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AACTE Workshop Brings Quality Support to Texas

Last week, AACTE’s inaugural Quality Support Workshop drew dozens of faculty, administrators, assessment and accreditation coordinators, and other educators to Fort Worth, Texas, April 24-26 for interactive sessions and hands-on collaboration.

The event – the first in AACTE’s new series of regional workshops – opened Monday afternoon with a facilitated discussion of the topic “Quality Assurance in Education: What Should a Profession Expect?” AACTE’s Mark LaCelle-Peterson and Linda McKee led participants in considering what evidence they need to evaluate their students and programs, how they obtain this evidence, and how different measures combine to build a framework for quality assurance as well as continuous improvement.

Following the general session, attendees selected from three concurrent sessions in a 90-minute workshop block. During this time and the three additional blocks over the next 2 days, many presenters offered a sequence of workshops that participants could either follow as a continuous strand or attend selectively mixed with other sessions.

In one strand, facilitators from the Stanford Center for Assessment, Learning, and Equity (SCALE) partnered with experts from Pearson, Kennesaw State University (GA), and East Carolina University (NC) to lead four sessions about using and analyzing edTPA data for various purposes. During the first block, for example, participants analyzed how edTPA constructs measure candidates’ performance related to equitable teaching practices, looking at national performance data and connecting rubric levels to their own programs’ clinical experiences and course work.

Another strand of sessions, led by Educational Testing Service (ETS) facilitators and partners from the University of Michigan and Oakland University (MI), introduced selected “high-leverage” teaching practices and guided participants in using a curriculum-mapping tool to determine when and how students learn these practices in their programs. ETS also partnered with faculty from Stephen F. Austin State University (TX) to lead two sessions on research-based strategies to diversity teacher candidate cohorts.

With accreditation on many institutions’ agendas, a set of workshops on preparing for site visits and presenting evidence to meet standards was a popular choice, presented by Patricia Hoffman-Miller of Prairie View A&M University (TX) along with AACTE’s LaCelle-Peterson. And many registrants opted for the series facilitated by Carol Ryan of Northern Kentucky University and Nate Thomas of AccreditED, LLC, which afforded participants the chance to design a quality assurance system from the ground up, from choosing assessments to plans for involving stakeholders and measuring program impact.

“I wish I had been to this session six months ago when I took on this role!” wrote one participant in her evaluation, noting that the quality assurance strand was most valuable to her – a judgment shared by many other attendees.

“This was a fabulous workshop!” wrote another participant. “The examples were so helpful and the size of the workshop was ideal. It gave us a true opportunity to meet people and to work together to learn from one another.”

Between the workshop blocks, registrants had dedicated time and space to debrief with their teams or participate in facilitated roundtable discussions around local issues. Group breakfasts and evening receptions provided unstructured time for participants to share further, connecting with their teams and interacting with new colleagues and facilitators.

In the closing session, Anne Marie Fenton of the Georgia Professional Standards Commission was joined by National Board Certified Teachers Doretha Allen and Tiffanye Oliver to lead a discussion on leveraging teacher leaders to support other teachers’ development. Participants shared their own work and learned about the presenters’ experiences in tapping teacher leaders for recruitment, preservice preparation, induction, and retention initiatives.

One participant wrote in his evaluation that he left with fresh ideas about how to improve his program. “A conference can be judged a success by three measures: (a) It offers specific answers or ideas for important questions or matters, (b) it points attendees in the right direction for those answers, and/or (c) it helps attendees create better questions to tackle issues at their institutions. I felt this conference did all three, and did all three well.”

The next AACTE Quality Support Workshop will be held August 10-12 in Minneapolis, Minnesota, featuring the same topics and presenters as the Texas workshop plus a few additional sessions. The early-bird registration deadline is May 28, so act soon to secure your spot at the best rates. Team discounts are available as well!

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