As the Cal Poly School of Education engaged in a critical phase in our accreditation cycle over the last two years, our Director has grown fond of repeating “We should receive accreditation not for what we submit, but for how we go about our work day in and day out.” That is to say, in the School of Education, we possess a collective commitment to quality in our work and an unceasing pursuit of continuous improvement. It is this fierce commitment to quality that has made an impact on the educators that we prepare and the community that we serve, and which ultimately makes us worthy of further accreditation.
As with any professional program, the best evidence of our impact is the readiness of our completers to enter the field. Data from Completer, 1-Year Out, Alumni and Employer surveys, as well as the scores earned by our candidates on Educator Performance Assessments (edTPA, CalAPA), demonstrates that Cal Poly trained teachers and administrators are exemplary California educators. Anecdotally, our alumni are recognized for great teaching practice and service to their local communities, further evidence of their impact on the profession and, correspondingly, indicators of Cal Poly’s impact in preparing effective and conscientious educators.
EdQ Survey of Cal Poly SOE Completers in 2016-17 and 2017-18 (above)
Beyond the work within our classrooms and programs, Cal Poly has further impact on improving teacher preparation through research, partnerships, and trainings. Through our Bechtel and Teacher Quality Partnership (TQP) grants, Cal Poly has been a leader in developing more effective models of educator preparation and clinical experiences. This fall, we received validation of our impact and efforts when we learned that the US Department of Education awarded an additional $4 million to Professors Megan Guise, Tanya Flushman, and Briana Ronan for their "Partnerships and Pathways" TQP proposal. The research and activities supported by this grant effort touch each aspect of educator preparation at Cal Poly, including recruitment, coursework and curriculum, clinical experience, and new teacher support. All SOE programs will be partners in this work, as we collaborate across disciplines and fields of study to develop more inclusive and effective educator preparation programs.
The field of education has a long-standing commitment to evidence-based practice through stringent assessment and continuous improvement, and the Cal Poly School of Education is no different. We are doubling down on this commitment by embedding principles of practice from the emerging field of Improvement Science into our regular efforts. Our Assessment and Accreditation Analyst has significant experience in this approach, as do several of our faculty currently participating in an improvement science research fellowship through Bechtel. Guided by our Comprehensive Assessment Plan and unitwide Community of Practice, the SOE regularly studies its practices to systematically learn from student achievement data and stakeholder feedback. Our commitment to continuous improvement and our relentless pursuit to deliver top-quality educator preparation programs is the core of our collective efforts, and ultimately leads us to make a meaningfully impact on our educator preparation candidates and the fields of education and teacher preparation at large.