LAREDO, TEXAS (TAMIU) - The State Board for Educator Certification (SBEC) has notified Texas A&M International University’s College of Education of its full accreditation based on students’ scores on 2012-2013 performance tests.
Last year, the College had been placed on probationary status in light of student scores on 2011-2012 performance tests. The probationary status provided an opportunity for the College to put corrective measures in place to improve test scores based on low pass rates or small numbers in demographic sub-groups by August 2013 to the SBEC-mandated benchmark of 80 percent. Some 19 other Texas university teacher education training programs were similarly affected.
The TAMIU College of Ed implemented sweeping changes, developing, revising, and reinstituting policies and procedures to meet and exceed SBEC testing mandates.
College Dean Catheryn Weitman’s corrective changes focused on four areas: raised admission requirements for Teacher Education, elevated academic standards, curricular issues, and restructured testing procedures.
According to official scores, TAMIU students clearly responded to the challenge, posting overall scores of 96 percent (59 testing); 97 percent for females (46) and 95 percent for males (13). To date, 110 students for this academic year have taken the TExES exams, posting 100 percent success in passing. Approximately 90 percent of these students passed the exams on their first attempt.
Dr. Weitman credited the collaboration of students and many faculty and staff with the rapid turn-around and successful attainment of accreditation status.
Among corrective actions taken by the College were the raising of admission standards so that only general core education courses with grades of “C” or better are accepted (regardless of where they are taken) and an oral interview, with a written sampling; elevated academic standards including limited numbers of times a student may repeat any class before changing majors, a stiffer grading scale, all content TExES exams passed prior to enrolling in Student Teaching, while all suspensions incur a long-term absence; improved curriculum which better addresses the standards.
Also, new courses in Arts and Sciences as well as in the College; a new professional core for all certification areas grounded in the TExES Professional Practices and Responsibilities, and a new foundation for all elementary programs centered on subject area readiness. Finally, restructured testing protocols are in place so that students demonstrate diagnostic readiness to sit for the TExES exam.
Additional changes aimed at improving the quality of future educators continue and include a higher 2.75 admission GPA effective this fall.