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Teacher preparation without boundaries: a two-year study of an online teacher certification program.

The Online Post Baccalaureate Program is described along with indicators of how well the program met the goals of its developers during two years of implementation. Faculty aimed to develop a program that would satisfy students, offer a more accessible path into teaching for post baccalaureate candidates and compare favorably in quality to its nationally accredited baccalaureate program for secondary teacher candidates. Research indicates success of the online program in (a) effecting statistically significant increases in the number of diverse candidates entering teaching, including career changer and minority candidates; (b) significantly increasing the number of candidates prepared by University of North Texas (UNT) in the critical shortage areas of science and mathematics; (c) achieving candidate performance at least equal to that of traditional program candidates on teacher quality indicators including GRE, state certification tests, and portfolio ratings; and (d) assuring candidate satisfaction with the online program.

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The 2000 Census confirmed that American schools are serving an increasingly diverse population of students. According to the National Center for Educational Statistics (2003) student enrollments are projected to rise in the western and southern US through 2013. Simultaneously, looming teacher shortages in many urban and rural schools will increase the demand for teachers with a sophisticated skill set necessary to create an environment where all students can learn irrespective of gender, ethnicity, disability, or English language acquisition. Attempts to address the demand for teachers since the 1970s have produced a trend away from undergraduate teacher preparation and toward post baccalaureate programs as the preferred route to teacher certification (Turner, 1998). Concurrently, the opportunity to offer programs online introduces variables that have the potential to increase access to teacher education.

In this article, the literature related to post baccalaureate certification is reviewed. The University of North Texas (UNT) Online Post Baccalaureate Program is described and compared to UNTs traditional undergraduate program for secondary candidates. Programs are compared in terms of promoting candidate diversity, increasing the number of candidates in the high need areas of science and mathematics, candidate proficiency as measured by state licensure examinations and self-assessments, and satisfaction with the program and its clinical experiences. Based on these indicators, the success of the online program is discussed.

POST BACCALAUREATE, ALTERNATIVE, AND ONLINE PROGRAMS

Candidates entering post baccalaureate teacher education programs typically have completed degrees in their content fields and are often employed full time as teachers while completing the pedagogy requirements of their programs. Development of this sort of program requires that teacher educators change their thinking about a number of program development key issues. Some of the issues raised by Fenstermacher (1990) included the physical location of the preparation, the definition of subject mastery, and the balance in the curriculum between teaching theory and practice. Post baccalaureate certification has the effect of moving teacher preparation to the school site, reducing the control over the site of preparation exercised by colleges and universities that prepare teachers as undergraduates. In addition, entities offering post baccalaureate programs typically do not control the undergraduate content majors of their candidates who enter with completed bachelor's degrees. Beyond this, post baccalaureate curriculum is typically structured to meet the immediate needs for survival of teacher candidates, setting aside the results of years of work by teacher educators to define the critical balance between teaching theory and practice in the curriculum.

Today, almost every state has post baccalaureate (alternative or alternative like) certification programs offered in universities and colleges, state supported organizations, or by private providers (Feistritzer, 2005). Almost two thirds of American colleges and universities offer at least one alternative certification program (National Center for Educational Information, 2004). These programs are variable with regard to entry criteria, duration, curriculum configuration, the kind and frequency of supervision provided to the teacher candidate, and the selection and training required for supervisory personnel. In fact, variation among programs is so great that descriptions of alternative programs in some states often resemble what is considered the "regular" or "traditional" program in other states. In an effort to categorize the many programs that exist across the United States, Feistritzer (2005) defined alternative certification programs as possessing the following attributes: (a) the program is designed to recruit, prepare, and license individuals with a bachelor's degree; (b) entrance is gained through a screening process such as testing and interviews; (c) the program is field based; (d) the program includes coursework or equivalent experiences in professional education; (e) a system of support is provided for candidates; and (f) candidates meet high standards to complete the program. Seeking consistency in reporting and analyzing data related to alternative programs, Feistritzer (2005) used self-reports from states to classify alternative programs into 11 types, of which post baccalaureate programs in institutions of higher education are classified as "Class E" teacher preparation.

