Unit for the preparation of education professionals conceptual core

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Knowledge Base

Although salient perspectives on change may not be fully compatible with one another, the conceptual framework endorses the value of multiple (and even competing) perspectives. Indeed, the intellectual work of the Unit requires a pluralistic view of truth. At the same time, the need for coherence requires the framework to emphasize the knowledge and performances that are common to multiple perspectives.

With respect to change agency, we have identified the knowledge and skills that bridge the relevant perspectives and on which we are able to ground our educator preparation programs. This knowledge base (i.e., combination of knowledge and skills) emphasizes inquiry, research, critical thinking, problem-solving, assessment, and the proactive use of technology. The literature on educational needs for the twenty-first century suggests that this knowledge base is necessary for self-determination and adaptation to change in a changing world (Lemke, Coughlin, Thadani, &Martin, 2003; Wallis &Steptoe, 2006). Similarly, the literature on teaching for social justice calls for critical inquiry and informed action (e.g., Ayers, Kumishiro, Meiners, Quinn, & Stovall, 2004; Freedman, 2007; Marshall & Oliva, 2010; Zamudio, Rios, & Jaime, 2008). This call for attention to critical inquiry and informed action emphasizes attention, not just to cognitive skills, but to dispositions, such as open-mindedness, willingness to listen, and willingness to take a stance (Veugelers, 2001; Weinbaum, Allen, Blythe, Simon, Seidel, & Rubin, 2004), associated with effective change agency.

Whereas the understanding of various rationales for change and of potentially desirable changes (i.e., reforms) provides important grounding for our educator preparation programs, so, too, does knowledge about the change process itself. Knowledge of the general principles of change as well as the application of those principles to schools and communities is particularly relevant to our preparation of candidates for the role of change agent. The writings of Fullan (e.g., 2007 and 2011), Hall and Hord (e.g., 2005), and Rogers (e.g., 2003) provide a strong theoretical framework that guides our efforts to prepare educators for this role. Knowledge about change as a social and organizational process informs these efforts; and works that illustrate some guiding perspectives are presented in Table 2 below.

Table 2: Knowledge Base—Change Agency

Theoretical Foundations

Empirical Foundations

Illustrative Reading Lists (from syllabi)

Fullan, M. (2007). The new meaning of educational change (4th ed.). New York, NY: Teachers College Press.

Cohen, D. K., & Hill, H.C. (2000). Instructional policy and classroom performance:

Mathematics reform in California. Teachers College Record, 102(2), 296-345.

Adams, M., Blumenfield, W., Castenada, C., Hackman, H., & Peters, M. (Eds.) (2010). Readings for diversity and social justice (2nd ed.).New York, NY: Routledge.

Fullan, M. (2011). Change leader: Learning to do what matters most. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Church, K. (2010). A course exploration: Guiding instruction to prepare

students as change agents in educational reform. InSight: InSight: A Journal of Scholarly Teaching, 5, 15-26. Retrieved from http://ehis.ebscohost.com.proxy.library.ohiou.edu/eds/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?sid=860d6de4-5dba-41ae-adc6-29efa6362ab5%40sessionmgr13&vid=4&hid=105

Fullan, M. (2000). Leadership for the twenty-first century: breaking the bonds of dependency. In M. Fullan (Ed.), The Jossey-Bass reader on educational leadership (pp. 169-182). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Hall, G.E., &Hord, S.M. (2005). Implementing change: Patterns, principles, and potholes (2nd ed.). Boston, MA: Allyn and Bacon.

Cuban, L. (1984). How teachers taught: Constancy and change in American classrooms, 1880-1890.New York, NY: Longman.

Fullan, M. (2007). Understanding change. In The Jossey-Bass reader on educational leadership (2nd. ed.) (pp. 159-164). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Lewin, K. (1947). Frontiers in group dynamics: Concept, method and reality in social science: Social equilibria and social change. Indianapolis, IN:


Leithwood, K., Jantzi, D., & McElheron-Hopkins, C. (2006). The development and testing of a school improvement model. School Effectiveness and School Improvement, 17(4), 441-464.

Howard, A., & Gaztambide-Fernandez, R. (2010). Educating elites: Class

privilege and educational advantage. Washington, DC: Rowman & Littlefield.

Murphy, K.P. (2007). The eye of the beholder: The interplay of social and cognitive components in change, Educational Psychologist, 42(1), 41-53.

