Student Learning Outcomes for All Concentrations

Graduates will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate mastery of content and pedagogical expertise in the content they teach.
    1. The elementary teacher is an expert in literacy and mathematics and is knowledgeable in all other content that he or she teaches.
    2. The secondary teacher has knowledge of literacy and mathematics and is an expert in his or her content endorsement area(s).
  2. Establish a safe, inclusive, and respectful learning environment for a diverse population of students.
  3. Plan and deliver effective instruction and create an environment that facilitates learning for their students.
  4. Demonstrate high standards for professional conduct.
  5. Partner, collaborate & engage with families and communities to develop relationships, build networks of support for student success, and leverage family & community-based knowledge to make instruction and assessment relevant to the lives of students.
  6. Actively advocate for students, families, & schools to support equity & social justice.
  7. Engaging professional learning for continuous improvement.
  8. Accessing and using research to improve practice and student learning.

Descriptions of Key Assessments of Student Learning

PRAXIS Subject Area Content Exam

This assessment is mandated by Colorado statute that all teacher candidates must successfully pass an examination of content knowledge appropriate to the specific licensure area the teacher candidate is pursuing. The exam is produced by Educational Testing Services and candidates register through ETS to take the exam. All candidates in the CU Denver Teacher Education program must pass the exam prior to their final semester of the program where they complete their final internship. (Outcome 1)

Teaching/Learning Inquiry Cycle (TLIC) Internship Assessment

The daily work of a teacher can be framed through a Teaching/Learning Inquiry Cycle (TLIC) that includes four phases: 1) Planning to Teach; 2) Teach; 3) Monitor & Adjust; and 4) Reflect & Develop Next Steps. This cycle is driven by what teachers know about their students through formal and informal assessments; a deep understanding of content, curriculum development processes, and responsive pedagogical practices; and the ability to engage in ongoing formative assessment to collect and analyze information relevant to student learning and ultimately adjust their teaching to meet the needs of students. Thus, this same cycle is used to frame assessment in the professional residency year internships. In each phase of the cycle, proficiency indicators describe the effective practices of each phase as well as how teacher candidates gradually come to understand and implement each practice across all internships moving across 4 levels: awareness, emerging, basic, to proficient practice. A fifth level, advanced practice, is reserved to indicate a TC performing beyond the expectations of an initially licensed teacher. The 5 levels of performance are further defined for candidates and faculty assessors. (Outcomes 1, 2, 3, 4, 5)

Quality Responsive Classroom (QRC) Observation Protocol

The QRC is an observational tool initially developed in collaboration with Denver Public Schools and several other teacher preparation programs across the Denver Metro area to guide observation and feedback for teachers of the “on-stage” performance and act of teaching a lesson. The tool was designed to draw explicit attention to the practices that are highly correlated with student growth and achievement of culturally and linguistically diverse students who more frequently populate diverse classrooms. The QRC helps us capture data about the “Teach” phase of the Teaching/Learning Inquiry Cycle to understand how candidates implement complex instructional practices of highly effective teachers. The tool has 3 foci to observe: 1) student engagement in learning; 2) teacher actions and behavior; 3) overall classroom learning community. Within each focus area, there are several broad domains and accompanying indicators of classroom practice that are differentiated in quality by anchor statements on a 1-3-5 rubric scale. Data Collection Method: The QRC is used primarily as a formative learning tool to better understand the nuanced on-stage practices of effective teachers during residency internship 1 & 2 and then it is used to formally observe teacher candidate practice 3 times across Internship 3: once within the first 4-8 weeks of the internship, once for a lesson designed for their Capstone Assessment, and once during a the 2-3 week time period towards the end of the internship when the candidate has lead responsibility for all teaching in the classroom. By the final observation point, we would expect candidates to be performing at a level 3 or higher on the majority of indicators. We recognize there are oftentimes constraints that do not enable the candidate to demonstrate that level of performance in their internship classroom due to scripted curriculums or more traditional instructional and classroom community routines established by their clinical teacher. (Outcomes 1, 2, 3, 4, 5)

Content Area Capstone Assessment

The Capstone Content Assessment is an authentic performance assessment completed by students in the final semester of their program while they are simultaneously enrolled in the capstone course and their final residency internship. The Capstone is divided into 4 tasks. Task 1 measures a candidate’s ability to design a larger unit of instruction utilizing concepts of backwards design and a progression of learning objectives toward larger relevant goals and aligned to standards. Task 2 measures a candidate’s ability to plan a 3-5 lesson sequence of instruction as well as formative and summative assessments, (they may be part of the embedded context of the unit designed in Task 1 or more closely connected to curriculum they are teaching in their internship classroom). The candidate must carefully plan the instruction based on knowledge of the standards, curriculum, and individual student needs as well as the overall context of the classroom where they are interning. Task 3 measures the candidate’s ability to teach the sequence of lessons as well as reflect daily and adjust instruction accordingly for the next day. Task 4 measures the candidate’s ability to analyze student learning data from the formative and summative assessments, drawing inferences between the effectiveness of their teaching to improve student learning as well as what next steps the candidate would take in further designing instruction for the students. Each task has a well-developed rubric with detailed descriptions for each rubric element across 4 levels. (Outcomes 1, 2, 3, 4, 5)

Professional Dispositions & Behaviors Assessment

Explicit development of professionalism including underlying dispositions and professional behaviors are an essential aspect of teacher education. The program has developed a set of 21 dispositional/behavior indicators across 6 constructs that clearly articulate expectations for professionalism in the context of the field of teaching. There are 4 levels of teacher candidate (TC) performance identified on the Professional Dispositions & Behaviors Assessment. Data Collection Method: Two weeks prior to the completion of an internship, a teacher candidate completes a self-evaluation based on where they see their practice in relation to the indicators based on their engagement in every aspect of the program, both at the internship and in courses at the university. Then the university site professor, in collaboration with the school-based site coordinator and the teacher candidate’s clinical teacher, validate the self-evaluation, making adjustments to the self-evaluation based on their expert observation of teacher candidate performance. (Outcomes 2 ,4, 6)