Endicott’s School of Education is engaging in the national conversation around teacher education and has been recognized for its efforts to use data for continuous improvement.
“I’m proud that for a college with such history of growth, and a relatively small program, we really are part of the national conversation and that’s unique,” says Sara Quay, dean of education and director of the Endicott Scholars Honors Program.
In 2012, the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) published a report challenging state leaders to raise expectations for teacher preparation. With increasing demands being placed on P-12 students, the report hoped to spark change for teacher preparation nation-wide. And it did.
CCSSO’s Network for Transforming Educator Preparation (NTEP), a multi-year, multi-state collaboration that works to ensure all new teachers be “learner-ready” from their very first day in the classroom, highlighted Massachusetts and Endicott College in their playbook, Transforming Educator Preparation: Lessons Learned from Leading States. The playbook highlights The School of Education saying that, “With support from the state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, Endicott College took steps to increase its use of data to drive program improvement and meet the needs of future educators. With this pivot, faculty could set targeted goals, such as improving elementary candidates’ preparedness to teach math, and measure impact on students in the classroom.”
This shift towards data started when Endicott’s School of Education faculty participated in a Harvard Graduate School of Education program called Data Wise. The program helped them understand how to use data for continuous improvement both in their own classrooms at Endicott and in their students’ classrooms in the field.
Quay explains that this process of using data to strengthen Endicott’s teacher preparation programs is a continuous process that she and her team must keep working at every year. She says her goal is, “to continue to use that cycle of continuous improvement every year, every month…so that we’re constantly integrating feedback and reflecting on it to make appropriate adjustments to our program.”
Education is becoming increasingly more data driven as public-school systems across the country use data more and more as a tool to improve instruction and student outcomes. This means the need for teacher candidates to be data literate is at a high. While Endicott faculty learn best practices for their own classrooms, they’re also training their students to develop that same skillset. Quay explains, “In the process of becoming more data literate ourselves, we’re also able to better train our new teachers to use data. It’s another piece, in educator preparation, you can’t be removed from what’s happening in the schools.”
She stresses that teachers in higher education must be connected and that means, she says, “continually revisiting our own skills and making sure that we are informed and trained and experienced in what’s happening out in the schools.”
Through following the Data Wise process, Quay says, “We’ve embraced an openness to feedback, reflection, and adjusting our own practices and that has better prepared our students to do that same work when they are out in the field.”