Johnson, S.M. (1996). Leading to change The challenge of the new superintendency. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Partnership for 21st Century Skills (2009). Building 21st Century skills. Retrieved from


Lyons, C.A., & Pinnell, G. (2001). Systems for change in literacy education. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.

Rogers, E.M. (2003). Diffusion of innovations (5th ed.). New York, NY: Free Press.

Marzano, R., Waters, T., and McNulty, B. (2005). School leadership that works: From research to results. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.

Sarason, S.B. (1996). Revisiting “The Culture of the School and the Problem of Change. “New York, NY: Teachers College Press.

Merz, C., & Furman, G. C. (1997). Community and schools: Promise and paradox. New York, NY: Teachers College Press.

Sclechty, P. (2004). Shaking up the schoolhouse: How to support and sustain educational innovation. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Noddings, N. (2012). (3rd Ed.). Philosophy of education. Boulder, CO: Westview Press.

Spring, J. (2013). Deculturalization and the struggle for equity: A brief history of the education of dominated cultures in the United States. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.

At a more granular level, change occurs as a result of individual and interpersonal processes. From this vantage, meaningful learning is itself a kind of change (e.g., Swann, 2012); and one of the major aims of our programs is to prepare candidates to function as instructional change agents (i.e., facilitators of learning). Therefore, the extensive theoretical and empirical literature on inquiry, research, problem-solving, and critical thinking serves as a source of knowledge upon which our programs can base curricula and assessments. Table 3 shows major works on inquiry, research, problem-solving, and critical thinking that provide grounding for our programs; it also presents an illustrative list of related texts assigned to candidates in educator preparation courses.

Table 3: Knowledge Base—Inquiry, Research, Problem Solving, Critical Thinking

Theoretical Foundations

Empirical Foundations

Illustrative Reading Lists (from syllabi)

Apple, M.W., &Beane, J.A. (2007). Democratic schools: Lessons in powerful education (2nd ed.). Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.

Bhattacharyya, S., Volk, T., & Lumpe, A. (2009).

The influence of an extensive inquiry-based field experience on pre-service elementary student teachers’ science teaching beliefs. Journal of Science Teacher Education, 20(3), 199-218.

Brooks, J.G., & Brooks, M.G. (1999). In search of understanding: The case for constructivist classrooms.

Alexandria, VA: ASCD.

Bruner, J. (1990). Acts of meaning. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Llewellen, D. (2002).

Inquire within: Implementing inquiry-based science standards.

Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.

Fresch, E. T. (2004). Connecting children with children: Motivating students for inquiry and action. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.

Egan, K. (1997).  The educated mind: How cognitive tools shape our understanding. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.

Pinarbasi, T., Canpolat, N., Bayrakceken, S., & Geban, O. (2006). An Investigation of effectiveness of conceptual change text-oriented instruction on students' understanding of solution concepts.

Research in Science Education, 36(4), 313-335.

Martin, R., Sexton, C., & Gerlovitch, J. (2009).

Teaching science for all children: Inquiry lessons for constructing understanding (5th ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson/Allyn and Bacon.

Eisner, E.W. (1982). Cognition and curriculum: A basis for deciding what to teach. New York, NY: Longman.

Weinbaum, A., Allen, D., Blythe, T., Simon, K., Seidel, S.; & Rubin, C. (2010). Teaching as inquiry: Asking hard questions to improve practice and student achievement. New York, NY: Teachers College Press.

Shure, M.B. (1992). I can problem solve: Kindergarten and primary grades. Champaign, IL: Research Press.

Newell, A., & Simon, H. A. (1973). Human problem solving. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.

Sturtevant, E. G., & Linek, W.M. (2004) Content literacy: An inquiry-based case approach. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson/Merrill Prentice Hall.

Perkins, D. (1992). Smart schools: From training memories to educating minds. New York, NY: Free Press.

Posner, G. J., Strike, K. A., Hewson, P. W., & Gertzog, W.A. (1982). Accommodation of a scientific conception: Toward a theory of conceptual change. Science Education, 66, 211-227.

Vygotsky, L. (1978). Mind in society: The development of higher psychological processes. Cambridge, MA:

Harvard University Press.

Wertsch, J. V. (1998). Mind as action. Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.

