LSSU Response to

Periodic Review/Program Evaluation Recommendations

 

Recommendations from Review Panel Regarding Programs to Prepare

Teachers of BIOLOGY (DA)

 

August 6, 2006

 

The faculty at Lake Superior State University appreciate the opportunity to provide additional information and address the concerns noted in the careful review of the Biology (DA) application submitted in February 2005.  The items noted in the July 6, 2006 recommendations have been separated below into a numbered list to facilitate careful analysis of each point.  All changes made in response to the recommendations of the reviewers have been posted to the LSSU PR/PE website: http://education.lssu.edu/PRPE.  Changes (as noted in the narrative below) to the application are noted with bold text on the main page, and hyperlinks are provided to the Revised Standards Matrix for the DA program.

 

We believe we have made a careful effort to address the points noted by the reviewers, yet if additional questions arise, or we can further clarify the strengths of our program, we look forward to the opportunity to address those issues as well.  We thank the reviewers for their careful and thoughtful analysis. 


 

Program Review Comment/Response

 

Dear Review Panel Member: Standards 2 through 11 are prefaced with the statement “the preparation of high school biology teachers will enable teachers to …  Our perspective in preparing the narrative for Standards 2-11 was to frame our thinking in the context of teacher specific training.  The syllabi for the content classes in biology do not generally specifically detail the education related outcomes of their courses, any more than they identify the specific ancillary outcomes related to the preparation of pre-service doctors, firefighters, biologists, environmental health specialists or engineers.  The content of these standards are present in the biology courses, but the application to the secondary classroom is implicit for education students, and explicit in TE443 and the program field experiences.  To ask for elaboration of the “teacher candidate activities” in a biology course fails to recognize that the disciplinary courses serve many functions – all related primarily to the content area for which that course is preparing individuals.

 

Standards 3.5.1, 3.5.2, 3.5.4, and 3.5.5 cite a detailed outline in the syllabus for BL337.  However, the detailed outline is not present with the syllabus.  Therefore, reviewers were unable to confirm that these standards were covered.

 

We regret the omission of the expanded syllabus for BL337 General Ecology (Aug06) in the original hyperlinks.  A revised syllabus is now accessible and linked from the pages where it is referenced.   Key concepts from the course are identified clearly, and have been listed in the revised standards matrix as appropriate.

 

The textbook (Dodson et. al. Ecology Oxford University Press 1998), serving as one base of content knowledge, addresses the following topics:

1. WHAT IS ECOLOGY? 
Looking at Nature from Different Perspectives
2. PEOPLE AND NATURE 
Understanding the Changing Interactions Between People and Ecological Systems
3. LANDSCAPE ECOLOGY 
Living in a Mosaic
4. ECOSYSTEM ECOLOGY 
Integrated Physical, Chemical and Biological Processes
5. PHYSIOLOGICAL ECOLOGY
Tradeoffs for Individuals
6. BEHAVIORAL ECOLOGY
Investigating the Adaptive Value of Behavior
7. POPULATION ECOLOGY
The Waxing and Waning of Populations
8. COMMUNITY ECOLOGY
The Issue at the Center

 

Reviewers were unable to confirm that some standards, cited in relation to BL131, are met.  Please elaborate on how teacher candidate activities in BL131, particularly in the laboratory portions, address the following standards:

 

  • Standard 2.0 – construct new knowledge by using research, reading and discussion, and reflect in an informed way. . .

Student driven enquiry is a key component of many of our biology courses. BIOL 131 and BIOL132 in particular have student driven enquiry labs written into the syllabus as part of an NSF-funded Course Curriculum and Laboratory Improvement Grant. The labs incorporate use of reflective written assignments (in the form of a ‘scholar’s notebook’) and students work in teams for the final lab assignment which is a student-designed experiment to test a student-selected hypothesis. BIOL310 (Animal Physiology) and BIOL337 (Ecology) also use major lab assignments involving students testing hypotheses of their own devising. Most biology classes require students to do value-add reviews of journal articles. Our research sequence (BIOL 199, 299 and 399) require literature review assignments and the senior thesis project (BIOL495/BIOL499) require students to use research, reading and reflection to add new knowledge.