In Texas, nonalternative, "regular," or "traditional" teacher certification programs are four-year, baccalaureate degree programs in which candidates complete no more than 24 semester credit hours in the study of pedagogy. Field experiences, including student teaching are included in the 24 hours. This limited pattern of teacher preparation was mandated by the Texas legislature in 1987 (Ishler, 1992). "Alternative certification," has developed rapidly in Texas since 2001 and refers to an array of programs designed to prepare for certification persons who already hold baccalaureate degrees. Alternative certification providers include colleges and universities, but they also include school districts, the Texas Education Agency through its regional service centers, community colleges, and private providers. Programs offered by nonhigher education entities typically offer workshop training that is heavily concentrated in the summer before the start of teaching and places little emphasis on education theory. Supervision during the first year of teaching varies from two visits to eight visits per semester. The alternative post baccalaureate programs offered by colleges and universities, the "Class E" programs, typically admit candidates who meet graduate school requirements and demonstrate content mastery through transcript review and/or candidates' passing the state content licensure examination. Candidates complete graduate coursework that emphasizes the link between teaching theory and practice and may lead to a master's degree. Supervision and support for candidates who are employed as teachers occur through six to eight formal observations conducted by university personnel each semester and supervisory partnerships with administrators and mentor teachers at the school of employment.

Although descriptions of online teacher education programs exist in the literature (Gibson & Hererra, 1999; Patton & Hines, 2001; Truman-Davis & Hartman, 1998) a closer look at these programs suggests that they are web-supported, rather than delivered completely online. Accounts of the development of these programs offer general advice such as building on existing courses, making sure that technical support is adequate and identifying faculty who are willing to serve as change agents. Wentling and Johnson (1999) suggested that sound evaluation is the best antidote to the fear that tends to accompany major innovation. They suggested that program planners monitor, certain "vital signs" that may assist in short term evaluation of program health while waiting for the results of assessments of student learning and long-term satisfaction associated with longer-term program evaluation. Application of this advice led to collection of key data about the Online Post Baccalaureate Program, which is described in the next section.

DESCRIPTION OF THE ONLINE POST BACCALAUREATE PROGRAM

In a milieu of highly variable alternative or "alternative like" certification programs, UNT initiated one of the first online post baccalaureate teacher certification programs in the nation. The program, designed for grades 8-12 teacher preparation, was born in an institutional environment including a "traditional" baccalaureate program and a campus-based master's degree program for secondary teachers that included a semester of student teaching. Like all UNT teacher education programs, its goal was to enhance the college mission to develop the human capacity by increasing the number of certified and highly qualified teachers available to advance the learning of Texas students, preschool through grade 12.

Rationale for the Program

The Online Post Baccalaureate Program represented a change in direction for the UNT teacher education faculty, who had previously been working to provide a year-long professional development school experience for all initial teacher candidates. Offering one of the largest university-based programs in Texas, the UNT faculty expected of new programs the rigor and alignment associated with maintaining its National Council for the Accreditation of Teachers (NCATE) accreditation. The impetus to consider the change to an online post baccalaureate program was the climate of competition in the state. As the Texas State Board for Educator Certification (SBEC) opened the door to many alternative certification providers operating with minimal oversight, UNT faculty experienced pressure to develop more accessible programs. Going online provided a way to offer a flexible program that maintained quality while increasing access and affordability to post baccalaureate candidates, and especially to career changers and candidates in high need teaching fields.

Program Goals and Standards

The development goals of the Online Post Baccalaureate Program were to (a) attract into teaching increased numbers of diverse candidates, including career changer and minority candidates; (b) increase the number of candidates prepared by UNT in the critical shortage areas of science and mathematics; (c) assure program quality such that candidate performance is at least equal to that of traditional program candidates; and (d) assure candidate satisfaction with the online program. These goals are addressed in an 18 semester-hour program that includes four 3-credit hour online courses and two semesters (6 credit hours) of practicum. The program is designed within the conceptual framework of the UNT teacher education unit, summarized as, "Educators as Guides for Engaged Learners." The conceptual framework is closely liked to the learner-centered principles associated with the Texas teacher education program approval standards which are aligned to the domains of the Pathwise Framework (Danielson, 1996). The UNT conceptual framework may be viewed at the following website: http://www.coe.unt.edu/ncate/framework/