Because data about performance (e.g., individual learning, program effectiveness) represent a necessary foundation for improvement efforts, change agency requires knowledge about and skills in using a variety of assessment strategies. Contemporary practice in schools, moreover, increasingly requires educators to understand measurement concepts and to make use of an expanding array of performance and contextual data (Popham, 2003; Stiggins, 1991; Trevisan, 2002).

Addressing this emerging need, the Unit deployed a process involving multiple stakeholders (i.e., Design Team 1 of the “Communications and Connections”) to identify key assessment concepts. The design team determined that the following conceptual domains represented important knowledge on which educational practice should be based: (1) culture bias in assessment; (2) consequences of assessment (social justice of assessment, doubles back to connect to concepts relating to the philosophy of assessment); (3) technologically mediated assessment; (4) assessment design and development (writing test items, developing authentic activities, writing rubrics, grading); (5) use of assessment to improve instruction (analyzing, interpreting, and using standardized test data, short-cycle assessments, and classroom assessments); (6) methods for assessment of cognitive, affective, psychomotor, and language development; (7) assessment applications for identifying special needs; (8) assessment as a basis for differentiating instruction; (9) assessment applications in teaching science; (10) philosophy of assessment (the nature of assessment, reasons for assessment, ethical issues related to assessment, when assessment counts, what counts as assessment, how compliance fits with and sometimes confounds assessment); (11) types of assessment and their purposes (the distinction between an activity and an assessment; curriculum-based assessment—e.g., rubrics; classroom assessment, short-cycle assessment, and teacher-developed assessment—standardized or other high-stakes assessment, and value-added assessment); (12) measurement concepts (mean, standard deviation, standard scores, confidence bands, connections between assessment data and instructional “prescriptions”); and (13) teacher assessment (using assessment as the basis for self-reflection and improvement as a teacher, methods of self-assessment, working with feedback from others—supervisors, peers, and students). Published literature supporting these domains and their inclusion in educator preparation programs is presented in Table 4.

Table 4: Knowledge Base—Assessment

Theoretical Foundations

Empirical Foundations

Illustrative Reading Lists

(from syllabi)

Campbell, D. M. (2000). Portfolio and performance assessment in teacher education. Boston, MA: Allyn and Bacon.

Andrade, H., Du Y., & Wang, X. (2008). Putting rubrics to the test: The effect of a model, criteria generation, and rubric-referenced self-assessment on elementary school students' writing. Educational Measurement: Issues and Practice, 27(2), 3-13.

Bigge, J.L., Stump, C. S., Spagna, M.E., & Silberman, R.K., (1999). Curriculum, assessment and instruction for students with disabilities. Belmont, CA: Wadworth Publishing Company.

Gardner, H. (1983). Frames of mind. New York: Basic Books.

MacDonald, M. (2007). Toward formative assessment: the use of pedagogical

documentation in early elementary classrooms. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 22(2), 232-242.

Cavuto, G. J. (2003). Naturalistic, classroom-based reading assessment: A problem solving approach. Dubuque, IA: Kendall/Hunt.

Hart, D. (1994). Authentic assessment: A handbook for educators. Menlo Park, CA: Addison-Wesley.

Sato, M., Wei, R.C., & Darling-Hammond, L. (2008). Improving teachers' assessment practices through professional development: The case of National Board Certification. American Educational Research Journal, 45(3), 669-700.

Coiro, J. (2009). Rethinking online reading assessment. Educational Leadership, 66(6), 59-63.

International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE). (2002). National educational technology standards for teachers: Preparing teachers to use technology. Danvers, MA: ISTE.

Schnellert, L.M., Butler, D. L., & Higginson, S. K. (2008). Co-constructors of data, co-constructors of meaning: Teacher professional development in an age of accountability. Teaching and Teacher Education, 24(3), 725-750.

Fisher, D., & Frey, N. (2007). Checking for understanding: Formative assessment techniques for your classroom. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.

Johnston, P. H., & Guthrie, J. (2008). Theory and research into practice: Principles for literacy assessment. Reading Research Quarterly, 40(2), 256-267.

Stiggins, R. J. (1991). Relevant classroom assessment training for teachers. Educational Measurement: Issues and Practice, 10(1), 7-12.

Linn, R. L. (2000). Assessments and accountability. Educational Researcher29(2), 4-16.

Supovitz, J. (2009).

Can high stakes testing leverage educational improvement? Prospects from the last decade of testing and accountability reform. Journal of Educational Change, 10(2-3), 211-227.