 

Teacher candidates in TE443 explicitly discuss these topics through our analysis of the textbook readings by  Chiappetta addressing the nature and purposes of science education

Chapter 1  Thoughts and Actions of Beginning Science Teachers

·         Thoughts and Actions of Beginning Science

·         Informed and Uninformed Science Teaching

·         Assessing and Reviewing

·         References

Chapter 2  Purpose of Science Teaching

·         Goals and Purposes of Science Education from 1980 to the Present

·         Conclusion

·         Assessing and Reviewing

·         Resources

·         References

 

 

  • Standard 4.0 – develop an understanding and appreciation for the nature of scientific inquiry;

As stated above, the extensive use of student driven enquiry, culminating in the senior thesis experience, illustrates the understanding and appreciation for the nature of scientific inquiry. We also stress in BIOL131, BIOL132 and in nearly all biology classes how we know what we know.

 

 Teaching science through inquiry is the subject of Chiappetta’s tenth chapter which is discussed in TE443 during our review of chapter 10.

Chapter 10  Inquiry and Teaching Science

·        What is Inquiry?

·        Content and Process as They Relate to Inquiry and Discovery Learning

·        Strategies and Techniques for Conducting Inquiry-Based Instruction

·        Grouping and Cooperative Learning

·        Concerns Associated with Inquiry-Based Instruction

·        Assessing and Reviewing

·        Resources to Examine

·        References

 

 

 

  • Standard 5.0 – relate the concepts of biology to contemporary, historical, technological and societal issues. . .

Biology touches any number of contemporary, historical, technological and societal issues. A few of these include global climate change, environmental contamination,  endangered species and human-caused extinctions,  advances in medical technology, health impacts of lifestyle choices, effects of environmental change on human health, role of environmental conditions on historical cultures. While these topics are not explicitly shown as topic units in syllabi, such topics are covered throughout the biology curriculum.

 

For teacher ed students, the subjects of science, technology and society are covered specifically in Chiappetta’s 12th Chapter as part of the TE443, Science Methods, course:

 

Chapter 12  Science, Technology, and Society

·         A Rationale for STS

·         What is Technology?

·         Technological Products, Systems, and Processes

·         STS Issues and Problems

·         STS Curriculum Programs

·         Considerations for STS Instruction

·         Evolution Versus Creationism in Science Teaching

·         Assessing and Reviewing

·         Resources to Examine

·         References

 

 

  • Standard 6.0 – apply mathematics, including statistics, to investigations in biology/life sciences and the analysis of data;

Statistics is a core skill for biologists. We have incorporated statistical methods into BL131 General Biology I  and BL132 General Biology II lab assignments. Biostatistics (BL280 Biometrics) is required of all biology majors, with a prerequisite of MA207.  Most labs in the biology curriculum include the graphical and statistical analysis of data.

BL280 Biometrics Biostatistics - Prerequisites: MA207 - Principles of Statistical Methods or adequate background in use of math in biology, spreadsheet experience helpful, proficiency in algebra helpful. Strong interest in using math for addressing biological research problems

 

  • Standard 10.0 – create and maintain an educational environment in which conceptual understand will occur for all science students. . . Especially, provide additional documentation explaining how teacher candidate activities provide experiences that encompass all students.

The syllabi for content area courses describe the content focused learning objectives and activities.  These courses are used by many major and minors.  There are generally no teacher-specific outcomes for teacher candidates identified in the syllabi, nor are there engineering- or biology- or criminalistics- or environmental health-specific outcomes explicit in the syllabi.  The content courses provide the foundation knowledge, and model learning activities focusing on the application of that knowledge.  

 

The education courses bring the content together with the pedagogy, and through extensive pre-student teaching field experiences, and an extended student teaching internship, these are put into practice in the secondary classroom under the supervision and mentorship of a highly qualified practicing teacher.  The issues of diverse learners in science instruction is specifically and explicitly discussed in Chiappetta’s eighth chapter during TE443, the Secondary Science Methods course
 

Chapter 8  Diverse Adolescent Learners and Their Schools

·         Student Diversity

·         Equity in Science Education

·         Cultural and Linguistic Diversity

·         Gender-Inclusiveness

·         Exceptionalities

·         Adolescents' School Science Experience

·         Assessing and Reviewing

·         Resources to Examine

 

 

Standard 7.0 – understand and promote the maintenance of a safe science classroom as identified by the Council of State Science Supervisors (CSSS) . . .  Please provide additional information as to how the teacher candidates are directed to or become knowledgeable of CSSS guidelines.  For example, perhaps cite the website (http://www.csss-science.org/downloads/scisafe.pdf) in the syllabi for TE443 and some of the biology courses.

