your students
3.40
4.07
3.38
2.57
3.59
.77
.93
.95
.98
1.05
Self-efficacy of Use of Technology
Integrating educational technology throughout your courses and
clinical experiences
Using different types of educational technology
Using computers effectively in your classroom
Integrating educational technology into your lessons
Helping your students better learn to use technology
3.35
3.10
.94
1.02
3.30
3.72
3.22
3.44
1.07
1.12
1.03
1.06
Future Teaching Plans
Students were asked to describe their future teaching plans. The majority of the
students reported that they planned to teach in a suburban school (63%) with a diverse
student population (72%), middle Social Economic Status (SES) (88%) and primarily
middle-achieving students (77.8%) for the majority of their career.
Regarding how many years the students thought they would teach during their
career, the range they reported that they expected to be teaching was 48 years, from 7 to
55 years. The average teaching years were 28.98 with a standard deviation of 8.12 years.
Students were also asked to indicate pupil level (early childhood, elementary
school or secondary school) that they planned to teach in their career and they could have
more than one choice. The result of the cross-tabulation of those who chose early
childhood and elementary school indicated that of these 143 respondents, 45 candidates
(31.5%) planned to teach elementary school students only, 21 candidates (14.7%)
planned to teach early childhood students only, and 23 candidates (16.1%) planned to
teach both early childhood and elementary school students.
The result of the cross-tabulation of those who chose early childhood and
secondary school indicated that of these 143 respondents, 65 candidates (45.5%) planned
to teach secondary school students only, 39 candidates (27.3%) planned to teach early
childhood students only, and 5 candidates (3.5%) planned to teach both early childhood
and secondary school students.
The result of the cross-tabulation of those who chose elementary school and
secondary school indicated that of these 143 respondents, 51 candidates (35.7%) planned
to teach secondary school students only, 49 candidates (34.3%) planned to teach early
childhood students only, and 19 candidates (13.3%) planned to teach both early
childhood and secondary school students.
For secondary education candidates, they were asked to indicate the subject area
specialty that they planned to teach. Of these 77 respondents, 12 of them (15.6%)
reported that they planned to teach English, 16 of them (20.8%) planned to teach
history/social studies, 7 of them (9.1%) planned to teach mathematics, 4 of them (5.2%)
planned to teach reading/language arts, 2 of them (2.6%) planned to teach science, and 36
of them (46.8%) of them planned to teacher the other subject, which is physical education.
Table 2
Subject Areas for Secondary Education Candidates (n = 143)
Frequency
Valid
English
History/Social
Studies
Mathematics
Reading/Lang
uage Arts
Science
Other
Total
Missing System
Total
Percent
12
16
8.4
11.2
Valid
Percent
15.6
20.8
Cumulative
Percent
15.6
36.4
7
4
4.9
2.8
9.1
5.2
45.5
50.6
2
36
77
66
143
1.4
25.2
53.8
46.2
100.0
2.6
46.8
100.0
53.2
100.0
Areas of Proposed Improvement
This assessment collected very useful data for NACTE re-accreditation and
provided evidence to enhance teacher education programs at ECSU. Secondly, this
assessment developed and validated an entry survey instrument which will be used
annually in the future to collect data for NCATE accreditation. Thirdly, the survey
instrument (Entry Survey) used for the assessment strengthened the current Education
unit assessment system because it was the first time for the Education Unit to collect data
regarding teacher candidates’ expectations, goals, and perceptions of their teacher
preparation programs. Furthermore, to follow the requirements of NCATE assessment
system, data collected using Entry Survey served as the starting point assessment of
teacher education program. The findings from this proposed assessment will be presented
at the Annual CSU Assessment Conference in 2009.
References
Eastern Connecticut State University Education Unit (2003). Conceptual framework.
Retrieved 04/25/2008 from
http://www.easternct.edu/personal/faculty/koiralah/ECSU%20Education%20Unit
%20Conceptual%20Framework.htm
Liu X., & Gehlbach, H. (2006). Technical Report: Scales of the TNE Common Entry and
Exit Survey. Teachers for a New Era (TNE), University of Connecticut.
National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) (2007). NCATE unit
standards. Retrieved 04/25/2008 from
http://www.ncate.org/public/unitStandardsRubrics.asp?ch=4
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Who they are and what are their expectations

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