Curricular goals of the program are to (a) create a supportive learning community for post-baccalaureate candidates; (b) expand the knowledge and skills of beginning teachers; (c) offer resources for advancing the learning of 8-12 students; (d) help beginning teachers assess their own professional growth; and (e) increase commitment to teaching. Course objectives incorporate the state standards that serve as the framework for the pedagogy portion of the Texas Examinations for Educator Certification (TExES; SBEC, 2004a) and the Texas Beginning Educator Support System (Tx-BESS; SBEC, 2002; Charles A. Dana Center, 2002), which are based on the Pathwise model. Additionally, the core standards of the Interstate New Teacher Assessment and Support Consortium (INTASC, 2004) are aligned with these frameworks, demonstrating the commitment of program designers to advance the quality of teaching and learning for beginning educators.

Admission Requirements

This program is designed to attract career changers holding a bachelor's degree with a major or minor related to a Texas certification field (Online Teacher Certification, 2006). Candidates who are admitted to the program demonstrate content mastery in their area of certification by passing the state content examination (i.e., ExCET or TExES). In addition, candidates must meet certain grade point average requirements (e.g., 2.8 overall where A=4.0) and standardized test requirements (e.g., Graduate Record Examination). Online candidates presenting Graduate Record Examination (GRE) verbal scores for admission to Teacher Education are high compared to the national average for teacher candidates. GRE mean scores fall in the 2nd highest quartile.

Program Coursework

This first program online course, EDSE 5002 Everyone Can Learn, was first offered in Fall 2001, with one 3-hour online course added each semester until all 18 hours of coursework were converted to an online delivery system. A description of coursework can be viewed at the following website: http://www.coe.unt.edu/becoming_a_teacher/secondary/courses.htm

Course information and syllabi may be viewed using the following URL: http://www.untecampus.com/

The other courses of the program are EDSE 5004 Literacy for All, EDSE 5130 The Multicultural Curriculum, and EDSE 5470 Classroom Management and Instructional Strategies in Diverse Classroom Settings. Simultaneously, a year-long clinical experience, EDSE 5105/5115 Practicum I and II, was developed by senior faculty to serve the needs of an already growing population of postbaccalaureate candidates. EDSE 5101/5115 Practicum I and II offer a supervised teaching experience for candidates who are employed as teachers of record in their own classrooms. The practicum components include supervisory visits, online discussion groups, weekly reports, a website with teacher resources (UNTeacher Tools), seminars, and portfolio development. Two UNT faculty members coordinate the practicum, one in the role of coordinator and the other as webmaster. These faculty work closely with university supervisors, who visit candidates in their classrooms at least four times per semester, to focus the curriculum on a common set of understandings that includes use of the TxBESS standards, employment of clinical supervision, and adherence to a conceptual framework that shapes culturally competent response and reflective inquiry. Expectations are conveyed to candidates at two face-to-face seminars held each semester and enacted through online discussions in supervisory and content groups, as well as through the visits and offline communication with supervisors. Online posting requirements are one substantive description, story, or report about teaching per week and require one substantive response to another student's posting. A discussion guide based on the TxBESS framework offers suggested topics for postings of candidates who do not identify their own compelling issues. Postings that can be related to TxBESS Standards may be included in portfolios that are based on these standards and submitted at the end of each semester and assessed using a rubric related to course goals.

UNTeacher Tools, an online resource, addresses content specific pedagogy. Quick links to local, state, and national teacher organizations and special topics such as assessment, diversity, special needs, No Child Left Behind (NCLB), and lesson planning are provided, as are in-house practice examinations and access to library resources such as electronic databases, state-adopted textbooks, and curriculum materials delivered free of charge through the university library delivery service.

Assessment Plan

The Online Post Baccalaureate, Program uses the unit assessment plan common to all UNT teacher education programs to assure continuous assessment of candidate learning. Programs for initial teacher preparation use portfolios for this purpose. Major assessments in the online program include candidate portfolio reviews, a Texas-based framework for assessment used by university supervisors during observation of clinical work, state licensure exams, and collection of survey data in courses and after program completion. A candidate assessment model developed specifically for the online program uses the tools shown in Table 1. The assessment model continues to develop each semester, as candidate self-assessment, peer assessment, and instructor assessment are implemented in each course.