TE443 is the best and most relevant place to hold a discussion of the supervision of a safe science learning environment.  Laboratory safety is essential, and explicitly discussed in the first biology course BL131, in at the beginning of each biology course.  However the discussion in a university laboratory centers on university student safety, not on the implications for science activities performed in distant (both physically and conceptually) secondary classrooms.  In the science methods course we hold discussion regarding the Council of State Science Supervisors, illustrate reference sources such as Flinn Scientific Catalogs for laboratory/school safety, and we provide discipline specific information on laboratory safety, and practice laboratory safety inspections.  We have used several different science methods textbooks over time, but each has given special attention to this important matter in a separate chapter in the textbook on science safety.  The table of contents for Chiappetta’s book, referenced in the TE443 syllabus, has been provided for the reviewer’s reference.  The chapter on laboratory safety, given a week’s instructional time in our course, addresses the discipline specific safety needs for each field of study.  Teacher candidates prepare summaries of the textbook readings, and consistently relate their appreciation for the discipline specific discussion of safety topics.  For example, the handling of animals in a biology class, the handling and disposal of waste from chemistry, and the health hazards of some minerals in earth/space science classes.

 

We wish the reviewers to consider that not every web reference provided in our comprehensive secondary science methods textbook can be expected to also be present in the syllabus.  Further, it is not an explicit goal of every science course to specifically and explicitly address the teaching standards for pre-service teacher candidates.  Some outcomes, and their application into the secondary classroom, occur through the integration of pedagogical and content knowledge – a process which requires analytical synthesis and internalization of deep science knowledge in powerful learning environments associated with the field placements.  For example, electrical engineers may be concerned about the use of ground fault interrupt circuits, but that need not be an explicitly stated in the general chemistry syllabus – even if we do have and use them in our laboratories.  Nevertheless, we recognize the intent of the reviewers, and have added reference to the CSSS resources to selected course syllabi.    Laboratory safety is the topic of Chiappetta’s 14th chapter, which is discussed in TE443.

Chapter 14  Safety in the Laboratory and Classroom

·        Introduction

·        Safety and the Law

·        General Safety Responsibilities

·        Safety Goggles and Eye Protection

·        Specific Safety Guidelines for Biology

·        Specific Safety Guidelines for Chemistry

·        Safety in the Earth Science Laboratory

·        Safety Guidlines for Physics and Physical Science Laboratories

·        Radiation Safety

·        Safety Units for Students

·        Assessing and Reviewing

·        Resources to Examine

·        References

 

 

 

Standard 8.0 - . . . design and conduct inquiry-based open-ended investigations. . . Reviewers were unable to confirm that this was happening in the cited courses.

Laboratory experiences, required in every course in the program, integrally incorporate learner investigations.  Laboratory experiences totaling over 330 hours are required in the major, and over 210 for the minor.  During this time students gain invaluable experience in the processes and procedures for implementing biological investigations.  Preparing teacher candidates to lead inquiry-based open-ended investigations begins with training university students in the concepts and skills of chemical analysis, and finds its fruition in the classroom experiences of the field experience and the discussions of TE443.  As stated above, student-driven enquiry and open ended investigations are a hallmark of the biology curriculum from BIOL131 through the senior thesis experience. The teacher candidate applies these principles in developing activities for their secondary classrooms.  The institution has led EPA funded grants with several local districts to assist the secondary students to become active in water quality monitoring of local streams.  Through these collaborative projects our faculty, and graduates-now-teachers, have worked to apply the techniques of the university classroom to the real-world contexts of the secondary student’s world.  TE443 discusses constructivist learning theory and its application to the classroom as discussed in Chiappetta.  See also our response to Standard 10.0.

Chapter 9  Learning in Middle Grades and Secondary Schools

Introduction

·         Cognitive Approaches and Strategies for Teaching Science in a Constructivist Manner

·         Assessing and Reviewing

·         Resources to Examine

·         References

 

 

Standard 11.0 - . . . as observed during the directed teaching experience.  Cited course does not appear to be a directed (student) teaching experience.

