Summary of the Case University of Virginia Reading Education Progra m1 October 27-30, 2014 Authorship and approval of the Inquiry Brief

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1 Summary of the Case University of Virginia Reading Education Program 1 October 27-30, 2014 The Summary of the Case is written by the auditors and approved by program faculty on October 28, The Summary reflects the auditors understanding of the case the faculty are making for accreditation. Authorship and approval of the Inquiry Brief: The Inquiry Brief was written by Dr. Mary Abouzeid and was approved by the Reading Education faculty on May 24, Introduction: The University of Virginia, located in Charlottesville, Virginia, is a comprehensive state university founded by Thomas Jefferson in Dedicated to Jefferson s vision of education to develop citizen leadership, the university has a Carnegie classification as a doctorate granting institution with a strong emphasis on research. Located in Charlottesville, Virginia, a metropolitan community of over 206,000 at the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, the University of Virginia on campus enrollment in included 14,898 undergraduate and 6,340 graduate students in masters and doctoral programs. Administratively, the university is organized into 11 schools or colleges, including the Curry School of Education. In 2014, the University of Virginia was ranked 2 nd Best Public University and the Curry School was ranked 22 nd among graduate schools of education by US News and World Report. It is the only higher education institution to be designated a World Heritage Site (UNESCO). The Reading Education Program (REP) is located in the Curry School of Education, within the Department of Curriculum, Instruction, and Special Education. The goal of the Reading Education Program (REP) is to prepare capable, committed, and caring educational leaders, reading specialists who will be effective in their positions. The REP traces its roots to 1937 with the establishment of a reading clinic that became the McGuffey Reading Center, the longest continually operating university reading clinic in the US. Since its inception, the mission and key features of the program have been shaped by its relationship to the McGuffey Reading Center: 1) a foundation in clinical practice and participation in multiple clinical experiences for all students in the program, 2) concern for current, research based practices and a faculty involved in both scholarship and in clinical service, and 3) dedication to service to improving both teacher knowledge and ability and K-12 student achievement in literacy. The REP faculty consisted of ten members in , of whom five were full professors, four assistant professors, and one lecturer. Six of the 10 were in nontenure track positions; all of those held administrative positions on-campus or at offcampus sites. The program graduated 35 students in Ninety-nine students are enrolled on-campus and at five off-campus programs leading to Virginia s Reading Specialist K12 endorsement in Table 1 displays data on REP students in its

2 three program options, a master s in Reading Education, an Educational Specialist program, and a post-baccalaureate program leading to the endorsement: Table 1 University of Virginia Curry School of Education Reading Education Program Options Option Name Level Number of completers in Number of students enrolled in M.Ed. in Reading Education Graduate Ed.S. in Reading Education Graduate 7 10 Reading Specialist Certificate Post-Baccalaureate 1 31 Program claims: Faculty presented their four claims in the form of inquiry questions: Claim 1. Claim 2. Claim 3. Claim 4. Does the Reading Education Program (REP) prepare graduates with substantial subject matter knowledge in the five key components of effective reading instruction? (QP1.1) Does the REP prepare graduates with subject matter knowledge, pedagogical knowledge, and caring teaching skills (i.e., the technical competencies and insights) needed to assess children s instructional needs in reading and to plan appropriate instruction leading to appropriate levels of achievement for all pupils? (QP1.1) (QP1.2) (QP1.3) (QP1.4) Does the REP prepare graduates with the subject matter and pedagogical knowledge to evaluate all aspects of a school s reading program and to recommend measures to improve the program in terms of student achievement and teacher performance? (QP1.1) (QP 1.2) (QP1.4) Does the REP prepare graduates for successful performance on REP s comprehensive exam or the Reading in Virginia Exam (RVE) required for state licensure as a Reading Specialist? (QP1) Evidence supporting the claims: Grade Point Averages (Claims 1-3) The faculty used cumulative GPAs and the GPAs in three key courses as measures of participants subject matter and pedagogical knowledge, as well as measures of caring teaching and leadership as literacy educators. GPAs in three courses (EDIS 5740, EDIS 7740, and EDIS 7751) were reported as mean GPAs and standard deviations of all graduates and were disaggregated for on-campus and off-campus students. Mean GPA ranged from (A = 4), with standard deviations ranging from No statistically significant difference was found between grades for oncampus and off-campus students across the courses. To evaluate the validity of GPA as a measure, the GPAs of 59 completers who took the Praxis II Virginia Reading Exam (RVE) required for licensure were correlated with their RVE scores. Results