In the online environment, the role of the instructor in providing corrective and supportive feedback is particularly important. The lack of verbal and nonverbal cues online reduces the types of feedback that may help students learn in other environments. Guiding students through a series of reflective experiences that relate directly to teaching is the process used in the online program to enable candidate construction of teacher knowledge. Traditional assessments, including essay, short answer, and multiple choice tests and scoring of lesson plans are also used to assess knowledge and are weighted approximately 30% of each course. However, content analysis of journals and chains of discourse, use of survey tools to collect and aggregate student feedback, and requiring student self-assessment through checklists and application of rubrics supplement these traditional tools for shaping instructor response.

Summative program assessment is based on a teaching portfolio, reviewed during each semester of the practicum. Portfolios are based on the TxBESS Standards and the standards that frame the TExES Pedagogical and Professional Responsibilities subtest. In constructing their portfolios, candidates select teaching artifacts related to selected standards and justify their selections by demonstrating what the artifacts show about their adherence to the standards, their impact on the learning of 8-12 students and their professionalism.

Each fall semester, candidates respond to a survey to assess how the components of the practicum address the curricular goals of the program: (a) creating a supportive learning community; (b) expanding the knowledge and skills of beginning teachers; (c) offering resources for advancing the learning of 8-12 students; and (d) helping beginning teachers assess their own professional growth; and (e) increasing commitment to teaching.

Program Duration and Sustainability

As the online program began, it was apparent that significant financial and personnel resources would be required to develop, maintain, update and revise course materials. Initially, grant funding would be required. Grants were obtained from the UNT Teaching with Technology program, which is supported by funds from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. In addition, the UNT College of Education provided release time and financial support for faculty curriculum developers, technology experts, and software programs and hardware associated with curriculum development using WebCT. The first course was offered in Fall 2001, with all courses, including the practicum, online by Fall 2002. An additional program cost has been providing university supervision for candidates across a large geographic area requiring supervisor travel to rural areas where many practicum students work. The search for innovative methods to provide practicum students working in geographically remote areas with equivalent supervision has prompted a recent investment in portable videoconferencing equipment, but these Tandberg units were not in use during the two years of the program for which results are reported here.

Program sustainability was secured through the introduction of course fees in 2003-2004 and increased in 2004-2005 to include the practicum. The increased cost does not appear to have deterred enrollment of the candidates the program was designed to serve.

SUCCESS IN ADDRESSING PROGRAM GOALS: RESULTS AND CONCLUSIONS

The purposes of the program developers of the Online Post Baccalaureate Program presented earlier in this article serve as an organizer for the following sections, in which we consider indicators of the program's short-term success in achieving each of its goals. Specifically, this section examines the role of the program in (a) attracting into teaching increased numbers of diverse candidates, including career changers and minority candidates; (b) increasing the number of candidates prepared by UNT in the critical shortage areas of science and mathematics; (c) achieving candidate performance that is at least equal to that of traditional program candidates; and (d) assuring candidate satisfaction with the online program.

Increase Teacher Diversity: Careering Changing and Minority Candidates

One year after implementation of the online program, enrollment had grown to 400 candidates. Clearly, the program was successful in attracting increased numbers of candidates, but how different were they from candidates enrolled in the traditional program?

To answer questions about the demographics of enrollees, we looked at secondary traditional and online candidates who took either the content or the pedagogy subtest of the TExES during the 2002-2003 and 2003-2004 academic years. Data are presented in Table 2.

Studies of some post baccalaureate programs have reported significant differences with regard to gender and minority participation in post baccalaureate programs (Hutton, Lutz, & Williamson, 1990; Lutz & Hutton, 1989; Haberman, 1999). Comparing the online post baccalaureate secondary candidates to those in the baccalaureate secondary program indicates that there are statistically significant differences by gender and ethnicity. The difference in the average age of candidates in the online program compared to the traditional program was 32.6 years compared to 28.3 years of age.

Enrollment as a function of gender was almost evenly distributed (e.g., 51% female and 49% male) in the online program, while the traditional program enrollment was 68% female and 32% male. Table 3 shows there is a statistically significant difference between these two programs in terms of gender distribution (p < 0.006).

