Assessing Teacher Education Programs: Teaching for Meeting the National Standards

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The Achieving the NASPE Standards Inventory (ANSI) was developed and validated for the purpose of this study to investigate the extent to which preservice teachers' perceptions of reaching the NASPE beginning teacher standards in physical education teacher education programs.

Theoretical Perspectives

Prospective teachers will be the future agents of standard-based educational reform in the classroom of tomorrow. They will play a paramount role in holding K-12 students accountable for content standards and helping students achieve desired learning outcomes in psychomotor, cognitive, and affective domains. The successful implementation of the content standards rests directly with whether prospective teachers possessed a broad and depth knowledge base, a repertoire of teaching skills, and positive dispositions toward teaching and learning. The interlocked relationship between K-12 schooling and teacher education powerfully demands on preparing prospective teachers according to The National Standards for Beginning Physical Education Teachers (1995, 2003). The beginning teacher standards have served as a guide for preparation for quality prospective teachers. They provided a comprehensive and targeted framework for what beginning teachers should know and be able to do with what they know in the following 10 areas: (a) physical education content and discipline-related concepts as well as how to incorporate the concepts and principles to teach students contents in a developmentally appropriate way; (b) individuals' growth and development in relation to teaching and learning; (c) individuals' differences in skill levels, cognitive understandings, cultural backgrounds and how to meet students' diverse needs; (d) creating positive and productive learning environment to motivate students' active engagement in learning; (e) use of effective communication skills to enhance learning; (f) planning developmentally appropriate learning experiences and instructional strategies to facilitate students achieve specific objectives and general goals specified in a lesson and curriculum, respectively; (g) use of a variety of assessment techniques for improving students' movement performance, cognitive understanding, and social and personal behaviors; (h) use of self-reflection techniques to continually hone teaching skills; (i) applying current technology to teaching and learning processes; and (j) collaboration with colleagues, families, and community agencies to support students' learning. Each of the 10 standards was articulated within three interrelated parts: knowledge, performance, and dispositions. The beginning teacher standards were also in alignment with the NASPE physical education content standards. In order to teach to the content standards effectively, prospective teachers must be empowered with content knowledge, pedagogical skills, and professional dispositions. However, little is known about how well prospective teachers are prepared according to the standards. The pragmatic need to conduct this study is apparent.


Instrumentation. The NASPE beginning teacher standards (1995, 2003) provided a guide for developing items on The Achieving the NASPE Standards Inventory (ANSI). The theoretical construct of the items on the ANSI reflected the three essential interwoven parts: dispositions, knowledge, and performance (pedagogical knowledge and skills) underlying the 10 standards. The ANSI was designed as a self-assessment instrument for PETE preservice teachers to self-evaluate the extent to which they acquire professional dispositions, knowledge, and pedagogical skills related to the NASPE beginning teacher standards. In order to determine the reliability, validity, and feasibility of the ANSI, a pilot study was conducted with a sample pool of 108 subjects who did not participated in the main study using the first version of the 78-item ANSI. The resultant ANSI yielded three factors that supported the theoretical construct of the inventory. Further, redundant and vague items were deleted and then the remaining items were revised numerous times based on four pedagogical experts' judgment, suggestions, and critiques and the second edition of the NASPE standards (2003, draft). The final version of the ANSI consists of two parts: demographic information and 45 items rated on a five-point rating scale ranged from 5 (absolutely true) to 1 (Not true at all).

Data collection. 156 preservice teachers from nine physical education teacher education (PETE) programs in major universities located in north-eastern, south-eastern, mid-western, north-western, southern districts anonymously completed the inventory and returned them back to their teacher educators. The teacher educators mailed the completed inventories back to the investigator. The subjects were selected by using cluster random sampling methods (Hinkle, Wiersma, & Jurs, 1994) and on their voluntary basis.

Data analysis. The internal consistency reliability of the inventories was analyzed by using Cronbach alpha reliability coefficient and item-to-total correlation coefficient. The construct-related validity of the inventories was determined by a principal component analysis with varimax rotation. The differences on the total scale of the ANSI among nine groups were examined using one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA). Group differences of the three sub-scale of the ANSI were analyzed using MANOVA, A follow-up ANOVA, and the post hoc Dunn (Bonferroni) multiple comparison statistical methods. Based on Burry-Stock's (1995) methods of percentage requirement, a quasi-distribution was used to quantify three levels of the preservice teachers' achievement of the standards, namely, acceptable level (85-99%), approaching acceptable level (70-84%), and unacceptable level (1-69%).