Our program is currently structured, and approved by the State Board of Education, to include a post-baccalaureate student teaching experience.  Thus, a specific undergraduate course in the undergraduate program does not contain the directed student teaching experience.  Furthermore, student teaching experience is not required of individuals seeking additional endorsements, thus citing the requirement of an undergraduate course requirement in that context would not be appropriate.  Because of this, our understanding of the question was framed in the context of providing supervised field experiences in biology.  Our students have extensive pre-service student teaching experiences as documented below.  Furthermore, because of our two-semester student teaching requirement, students have extended supervised teaching in biology prior to certification.

 

Field experience, in classrooms related to their levels and subjects of certification, are required in TE 250, 301, 430, 431, 440, and 443.  Each course requires 15 clock hours of field experience in the subjects of their training, e.g. chemistry, for a total preservice field experience requirement totaling a minimum of 90 hours.  The requirements for these field experiences are described in our Field Experience Guidelines which apply to candidates AFTER Admission.  These guidelines are part of the school policy documents and are posted online at http://education.lssu.edu/All%20forms.html.  The candidates submit their field logs using the LSSU form F325-b -a Field Experience Log for courses TE301 and above (includes a reflective narrative), and candidates submit  F320-b Field Experience Log for TE250 experiences.  Additional narrative is provided in Section 5 of the Program Application narrative.  The field experience requirements are discussed in the Undergraduate handbook, available online, but also excerpted below:

 

Field Experience Expectations

Field experience for TE 150, TE 250, and TE 400 level classes

outside of the Sault Area School District will be arranged by the

individual student. Arrangements for field experience in the Sault

Area Schools will be handled through the office of the Field

Placement Director.

·         Canadian students may complete their field experience in the K-12 schools in Ontario.

·         Field experience for TE 301 will be arranged by the Field Placement Director in cooperation with the course instructor.

·         All placements for the internship year will be made by the Field Placement Director.

TE 491/492 Internship in Teaching Diverse Learners I and II

Teacher Interns will begin their academic courses on campus in

mid-August before reporting to their K-12 assignments. The

teaching internship begins in the field when teachers report for their

fall semester or at the completion of the August classes on campus.

Interns are expected to be with their assigned cooperating teachers

during the school year. A calendar of activities related to the

internships will be distributed to all interns, cooperating teachers,

school administrators and university supervisors.

Students will be asked to identify the geographical area within

LSSU service area where they would like to serve their internship

year. The School of Education will attempt to place the students

where they desire. However, there is no guarantee, actual or

implied, that internships will be provided in these areas. Students

are not allowed to do their internship at a school where a family

member is employed and will not be placed in a school district

where a family member is an administrator or on the school board.

Students who attempt to establish their own internship placement

without going through the process as established by the Field

Placement Director may jeopardize their placement for that given

academic year.

 

 

 

Standard 9.0 -  . . . teaching through investigative experiences . . . application of the scientific process . . .  TE443 is the only course cited for meeting this standard.  Reviewers request additional information showing how this standard is covered in biology courses, too.

Biology is an extensively laboratory and field based curriculum.  There is a required laboratory component for nearly all the  courses in the program.  These laboratories focus on investigative experiences and the application of the scientific process (evidenced by the laboratory activities described in each syllabus).    These laboratories have as their focus the university teaching individuals (teacher candidates, pre-professional students, pre-engineering students, pre-firefighters and others) through and about investigative scientific processes.  The teacher candidate then uses these skills and applies them in the context of their pre-service field experiences (90 hrs prior to student teaching, and generally two semesters of supervised student teaching under the direction of a highly qualified science educator).  Chiappetta’s 13th chapter on laboratory work is discussed in TE443 where teacher candidates relate their experiences in the many chemistry laboratories to their new role as teacher and coordinator of student learning in laboratory.

Chapter 13  Laboratory and Field Work

·        What is Laboratory Work?

·        Preparing Students for Laboratory Experiences

·        Ensuring Successful Laboratory Experiences

·        Fieldwork

·        Assessing and Reviewing

·         Resources to Examine

·         References

 

Instructional Faculty table:

  • Express what the institution is doing to ensure that all faculty members are participating in professional development opportunities.  Three of eight members do not list professional development of any kind.

