Assessment and Grading
Students in the Sposato Graduate School of Education are assessed with a unique combination of traditional assignments as well as their performance as teachers.
Students in Sposato read and write hundreds of pages, as in traditional graduate programs. Final grades are the product of weekly quizzes and a rigorous final exam. Yet unlike traditional graduate programs, assessments are uniquely focused on the nitty-gritty details of effective teaching, rather than on broad theories of pedagogy and curriculum design. Some of the course assessments challenge residents to examine actual teaching video for evidence of concepts studied in class – for example, to evaluate the impact that a teacher’s movement around the room has on her/his authority with students. Other assessments call for residents to craft action plans for how they’ll build relationships with specific students, and construct lesson plans with thorough justifications for why they’re choosing certain teaching techniques.
All participants in Sposato are required to pass a high-stakes “Gateway” assessment in January. During the Gateway, students are scored for a set of mini-lessons delivered to real students. Sposato students must earn passing scores on this Gateway in order to progress to the Student Teaching Practicum. Residents are assessed on basic skills of classroom management, such as their ability to consistently respond to certain student behaviors, as well as instructional delivery, such as their ability to assess students’ thinking and deliver appropriate feedback. Residents must pass the Gateway in order to continue on in the program.
The Student Teaching Practicum
In the spring and summer practicums, Sposato students are evaluated on the following criteria:
- Ability to implement feedback: The best teachers are engaged in a continual quest to improve—whether in their first year of teaching or their 20th. Effectively responding to feedback is vital to classroom excellence.
- Overall classroom performance: Residents are evaluated based upon their ability to manage a class and to deliver rigorous, aims-driven instruction.
- Quality of curriculum: Residents are evaluated based upon the efficacy of their instructional planning.
- Teamwork and responsibility: The best teachers are outstanding professionals, thus residents are also evaluated on how well they uphold all of the non-teaching responsibilities that are essential to creating a strong school culture.
Earning the M.E.T. Degree
Recipients of the M.E.T. degree will receive their degree after the completion of their first year of full-time teaching. Degrees are only conferred after earning a passing grade on year 2 coursework, as well as concretely demonstrating effective teaching. Teaching effectiveness is assessed using a combination of principal evaluations, student survey data, student achievement data, and data from external evaluators.
Teachers who don’t hit the criteria may try again the following year.