Ethnic minority candidates represented 28% of the enrollment in the online program and 18% in the traditional program. Results in Table 4 shows there is a statistically significant difference between these two programs with regard to representation of candidates from traditionally underrepresented groups (p < 0.001).

At this time our research has not determined why the online program is more ethnically diverse and more gender balanced. As we continue to study the various aspects of these programs, a scientific basis may emerge from which to answer this important question.

Many of the teacher candidates who completed the practicum during the 2002-2003 and 2003-2004 academic years described themselves as career changers, moving to teaching from the telecommunications, engineering, construction, sales, financial services, the ministry, and other careers. The average age of traditional program completers at UNT reflects, however, the extent to which the campus serves community college transfers and students whose progress through school is slowed by simultaneous and stop-out employment. Thus, most students in both groups tend to describe themselves as career changers. In future work, a definition is needed that specifies the length of prior employment in a field associated with being designated a "career changer."

Critical Shortage Fields: Science and Mathematics

Of the candidates in the online program in the 2002-2003 and 2003-2004 academic years, 25% were working toward certification in science and 12% in mathematics; this was 37% of the program enrollees (Figure 1). During the same years, the traditional program enrolled 19 science and mathematics candidates compared to the 80 teachers in these fields who were prepared through the online program.

The field of certification of a teacher candidate is important because out of field teaching in high need areas is common. Out of field teaching is defined as teaching any course for which a teacher does not hold state certification. Thus, a teacher certified in biology is out of field if teaching physics, but a teacher certified in composite science (science generalist) is not. Fuller (2003) reported that in schools serving 50% or more African American students, 50.3% of teachers of Algebra I were out of field. In chemistry the percentage of out of field teachers in predominantly African American schools was 75.9%. In Texas, out of field teachers are not only common, but are concentrated in schools with predominantly minority populations.

Presently, we have not determined the basis for increased numbers of mathematics and science candidate enrollment in the online program. Neither program has purposefully recruited mathematics and science candidates, nor have special scholarships been offered to increase recruitment for these areas. Since our students self-select a certification program at UNT, further research into why there are greater numbers of mathematics and science certification students in the online program is warranted.

To Assure Program Quality through Comparable Candidate Performance

Two sources of data were used to compare the quality of the online and traditional program candidates. First, we reviewed the TExES scores of candidates who completed their programs in 2003-2003 and 2003-2004. Second, we examined self-assessments of proficiency of online teacher candidates at the end of their first year of teaching in 2002-2003 compared to similar self-assessments completed by traditional program student teachers in spring 2002.

Since the online program curriculum focuses on pedagogy, we were especially interested in comparing the scores of online and traditional candidates who completed the TExES Pedagogy and Professional Responsibilities examination required for certification in 2002-2003 and 2003-2004. The mean score for the 112 online candidates was 265.02 which exceeded the mean of the 309 traditional candidates (262.64) but differences were not statistically significant. As shown in Table 5, the t test for independent samples yielded a t of 1.358 which was not statistically significant (p = .175). These test scores are scaled scores with a maximum of 300, where 240 is the minimum passing score. These findings are important because Texas has become increasingly reliant on a test-driven accountability system to assess certification programs (SBEC 2004b).

Comparison of standards-based self assessments by candidates in the traditional program at the end of student teaching in spring 2002 and by online candidates at the end of their first year of teaching in 2002-2003 are shown in Table 6. Instruments used in these self assessments were somewhat different. The traditional program employed the ten INTASC Standards and asked candidates to rate their self confidence on each one using a 5-point development scale where 5 indicates, "I have extensive knowledge about concepts in this area, and I feel confident that I can plan dynamic learning experiences for students this semester" and 1 indicates, "I have little or no knowledge about the concepts in this area and I do not feel confident that I can plan learning experiences for students this semester." The online program used the 22 TxBESS standards and asked candidates to rate themselves on each one using a 4-point rubric in which 4 indicates accomplished teaching and 1 indicates unsatisfactory teaching as developed by Danielson (1996). To enable comparison of the data in Table 6, the 5-point mean scores for candidates in the traditional program were converted to a 4-point scale. Determination of the comparability of concepts from the INTASC and TxBESS standards was made by a panel of experts familiar with both sets of standards.

