Sterling College Teacher Education Program Works with and for the Kansas State Department of Education
For more than two years now Sterling College Associate Professor of Education Terri Gaeddert has served the Kansas State Department of Education (KSDE) on a project that benefits every teacher education program in the state of Kansas. "Terri (Gaeddert) has been a part of the journey (to create the Kansas Performance Teaching Portfolio [KPTP]) from beginning to end," said KSDE Director of Teacher Education and Licensure Pamela Coleman. "This has been very important for Sterling College students because the KPTP benefits both students and programs. Terri is always working to make things better." Gaeddert is not the only member of the Sterling Teacher Education Program (STEP) to get involved in the project. The entire STEP team, including teacher candidates and other faculty members, has been involved in getting the KPTP ready.
The KPTP is an evaluation tool that is used to assess teacher candidates' preparation in planning lessons, activities and assessments to meet the needs of all students. It provides teacher candidates with specific feedback on their progress from professors and area educators and helps prepare them for the Praxis I and II tests which are KSDE requirements for licensure. The KPTP was designed by a team of educators from various colleges and universities across the state. "Terri Gaeddert was an instrumental member of the team designing the document," said STEP Director Dr. Gladys Ritterhouse. As a result of Gaeddert's work, 2008-2009 STEP seniors participated in the pilot program for the KPTP, and this past academic year STEP seniors completed the KPTP under a no-fault plan. The students did well on the assessment, and, more importantly for the KSDE, their results helped to establish cut scores for the evaluation tool.
As a member of the original designing team, Gaeddert was also trained to evaluate the KPTP. This past academic year she scored KPTPs from both SC and other Kansas colleges, and she served as a consultant this summer for the Educational Testing Service (ETS), the national company that developed the Praxis tests, the SAT, and other national-level tests. This fall all other professors in the teacher education program will receive training in scoring the KPTP. Additionally, Gaeddert, Associate Professor of Education Spencer Wagley and Dr. Ritterhouse have been trained by the KSDE to evaluate education programs. After receiving the training the professors regularly serve on visiting evaluation teams for other colleges and universities. "Time spent doing evaluation is intensive," said Gaeddert, "but it helps us to stay aware of what other colleges are doing (to meet the required KSDE and NCATE standards). At the same time we are helping them, we are educating ourselves."
In turn SC professors educate prospective teachers-both on campus at SC and across the country through STEP Online. "We do all we can to make sure each STEP graduate is prepared to be a highly effective servant-leader educator in his/her classroom," said STEP Director Dr. Ritterhouse. "And through STEP Online, we can reach even more potential teachers." To date, seven teacher candidates have completed degrees through STEP Online, and 42 are currently enrolled.
For more information about STEP or STEP Online, visit www.sterling.edu/academics/academic-departments/education or http://e.sterling.edu/esterling/.