The university provides an annual allocation for each faculty member to pursue professional development.  Attendance and participation at national and regional conferences are common, as are use of these funds for instructional technology and instructional resources (books, subscriptions, etc).   The annual review of faculty, both in the school of education and in the schools and departments across campus, has as part of the contractual obligation, the preparation and assessment of a personal professional development plan.  Reference to, and the criteria of, this plan can be found in the faculty handbook.  The institution makes sufficient opportunity for faculty to avail themselves of professional development opportunities.  The faculty may then take the opportunity to report of the details of their individual activities the purpose of this report and the MDE review panel.

 

 

  • Explain what the institution is planning to do to increase biology faculty experience with and knowledge of K-12 Michigan Curriculum Framework and assessment.  Currently, only one of eight faculty members listed familiarity with MCF and MEAP.

The School of Education will work with the Eastern Upper Peninsula Intermediate School District and the EUP Math/Science Center to hold faculty training sessions in the fall of 2006 to redress the issue of awareness of the MCF and MEAP.  We recognize the importance of this awareness, and that our making the disciplinary faculty aware of the requirement did not equate with their participating in the training opportunities that were offered in the past.  We have the support of our Provost/Academic VP to promote this training and are confident that we will make significant inroads into raising the awareness of our content-area faculty.  A letter of support from the EUPIDS is copied below.

 

-------- Original Message --------

Subject:

Re: fall faculty training

Date:

Thu, 20 Jul 2006 15:34:07 -0400

From:

Michelle Ribant <mribant@eup.k12.mi.us>

To:

David Myton <dmyton@lssu.edu>

References:

<44BFB3B0.8000205@lssu.edu>



Dave - We at the Eastern Upper Peninsula Intermediate School District, especially the General Education staff, will be most willing to conduct either half day or short seminar presentations to your staff on the content specific Michigan Curriculum Frameworks and the associated Grade Level Content Expectations (the assessment piece) as well as the very new High School Content Expectations.  I am imagining that you will want to either have a large group session with Math, Science, Language Arts and Social Studies professors and then maybe breakouts around the specific contents?  The large group could then come back together or meet a second time for a short period to talk about the ramifications of testing; MEAP, AYP, NCLB?  We could also work with each group separately. Your call as to what would work best with the faculty.  The first week of school is typically a good week for us as our districts are extremely busy getting things underway.  If that week would work for you, pick some dates, times and we will go from there.  Michelle Ribant, Curriculum Coordinator, EUPISD

                         --------------------------

In addition, The Biology Department also hosts a number of summer camps each summer. These camps include week-long day camps for grade 3-4 and 5-6 students and a  week-long residential camp for HS students. This past summer, we held a residential camp for middle school students. We plan to continue to offer these camps. All Biology faculty are invited to participate in these camps. This past summer, four faculty members led instructional sessions in these camps.

 

  • Provide additional explanation for how stream monitoring, being a biomuseum curator, and presenting on career day qualify as P-12 collaborative opportunities for biology faculty.

The department, which finds its primary interests and faculty focus centered on the preparation of professional biologists, doctors, fisheries and wildlife biologists, and other pre-professionals, maintain active and ongoing international research agendas, and nationally recognized curriculum reform efforts, may not necessarily find time for collaborative opportunities with regional teachers from our extremely large and remote region.  On the whole, the science faculty at the university have good representation on regional science initiatives, with the School of Education chairman, this author, a tenured professor of chemistry.  The planetarium, and modest museum exhibits associated with our science building, provided opportunities for regional teachers to bring their classes to the university, for dialog with teachers, and for input from the EUPISD and Math/Science Center staff to address MCF/GLCE topics with our faculty.  These discussions have been fruitful and rewarding – and serve to connect our faculty with the teachers in the region which we serve.  One faculty member, this author, has been able to participate in grant-funded teacher training (AMAESD Title II Grant), MDE Math/Science Curriculum Integration workshop (Marquette in Summer 2006), conducted with the EUPISD reviews of teachers under NCLB for HQ status, participated in NES sponsored MTTC test review panels and had extensive training in issues related to teacher preparation.  The opportunities to participate in such experiences are limited in number, and frequently conflict with on-campus teaching duties for most faculty.

 

The biology department also runs a volunteer stream monitoring program. One faculty member (G. Zimmerman) is the director of this program and other faculty members help support the program through technical advice. Volunteers include local students in grades 7 through 12 as well as local primary and secondary school teachers. We also provide in-class instruction for elementary through secondary teachers on a by-request basis.

