Kansas EPPs Pilot Statewide Tool for Student Teaching Assessment

The Kansas Association of Colleges for Teacher Education received a 2017-2018 AACTE State Chapter Support Grant for work on a statewide observation/assessment instrument for use with student teachers. The author is the chapter’s lead contact on the grant. Other AACTE chapters have also recently pursued collaborative work around assessment instruments, including those in Ohio and North Dakota.

In collaboration with the Kansas State Department of Education and Marzano Research/REL Central, members of the Kansas Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (KACTE) are piloting and testing the reliability and validity of a student teacher observation/assessment instrument they developed for statewide use.

The instrument’s creation was spurred by a convergence of factors including the state’s revised, InTASC-based professional education standards and new expectations from the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP). The new emphasis on reliability and validity of assessments affected all of the state’s educator preparation providers (EPPs), since Kansas is a CAEP partnership state.

In spring 2016, the state’s private EPPs started exploring the possibility of a common assessment tool due to limited resources we each had for determining reliability and validity of our own instruments. We felt sharing the burden of this testing would be mutually beneficial.

After one group developed a meticulous “crosswalk” of the old and new state/InTASC standards, another group created a rubric with target-level descriptors for each standard using sources from the EPPs, Charlotte Danielson’s work, and lessons from CAEP trainings. By February 2017, a draft of the tool was ready, and we disseminated it at a statewide unit head meeting both for wider review and to solicit greater participation.

We invited all 23 EPPs in Kansas to review and join in the work; 17 of them (75%) came to an informational meeting hosted by Emporia State University in April 2017. At this meeting, interested participants began wordsmithing various standards and identifying sources of evidence that could be consulted when completing the evaluation. By June 2017, this work was complete, and we sent the revised instrument to all partnering institutions for final feedback.

KACTE successfully applied for an AACTE State Chapter Support Grant to help fund the reliability and validity testing of the newly developed tool. We also partnered with the Kansas State Department of Education to contract with Marzano Research and REL Central in completing the studies, which secured critical services at no cost to us—thus freeing up the AACTE funds for additional work on the project. We currently are working on plans for a series of online training modules with videos to assist with developing interrater reliability.

Meanwhile during the 2017-18 academic year, eight institutions participated in a pilot with the instrument and held meetings with REL Central. The contractors also provided a statewide webinar to review principles of reliability and validity. The pilot institutions have now sent their initial data to Marzano/REL Central for review.

We look forward to being able to report the results and share this exciting new tool more broadly.

Shane Kirchner is professor of education at McPherson College and president-elect of the Kansas Association of Colleges for Teacher Education.

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Shane Kirchner

Professor, McPherson College