Table 6 notes the mean scores for the online candidates for the TxBESS Standard(s) that are most closely aligned with each of nine INTASC Standards. Rescaled mean scores of the traditional candidates are noted in the adjacent column. In Table 6, asterisked mean scores indicate a significant increase in mean self assessments since the beginning of the clinical experience. Scores of the two groups of students are similar in magnitude with the greatest difference favoring the traditional group in self-perceived ability to plan for instruction. In most categories, differences favor the online group.

To Assure Candidate Satisfaction with the Online Program

At this point, we have no measure that enables comparison of candidate satisfaction with the traditional and online programs. However, the data presented in Table 6 indicate that all candidates perceived growth in their own teaching as assessed by the standards used in the programs. Traditional candidate perceptions (e.g., confidence) were statistically significant from the beginning to the end of student teaching on the nine INTASC Standards shown in Table 6, and online candidates perceived significant increase in their teaching performance related to eight of the TxBESS Standards chosen because of their similarity to INTASC Standards. Two of the TxBESS Standards, Knowledge of Instructional Materials and Managing Classroom Procedures were not included because of their lack of alignment with INTASC Standards. In this analysis, we interpret self perceived growth as an indicator of student satisfaction.

Student satisfaction with online courses is gauged, also, through evaluation instruments completed by candidates. For example, in the practicum end-of-course evaluation, online candidates respond to questions about how practicum components contributed to their achieving the program's curricular goals. Table 7 shows the percentages of candidates reporting that the course components met program goals either "a lot" or "pretty much" based on a 4-point scale where the other choices were "some" and "not at all." Since these descriptors were not defined for the candidates, we assume that their sequential presentation on the survey conveyed decreasing levels of alignment of components with goals. The program components on the evaluation survey included supervisor visits, weekly reports, online discussion, UNTeacher Tools, seminars, and portfolio development.

In both Fall 2002 and Fall 2003, candidates ranked the supervisory visits highest in addressing all five of the program goals, with highest ratings placed on the goals of creating a supportive learning community, promoting self-assessment of professional growth, and increasing commitment to teaching. Online discussion, and one of its defining features, weekly reports, was rated differently by candidates in 2002 and 2003, but in both years, these components were perceived as addressing several of the online program goals. Candidates in both years perceived the portfolio requirement as especially strong in addressing the goal of self-assessment of professional growth and the use of UNTeacher Tools as contributing to locating resources to advance grade 8-12 student learning. Less well received in 2003-2004 than 2002-2003 were the required face-to-face seminars. In 2004-2005, concern about candidate satisfaction with the seminars has been addressed by aligning content more closely with TxBESS standards and introducing chat-based alternatives for more distant candidates.

Significant increases in self-perceived growth on program goals and generally positive responses to program and course evaluation questions evidence student satisfaction with the online program. Changes are made in the program each semester as data are collected that show needs for improvement in student learning or satisfaction.

CONCLUSIONS AND NEED FOR FURTHER RESEARCH

The Online Post Baccalaureate Program has been successful in attracting into teaching, a candidate pool that includes career changers and is more diverse in gender and ethnicity than candidates in the traditional program. The online program has also been more successful than the traditional program in attracting into teaching candidates in the critical shortage areas of science and mathematics. Performance of candidates in the online program is comparable to those in the traditional program on state licensure tests and on standards-based self-assessments completed by the candidates. Candidate perception of their own learning and satisfaction with the many components of the online program is high, and program faculty are responsive to suggestions for change.

If the teacher shortage continues as expected and the focus of national efforts remains on teacher recruitment instead of teacher retention, issues such as compensation, working conditions, and school resources universities suggest the need for innovative programs that attract high quality teachers who meet NCLB criteria. The Online Post Baccalaureate Program allows career changers the opportunity to maximize time spent on learning while reducing costs such as travel and child care, that are often associated with attending campus-based courses. Additionally, in the online program, a practicum offers the opportunity for a transition from other work to teaching without loss of income during teacher preparation. In metropolitan areas plagued by traffic gridlock and in rural areas far from colleges and universities, the Online Post Baccalaureate Program has proven to be viable for the individual who desires to enter teaching.