Foster-Johnson, L., & Dunlap, G. (1993). Using functional assessment to develop effective, individualized interventions for challenging behaviors. Teaching Exceptional Children, 25, 44-50.

McMillan, J. H. (2001). Essential assessment concepts for teachers and administrators. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Publishing Company.

Wright, S. P., Horn, S. P., & Sanders, W. L. (1997). Teacher and classroom context effects on student achievement: Implications for teacher evaluation. Journal of Personnel

Evaluation in Education, 11, 57–67.

McKenna, M. C., & Stahl, K. A. D. (2009). Assessment for reading instruction (2nd ed.). New York, NY: Guilford Press.

Mertler, C. A. (2001). Designing scoring rubrics for your classroom. Practical Assessment, Research & Evaluation, 7(25). Retrieved August 11, 2009 from http://PAREonline.net/getvn.asp?v=7&n=25 

Shepard, L. A., Hammerness, K., Darling-Hammond, L., & Rust, F. (with Snowden, J. B., Gordon, E., Gutierrez, C., & Pacheo, A.). (2006). Assessment. In L. Darling-Hammond & J. Bransford

(Eds.), Preparing teachers for a changing world: What teachers should learn and be able to do

(pp. 275–326). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

McLoughlin, J., & Lewis, R. (2008). Assessing special students (7th ed.). Columbus, Ohio: Charles E. Merrill.

Raudenbush, S. W. (2004)

What are value-added models estimating and what does this imply for statistical practice?

Journal of Educational and Behavioral Statistics, 29(1), 121-130.

Mertler, C. G. (2003). Classroom assessment: A practical guide for educators. Los Angeles: Pyrczak Publishing.

Sadler, D. R. (1989). Formative assessment and the design of instructional systems. Instructional Science, 18(2), 119-144.

Mokhtari, K., Kymes, A., & Edwards, P. (2008). Assessing the new literacies of online reading

comprehension: An informative interview with W. Ian O’Byrne, Lisa Zawilinski, J. Greg McVerry, and Donald J. Leu at the University of Connecticut. The Reading Teacher, 62(4), 354-357.

Reeves, D. (Ed.). (2007). Ahead of the curve: The power of assessment to transform teaching and learning. Bloomington, IN: Solution Tree.

Slavin, R. (2007). Educational research in an age of accountability. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.

Stiggins, R. J., Arter, J. A, Chappius, J., & Chappius, S. (2006). Classroom assessment for student learning: Doing it right-using it well. Portland, OR: Educational Testing Service.

Walker W. L. (2005). What every teacher needs to know about assessment. Larchmont, NY: Eye on Education.

An emerging literature suggests that successful educational change entails the engagement of all students with appropriate technologies (Appel, 2007; Norris, 2001). Technologies of various sorts increasingly play a role in the lives of students and their families. Nevertheless, despite the pervasiveness of technologies in daily life, educators have been slow to incorporate technological applications into their instruction in meaningful ways (e.g., Cuban, 2001).

At present, following more than 20 years of advocacy and teacher education, commentators continue to report on the potential of computers and related technologies to bring about not only improved instruction, but radically different, progressive educational change (e.g., Giroux, 2013). However, many teachers continue to integrate technology primarily in superficial ways (Becker, 2000; Cuban, 2001; Kim & Bagaka, 2005)that fail to recognize the needs of a new generation that includes both students who have grown up in an environment saturated with digital tools that encourage multi-tasking and non-linear thinking (Jones, 2012) and students whose circumstances—impoverished rural or urban (as opposed to suburban)—exclude them from any but the most rudimentary elements of the digital environment (Becker, 2000; Kim & Bagaka, 2005). Effectively addressing vital issues related to media and technology is crucial to public education, which otherwise risks relinquishing its formative role in society (Westgate, 2010).

Effective integration of technology requires a strategy in which instructional design considerations take priority, and technological applications serve as the tools, rather than as the drivers, of design (e.g., Johnson & Maddux, 2003; Merrill, 2007; Summerville & Reid-Griffin, 2008). Moreover, the effectiveness of this strategy is closely tied to the prospect that educators will be able to “level the playing field” with respect to access to technology (Gorski, 2009; Muffoletto, 1994). Unless children from all groups are able to benefit from consistent, high-quality instruction, technologically mediated design will tend to exacerbate rather than eliminate achievement gaps. These premises as well as perspectives on more technical matters regarding technology integration are represented in the Unit’s knowledge base (see Table 5).

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