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UW Education Programs Receive ‘National Recognition’ Designation

March 6, 2017
children wearing special glasses in a room with large 3d spheres in it
UW Lab School students participate in a science lesson at the Shell 3-D Visualization Center. Alan Buss, UW associate professor of elementary and early childhood education, designed the lesson. UW’s secondary science education program is among seven College of Education programs that recently received the “National Recognition” designation. (UW Photo)

Seven University of Wyoming College of Education academic programs received the highest possible rating during comprehensive national program reviews conducted as part of the college’s 2016 reaccreditation process.

The programs that received the “National Recognition” designation from their respective Specialized Professional Associations (SPAs) reviews are: early childhood education minor/endorsement program; educational leadership, master’s degree program; educational leadership, doctoral degree program; English as a second language certificate program; secondary mathematics education; secondary modern languages education; and secondary science education.

Each program submitted a comprehensive report, written by faculty and administrators, describing and documenting student accomplishments related to program-specific curriculum standards. 

These programs join others in the College of Education that have previously received the “National Recognition” designation from SPAs or program approval through review performed by the Wyoming Professional Teaching Standards Board (PTSB), including the undergraduate English education program and the Master of Arts in special education degree program.

“The process of program review by the relevant SPAs is a rigorous one for our programs that lead to licensure by the Wyoming Professional Teaching Standards Board,” says Leslie Rush, associate dean of undergraduate programs in the UW College of Education. “Our faculty members have aligned their curricula with content-specific standards, collected data to support our understanding of candidate learning, and systematically used those data to constantly improve our programs. We’re excited that the hard work of the faculty has resulted in positive outcomes, both for our programs and for our students.”

Each SPA body defines review criteria based on standards set by its respective governing organization (for example, the National Council of Teachers of English and the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics). The Wyoming PTSB examines programs without a relevant SPA body.

While different SPAs require different specific elements, they generally have three basic components: a description providing context for the programs and their graduates (such as program aims, state culture/needs and hiring environments for graduates); six to eight specific assessments documenting standards-based student achievement; and a description of how the program uses assessment data to improve student performance and program quality.

Assessment evidence required in the reviews generally falls into four categories: content, planning, teaching and impact on student learning. Examples of the types of assessment that programs may be required to provide include: results of the PRAXIS II (content knowledge) test; GPA data in required courses, aligned to standards; assessment data from a course assignment; student teaching rubric; and edTPA (Teacher Performance Assessment) data.

Results from the latest program reviews were used as evidence of meeting applicable standards during the college’s reaccreditation through the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE).

The College of Education received accreditation for the next seven years based on NCATE standards.

Starting last fall, the college began revising its assessments to meet the new standards set by the Council for Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP), which succeeded NCATE as the official accrediting body for educator preparation providers, Rush says.

The College of Education’s next accreditation visit -- using the CAEP standards -- is scheduled for spring 2023.


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Chad Baldwin

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