A number of research questions remain as evaluation of this program continues. Ongoing research questions include: (a) How does the nature of content preparation affect candidate success in the online program and in teaching? (b) Is there a relationship between the extent and nature of content preparation and state certification test scores? (c) What is the attrition rate from teaching of candidates prepared in the online program compared to other types of preparation? (d) What is the long-term satisfaction of the online candidates with their preparation? and (e) What is the relationship between the classroom performance of the online candidates and the success of their 8-12 students?

Data presented here demonstrate the effectiveness of the program in meeting its initial or short-term goals. These indicators constitute vital signs (Wentling & Johnson, 1999) of the viability of the program. As more data are collected, a clearer understanding will emerge about how well this fast-track online certification program actually serves the long-term ^needs and interests of schools and the students who are served by those schools.

References

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Danielson, C. (1996). Enhancing professional practice: A framework for teaching. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

Feistritzer, E. (2005). Alternative teacher certification: A state-by-state analysis 2005. Washington, DC: National Center for Educational Information.

Fenstermacher, G.D. (1990). The place of alternative certification in the education of teachers. Peabody Journal of Education, 67(3), 155-185.

Fuller, E. (2003). Distribution of certified teachers. Retrieved April 24, 2006, from http://www.sbec.state.tx.us/SBECOnline/reprtdatarsrch/tchrshortDistribution%20of%20Certified%20High%20School%20Teachers%20\by%20District%20Percentage%20of%20Afr%20Amer%20Students%20(2002).pdf

Gibson, J.W., & Herrera, J. M. (1999, January). How to go from classroom based to online delivery in 18 months or less: A case study in online program development. T.H.E. Journal, 26(6), 57-60.

Haberman, M. (1999). Increasing the number of high quality African American teachers in urban schools. Journal of Instructional Psychology, 26(4), 208-221.

Hutton, J., Lutz, F., & Williamson, J. (1990). Characteristics, attitudes and performance of alternative certification interns. Educational Research Quarterly, 14(1), 38-48.

Interstate New Teacher Assessment and Support Consortium (INTASC) (2004). Model standards for beginning teacher licensing assessment and development: A resource for state dialogue. Retrieved April 24, 2006, from http://www.ccsso.org/content/pdfs/corestrd.pdf

Ishler, R.E. (1992). Teacher education policy: The Texas experience. In H. D. Gideonse (Ed.), Teacher education policy: Narratives, stories, and cases (pp. 1-26). Albany, NY: State University of New York Press.

Lutz, F., & Hutton, J. (1989). Alternative teacher certification: Its policy implications for classroom and personnel practice. Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis 11(3), 237-254.

National Center for Educational Information (2004). Retrieved on April 24, 2006, from http://www.teach-now.org/

National Center for Educational Statistics (2003). Projections of educational statistics to 2013. Document # NCES 2004-013. Retrieved on December 9, 2004 from the NCES Web site: http://nces.ed.gov/pubs2004/2004013.pdf

Online Teacher Certification (2006). Retrieved April 25, 2006, from http://www.coe.unt.edu/becoming_a_teacher/secondary/Requirements.htm

Patton, L., & Hines, S. (2001). Issues of the online program planning process. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED466204)

State Board of Educator Certification (SBEC) (2002). TxBESS framework. Retrieved April 24, 2006, from http://www.sbec.state.tx.us/SBECOn-line/standtest/testfram.asp

State Board of Educator Certification (SBEC) (2004a). Texas examination of educator standards: Pedagogy and professional responsibilities 8-12. Retrieved April 24, 2006, from http://www.excet.nesinc.com/prep-manuals/PDFs/TExES_fld130_prepmanual.pdf

State Board of Educator Certification (SBEC) (2004b). Temporary teaching certificate. Retrieved April 24, 2006, from http://www.sbec.state.tx.us/SBECOnline/certinfo/tempcert/temcertrule.pdf

Turner, S.E. (1998). The training of teachers: The changing degree output in the area of education. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Association of Public Policy and Management, New York, NY.