3 demonstrated a statistically significant correlation of RVE scores with overall GPA (p<.01). Licensure Exam Scores (Claims 1-4) Beginning in 2012, candidates for the Reading Specialist endorsement in Virginia must complete the Praxis II Reading in Virginia Exam (RVE), and the program began requiring the RVE as an exit requirement in Outcomes from the previous Virginia exam (the Virginia Reading Assessment or VRA) also were reported for students completing from The program utilizes these scores as measures of subject matter and pedagogical knowledge. RVE scores were reported as the mean and median scaled score for 59 takers, all of whom passed the exam, and were compared to the median scaled score and pass rate of 719 examinees state wide. With a scaled score of 162/200 required to pass the exam, the median score for REP graduates was 193, as opposed to the educators in the statewide sample who scored 180; 81% of the statewide sample passed. One hundred percent of REP graduates taking the VRA also passed. To evaluate validity of this measure, faculty correlated graduates RVE scores with their cumulative GPAs in the REP as well as the GPAs earned in two courses (EDIS 5740, EDIS 7751). Results demonstrated a significant correlation of RVE scores with overall GPA (p<.01) and with the GPA in EDIS 7751 (p<.01). Comprehensive Exam Ratings (Claims 1-4) Candidates for the master s degree prior to 2012 were required to complete a comprehensive examination, and the program utilized these scores as a measure of subject matter knowledge, pedagogical knowledge, caring teaching, and leadership as a literacy educator (Claims 1-4). The exam consisted of four questions, with dimensions of each question rated independently on a scale of 1-3 (low, middle, high) by two different faculty. Scores reflecting overall middle performance across items scored for each question were required to pass the exam. Faculty reported that 100% of graduates passed the exam, all but two on the first attempt. Alumni Survey Ratings (Claims 1, 2, cross cutting themes) Data from two alumni surveys in 2014 were included as measures of subject matter and pedagogical knowledge, caring teaching, and cross cutting themes. Results of a survey of graduates were summarized as the percent of respondents rating each of 19 different items on a scale of 1-6 (1 = strongly disagree and 6 = strongly agree). Among the 123 responding, 99.1% rated all items as agree to strongly agree. The two areas with lower ratings were related to technology applications and diversity. A qualitative analysis of open-ended responses yielded themes related to program content (need for more attention to older students, writing instruction, technology, and coaching/school leadership) and program excellence (faculty excellence, significance of clinicals, preparation as leaders).

4 Course Evaluations (Claims 1, 2, cross cutting themes) Data from end-of-course evaluations for two courses (EDIS 5740 and EDIS 7751) were reported for five areas related to quality of instruction, satisfaction, and learning. Student mean scores were disaggregated by semester and by course location, with an overall mean and standard deviation reported for each area. On a scale of 1-5, mean ratings/standard deviations ranged from 4.30/0.47 ( learned a great deal ) to 4.45/0.49 ( worthwhile course ). Faculty Ratings Using Competency Rubrics (Claims 2,3) Faculty developed rubrics for eight core reading courses, aligning course content with state competencies by developing program claims representing the state competency requirements. In a pilot study in summer and fall 2013, instructors rated each student on a scale of 1-4 (novice, emerging, developing, or proficient) for each claim on the rubrics at the end of each course. Data were presented as overall means and standard deviations for each claim on the rubrics and means and standard deviations disaggregated by course. All mean ratings for sampled students were greater than 3.00, on a scale in which 3 = developing. Internal audit: REP faculty performed an audit of their Quality Control System by reviewing records for all students who graduated with a master s in education or education specialist degree from Fall 2009 to Summer In completing the audit, faculty traced the following for each student: admission information (admission criteria), progression through the program (transcript review of cumulative GPA and GPA in capstone and clinicals), and program completion information (RVE/VRA scores).in completing the student audit, faculty found that some data (admission criteria and program completion data) were not available for all students and made suggestions for improvements. Faculty also probed capacity components of the program, including curriculum, faculty, facilities, fiscal and administrative support, student support services, recruiting and admissions, and student feedback. For all of these targets, the faculty found the quality control system to be working as designed. Plans for program improvement: Based on their self-study, the faculty has formulated a number of areas for improvement, some of which they have already begun to implement: 1. Improving the assessment of teaching skill. The program has developed rubrics administered in clinical courses to address teaching skills. These individual student ratings will be added to students advising records to allow the program to disaggregate teaching skill from pedagogical and subject matter knowledge. An additional assessment/exam will be added to two practicum courses, and the faculty is considering adoption of a measure that will focus on direct observation of student- 11

5 2. Refinement of course competency rubrics. The program is in the process of identifying a subgroup to refine the current rubrics and align domains in the rubrics with course assignments and then the assignment rubrics with state competencies. With the refinement of these rubrics, the faculty will evaluate inter rater reliability utilizing student work. 3. Improvements to institutional learning. The program is strengthening ongoing monitoring of student data across the program by improving electronic data storage/monitoring and instituting yearly review of data, leading to continuous program evaluation. 4. Strengthening program content. Based on findings from alumni surveys as their starting point, faculty will begin discussions in the current academic year regarding perceived program weaknesses expressed by some graduates (technology application, diversity concerns, writing instruction, and coaching). Statement regarding commitment and capacity: The faculty concluded that the University of Virginia is committed to the Reading Education Program and that there is sufficient capacity to offer a quality program. 1 The Reading Education Program of the University of Virginia, Curry School of Education, offers options at the graduate level leading to the reading specialist K12 endorsement. The Commonwealth of Virginia, at its discretion, offers licensure to program completers in this area. Acceptance of the Summary of the Case The faculty accepted the Summary of the Case as accurate on October 28, 2014.

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