Psychometric properties of the ANSI. The results of the reliability analysis indicated that the total scale of the ANSI had Cronbach alpha reliability coefficient value of 0.92, indicating a high degree of measurement reliability. In addition, the Cronbach alpha reliability coefficient for the three sub-scales (factors) were 0.84 (factor 1), 0.89 (factor 2), and 0.90 (factor 3). All the item-to-total correlation coefficients ranged from 0.36 to 0.68, except for two items that were deleted from the ANSI because the item-to-total correlation coefficients were below 0.30. This also supported the high internal consistency of the inventory. A principal component analysis with a varimax rotation yielded three-factor solution based on the criteria of eigenvalues greater than one and
inspection of scree plot. The three factors accounted for 42%, contributing to the construct-related validity. According to factor loadings and the meaning of the items, 10 items were loaded on Factor 1 which was labeled as Professional Dispositions; 16 items were clustered to Factor 2 which was named as Content Knowledge; and 17 items were grouped into Factor 3 which was labeled as Pedagogical Knowledge and Skills.

Group differences of achieving the standards in overall. A preservice teacher's total score on 43-items of the ANSI indicates his/her overall level in achieving the NASPE beginning teacher standards. The mean for the overall group is 183. Across all groups, Group nine had the highest mean of 189, while the mean of 179 in Group one and the mean of 164 in Group six were lower than the mean of 183 for overall Group. According to the percentage quantification of achievement levels, the preservice teachers in Group two, three, four, five, seven, eight and nine were categorized into acceptable level because these groups' percentage of the total scale was 85% or above, while Group one and six were classified into approaching acceptable level because the two groups' percentage of the total scale was 83% and 76%, respectively. ANOVA analysis revealed an over-all statistically significant difference on the mean scores of the total scale on the ANSI among nine groups (F8,147=2.9, p<.05). The results of a follow-up Bonferroni multiple comparison analysis indicated the preservice teachers in Group two, three, four, seven, and nine self-rated their acquisition of the NASPE standards significantly higher than the preservice teachers in Group six (p<.05).
Group differences of achieving the standards in three factors. MANOVA analysis produced an overall significant difference in the mean scores of the three factors on the ANSI among the nine groups: Wilk's l =0.739, F 8, 148=1.93, p<0.05. With regard to the first factor (professional dispositions), all groups were classified into acceptable level, except for Group six categorized into approaching acceptable level based on percentage requirement. ANOVA analysis produced a significant difference of the first factor on the ANSI among the nine groups (F8,147=2.1, p<.05). Subsequently, the results of Bonferroni multiple comparison revealed a significant difference of the mean scores only between Group nine and Group six (46.7 vs. 42, p<.05). With respect to the second factor (content knowledge), Group two, three, seven, eight, and nine were categorized into acceptable level, while Group one, four, five, and six were at approaching acceptable level according to percentage requirement. ANOVA analysis yielded a significant difference of the second factor on the ANSI among the nine groups (F8,147=2.6, p<.05). A significant difference of the mean score was found only for the comparison of Group three with Group six (69 vs. 59, p<.05) and Group nine with Group six (70 vs. 59, p<.05). Regarding the third factor (pedagogical knowledge and skills), only Group two, five, and nine were classified into acceptable level, while the preservice teachers in other groups were belong to approaching acceptable level. ANOVA analysis indicated that there was a significant difference of the third factor on the ANSI among the groups (F 8,147=2.7, p<.05). The comparisons of Group two with Group six (72 vs. 63, p<.05), Group five with Group six (73 vs. 63, p<0.05), and Group nine with Group six (73 vs. 63, p<.05) were statistically significant. The results established support for the reliability and validity of the ANSI that provided us with diagnostic information about achieving the NASPE standards.

Educational Significance

This study made the first attempt to examine the quality of teacher education programs in relation to empowering prospective teachers with pedagogical knowledge and skills for the need of making changes in teaching and learning. The findings provided us with a profile of whether teacher education programs meet the new challenge derived from standard-based movement across the nation. This study, in particular, was significant in three folds: First, this study provided insightful information about connections between current teacher education programs and the national standards. Second, this study presented diagnostic information about the teacher education programs' strength and weakness in relation to the standards in order to reach standard-based teacher education programs. Last, the study provided valid and reliable instrument used for the future study with even larger sample pool.

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