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PAMELA ESPRIVALO HARRELL AND MARY HARRIS

University of North Texas

Denton, TX USA

PHarrell@coe.unt.edu

Harris@coe.unt.edu
Table 1 Online Program Assessment Tools

Traditional Assessment
Instructor Multiple choice Short answer Essay True False

Authentic Assessment
Self- Journaling Literacy strategy Checklist Rating scale
assessment
Clinical Clinical Seminar UNTeacher Weekly
assessment supervision tools reports
Peer- Checklist Rating scale Rubric Bulletin
assessment board
Portfolio Lesson plans Assessment Video Attitude
 surveys

Traditional Assessment
Instructor

Authentic Assessment
Self- Rubric
assessment
Clinical Online
assessment discussion
Peer-
assessment
Portfolio Projects Support Student
 letters products

Table 2 Demographic Comparison between Secondary Traditional and Online
Teacher Certification Participants

 Category Online Traditional

Average Age 32.6 28.3
Gender
 Male 93 (48.691) 142 (32.200)
 Female 98 (51.309) 299 (67.800)
Ethnicity
 African American 13 (6.806) 35 (7.937)
 Asian 12 (6.283) 11 (2.494)
 Hispanic 28 (14.660) 34 (7.710)
 Caucasian 129 (67.539) 345 (78.231)
 Other/Not Specified 9 (4.712) 16 (3.628)

Percentages are indicated in parenthesis.

Table 3 Results Obtained from Chi-Square Test

Gender Online Traditional Total

Female 98 299 397
Male 93 142 235
Total 191 441 632

[chi square] (1) = 15.519, p < .006

Table 4 Results Obtained from Chi-Square Test

Ethnicity Online Traditional Total

Asian 12 11 23
African American 13 35 48
Hispanic 28 34 62
Caucasian 129 345 474
Not Specified 9 16 25
Total 191 345 474

[chi square] (1) = 15.519, p < .001

English/Reading 30%
science 25%
Social Studies 9%
mathematics 12%
physical education 1%
joumalism 3%
theatre arts 1%
dance 2%
speech 4%
Foreign Language 13%

Figure 1. Percentage by subject field

Note: Table made from pie chart.

Table 5 TExES PPR Results for 2002/2003 and 2003/2004

 Online Traditional
N Mean SD N Mean SD t p

112 265.02 16.820 309 262.64 15.537 1.358 .175

Due to multiple program entry points, some candidates are in progress
and have not completed the TExES PPR, which is the last component to be
completed before the candidate applies for teacher certification.

Table 6 A Comparison of INTASC and TxBESS Survey Results for Online and
Traditional Program Participants at Program Completion

INTASC Standards with Related
TxBESS Standards Online (N=40) Traditional (N=29)

2. Knowledge of Students 3.00*
1b. Knowledge of Students 3.14*
3. Teach Diverse Students 2.95*
3c. Engage All Students 3.17*
4. Instructional Strategies 3.12*
3e Flexibility/Responsiveness 3.36*
5. Learning Environment 3.06*
2b. Culture for Learning 3.18*
6. Planning for Instruction 3.66*
1e Designing Activities 3.33*
7. Uses Communication 3.14*
3a Communicates Clearly 3.14
3b Uses Questions/discussion 2.93
8. Uses Assessment Strategies 2.87*
1f. Planning for assessment 3.05*
3d. Assesses Learning 2.91
9. Reflects on Practice 3.14*
4a. Reflection on Teaching 3.05
4e. Growing professionally 3.33*
10. School/community interact 2.90*
4c. Communicating: Families 3.10*
4d. Contributing to School 3.13

*Indicates a significant difference (p<0.01) from first self assessment
by the same candidates.

Table 7 Percentages of Candidates Reporting that Components Met Program
Goals "A Lot" or "Pretty Much" (Fall 2002 and Fall 2003)

 Supervisor visits Weekly reports Online discussion
Goals 2002 2003 2002 2003 2002 2003

Support 92 85 57 49 49 60
Knowledge/skills 76 67 51 51 49 42
Resources 61 77 49 59 61 33
Professional 84 90 47 66 47 33
 growth
Commitment 88 95 57 66 57 58

 UNTeacher tools Seminars portfolios
Goals 2002 2003 2002 2003 2002 2003

Support 49 46 65 39 55 51
Knowledge/skills 51 47 61 33 59 51
Resources 67 51 57 46 47 54
Professional 31 32 55 49 74 73
 growth
Commitment 35 30 61 54 57 68
COPYRIGHT 2006 Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE)
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2006, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Author:Harris, Mary
Publication:Journal of Technology and Teacher Education
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Dec 22, 2006
Words:6325
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