 

 

 

Reviewers request that the institution provide additional information about how teacher candidates gain biology-specific pre-service field experiences in course work outside of TE 443.

 

Field experience, in classrooms related to their levels and subjects of certification, are required in TE 250, 301, 430, 431, 440, and 443.  Each course requires 15 clock hours of field experience in the subjects of their training, e.g. chemistry, for a total preservice field experience requirement totaling a minimum of 90 hours.  The requirements for these field experiences are described in our Field Experience Guidelines which apply to candidates AFTER Admission.  These guidelines are part of the school policy documents and are posted online at http://education.lssu.edu/All%20forms.html.  The candidates submit their field logs using the LSSU form F325-b -a Field Experience Log for courses TE301 and above (includes a reflective narrative), and candidates submit  F320-b Field Experience Log for TE250 experiences.  Additional narrative is provided in Section 5 of the Program Application narrative.  The field experience requirements are discussed in the Undergraduate handbook, available online, but also excerpted below:

 

Field Experience Expectations

Field experience for TE 150, TE 250, and TE 400 level classes

outside of the Sault Area School District will be arranged by the

individual student. Arrangements for field experience in the Sault

Area Schools will be handled through the office of the Field

Placement Director.

·         Canadian students may complete their field experience in the K-12 schools in Ontario.

·         Field experience for TE 301 will be arranged by the Field Placement Director in cooperation with the course instructor.

·         All placements for the internship year will be made by the Field Placement Director.

 

It is required that all students entering into the Internship

experience carry professional liability insurance. This insurance is

offered through the office of the Uniserv Director of the Michigan

Education Association. The insurance is at a reasonable rate and

includes a student membership in the professional organization of

MEA

Additional Information

·         These field experiences are required of students as partial fulfillment of each course.

·         Students are required to provide their own transportation to and from the field sites.

·         Students are expected to dress appropriately and conduct themselves in a professional manner when working in the schools.

·         Additional field experience throughout the teaching preparation years is encouraged. Persons needing assistance in locating additional experiences may seek help from the Field Placement Director.

·         Students should report to the office at the school upon each visit.

·         Students should wear nametags when visiting the schools.

TE 250 Student Diversity and Schools

During this course students will be required to participate in 15

hours of tutoring students at the elementary or secondary levels.

This may include working with individual students, small groups

and/or large groups. Individual instructors will require evidence of

completion of this requirement and may establish other

requirements related to this experience.

TE 301 Learning Theory and Teaching Practices

The field experience for this course is an integral part of the class.

Students will be expected to spend eight class sessions in the

schools at the level in which they plan to teach. Specific

expectations for this field experience will be designed by the course

instructor.

TE 400 Level Courses

Students are expected to spend a minimum of three hours per week,

per course, engaged in classroom practice during the fall and spring

semesters working at the level of and in the area of their expertise.

Instructors of these courses will provide specific requirements for

the field experiences and required documentation.

TE 491/492 Internship in Teaching Diverse Learners I and II

Teacher Interns will begin their academic courses on campus in

mid-August before reporting to their K-12 assignments. The

teaching internship begins in the field when teachers report for their

fall semester or at the completion of the August classes on campus.

Interns are expected to be with their assigned cooperating teachers

during the school year. A calendar of activities related to the

internships will be distributed to all interns, cooperating teachers,

school administrators and university supervisors.

Students will be asked to identify the geographical area within

LSSU service area where they would like to serve their internship

year. The School of Education will attempt to place the students

where they desire. However, there is no guarantee, actual or

implied, that internships will be provided in these areas. Students

are not allowed to do their internship at a school where a family

member is employed and will not be placed in a school district

where a family member is an administrator or on the school board.

Students who attempt to establish their own internship placement

without going through the process as established by the Field

Placement Director may jeopardize their placement for that given academic year.

 

The application for approval would be improved by including links to the syllabi for all cited courses.  For example, TE250 and TE301 are referenced in part C of the Program Summary but the syllabi are not made available.  Fortunately, TE443 is also cited and does support the statements made.

The education courses required for the secondary science programs have been itemized for the reviewer’s reference, with hyperlinks to the course syllabi for professional education classes for each.