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Innovation at Lesley University: Assessment System to Support Continuous Improvement

The Innovations Inventory of AACTE’s Innovation Exchange is an online database highlighting members’ pioneering practices in educator preparation that have shown a positive impact on issues of student learning, preparation program advancement, or educator workforce needs. This blog post is one in a series highlighting entries from the inventory. To request inclusion of your institution’s innovations, contact Kristin McCabe at kmccabe@aacte.org.

Faculty in the Graduate School of Education at Lesley University (MA) have built a comprehensive e-portfolio and assessment system to provide data on candidate performance and support continuous improvement processes. The assessment system aligns key formative assignments in initial, professional license, and advanced professional development programs to standards-based program outcomes. Candidates submit all assignments to an e-portfolio system, where faculty score them based on valid and reliable rubrics. The assessment system also contains data on candidate performance on state exams and summative performances from clinical experiences.

This assessment system provides a number of benefits. It provides faculty the kinds of data that drive program improvement, allowing them to move from being accountable for their course outcome to being accountable for the program outcomes. Recent statistical analysis done as a part of Lesley University’s Teacher Education Accreditation Council accreditation review demonstrated that student grades were valid indicators of what candidates knew—propositional knowledge—and that the scores on key assignments were valid indicators of what candidates could do with that information—clinical knowledge. Grades were not predictive of performance on a practicum, but key assignments were.

Lesley University candidates have been in demand by districts all across Massachusetts. Data collected as a part of this new assessment system and e-portfolio confirm anecdotal data of candidate strengths and give programs the data necessary to support continuous program improvement. Currently, Lesley University is developing systems to track and collect data on alumni and their PK-12 students to better understand the impact of their programs.

To learn more about Lesley University or other institutions participating in the Innovations Inventory, visit http://theinnovationexchange.net/programs/innovations-inventory/.

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Saroja Barnes

Senior Director for Professional Issues, AACTE