The School of Education collects and analyzes data, on an on-going basis, relative to candidate performance and unit operations related to content and pedagogical knowledge (professional and State standards), content and pedagogical performance (clinical practice), instructional planning, candidate impact on student learning, and dispositions (professional, State, and institutional). The purpose of this data collection and analysis is to evaluate the progress of candidates and to improve programs.
There are five phases of the SOE Assessment System. In phase one, the Assessment Coordinator collects, analyzes, and summarizes the assessment data at the admission, retention, and program exit checkpoints. In the second phase, summarized data from candidate assessments, including data from the six required key assessments, and unit operations are disseminated for review and discussion to: SOE faculty and staff, SOE Curriculum Committee, College of Education and Health Services, and the Teacher Education Advisory Committee, which includes school partners.
During phase three, the SOE Curriculum Committee (SOE program faculty, Chair and Assistant Chair of SOE, and the Assessment Coordinator) has the primary responsibility to analyze the assessment data related to content and pedagogical knowledge (state standards), content and pedagogical performance (clinical practice), instructional planning, candidate impact on student learning, and dispositions (professional, state, and institutional) and develop the Assessment Reports. These reports represent how these data are used to improve both candidate performance and program quality. The Assessment Reports, while based on individual assessments, are a summary of findings, faculty’s interpretations, and changes to be made at the program and unit levels.
In phase four, the SOE Curriculum Committee discusses the Assessment Reports with the SOE Department at regularly scheduled meetings throughout the academic year, and makes recommendations for ongoing program and unit improvement. During the fifth phase, these recommendations are implemented according to a specified timeline. The recommendations then become part of the Assessment System elements during the next assessment review cycle.
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After a thirty-year career as a high school math teacher, Dr. James Pelech joined the school of education in June of 2003. Dr. Pelted has earned a Doctorate in Curriculum and Social Inquiry from National Louis University, a Certificate of Advanced Studies from Concordia University, a Masters of Business Administration from Governors State University, and a Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics from Saint Norbert College.
As a mathematics teacher at Richards High School in Oak Lawn, Illinois, he was instrumental in working with the writing across the curriculum initiative and the new teacher mentoring program. He was the first mathematics teacher at the school to participate and complete the “Content Area Reading Program.” Additionally, Dr. Pelted initiated cross-curriculum activities in which he worked with pilots to demonstrate how mathematics is used in flying and navigating a plane. This resulted in receiving a grant to enhance this program, and also led to the introduction of Problem-Based Learning in all of his classes. He was a member of the school’s North Central Accreditation Team, and in 2003 was Richards High School’s nominee for the “Excellence in Education Award.”
Here at Benedictine, Dr. Pelech is using action research to enhance student learning, including the application of the Constructivist philosophy in his classes. He has had two books published by Information Age Publishing. The first one, The Comprehensive Handbook of Constructivist Teaching: From Theory to Practice, examines how to incorporate the Constructivist philosophy into one’s daily teaching. The second book, Guide to Transforming Teaching Through Self-Inquiry, examines the use of the Constructivist theory to monitor such teacher activities as personal journal writing, research, and professional development. He has had articles published in the Mathematics Teacher, the Journal for the Practical Application of Constructivist Theory in Education, and the Journal for Research in Education. He also serves as a peer reviewer for numerous professional journals.
In terms of professional development, Dr. Pelech is very involved in a wide range of professional activities and organizations. He is President of the Association for Constructivist Teaching, an international organization comprised of teachers, administrators, and researches from America, Mexico, Poland, and China. He has presented at conferences across America and in Mexico. He has worked as a professional developer with teachers from California and upstate New York. He was one of the founding members of the Benedictine/Saint Ethelreda partnership. In this capacity he works with teachers to improve their teaching; this includes co-teaching at different grade levels. He is also President of the Saint Ethelreda School Board, this past year the National Catholic Education Association awarded the Saint Ethelreda Board the "Outstanding Board" Award..