Hollins University program completers have historically demonstrated a positive impact on P-12 student learning as measured by improvements in their student test scores. The Virginia Department of Education does not make available to the public a specific set of P-12 scores associated with respective teachers nor have Virginia school districts adopted value-added measures (VAM). Instead in Virginia, most teachers prepare SMART goals to measure student progress and teacher impact. Virginia Code requires that student academic progress be included as an element of evaluating instructional staff performance. In 2011, guidelines for teacher evaluation were released and they included the use of SMART goals as a means of tying teacher performance and student progress together. These goals are S-pecific, M-easurable, A-chievable, R-ealistic, and T-imely and spell out the SMART goal acronym. A Smart goal incorporates all of these criteria and increases the likelihood of tracking progress and better ensuring success.
The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in March of 2020 led to a virtual learning environment for most of the 2020-2021 academic year. As a result, many school systems did not require teachers to define SMART goals or lacked the capacity to track student progress on those goals. In addition, teachers found themselves assigned to unexpected roles or moved through different assignments as needs in their respective schools arose; thus, even those who may have identified SMART goals often did not stay with those same students for the entire year.
Of the seven completers who responded to our survey at the close of the 2020-2021 academic year, five reported information on SMART goals progress. Four of those five teachers reported a success rate of 80% or better on student mastery of those goals. The fifth completer fell into the category of teachers whose class of students changed throughout the year; thus, the SMART goals could not be measured. The completers’ responses to SMART goals survey questions are linked here.
Satisfaction of Employers
Hollins University Education Department distributes a Satisfaction of Employers survey to employers of all our graduates at the completion of their first, second, and third years of employment. The survey asks principals to rate program completers’ performance on a scale of 1 to 4 (1 = Needs Improvement; 2 = Developing; 3 = Proficient; 4 = Exemplary) on each of the ten Interstate Teacher Assessment and Support Consortium (InTASC) standards:
- Learner Development (Average Rating = 3.29):
The teacher understands how learners grow and develop, recognizing that patterns of learning and development vary individually within and across the cognitive, linguistic, social, emotional, and physical areas, and designs and implements developmentally appropriate and challenging learning experiences.
- Learning Differences (Average Rating = 3.14):
The teacher uses understanding of individual differences and diverse cultures and communities to ensure inclusive learning environments that enable each learner to meet high standards.
- Learning Environments (Average Rating = 3.29):
The teacher works with others to create environments that support individual and collaborative learning, and that encourage positive social interaction, active engagement in learning, and self-motivation.
- Content Knowledge (Average Rating = 3.43):
The teacher understands the central concepts, tools of inquiry, and structures of the discipline(s) he or she teaches and creates learning experiences that make these aspects of the discipline accessible and meaningful for learners to assure mastery of the content.
- Application of Content (Average Rating = 3.43):
The teacher understands how to connect concepts and use differing perspectives to engage learners in critical thinking, creativity, and collaborative problem solving related to authentic local and global issues.
- Assessment (Average Rating = 3.29):
The teacher understands and uses multiple methods of assessment to engage learners in their own growth, to monitor learner progress, and to guide the teacher’s and learner’s decision making.
- Planning for Instruction (Average Rating = 3.43):
The teacher plans instruction that supports every student in meeting rigorous learning goals by drawing upon knowledge of content areas, curriculum, cross-disciplinary skills, and pedagogy, as well as knowledge of learners and the community context.
- Instructional Strategies (Average Rating = 3.14):
The teacher understands and uses a variety of instructional strategies to encourage learners to develop deep understanding of content areas and their connections, and to build skills to apply knowledge in meaningful ways.
- Professional Learning and Ethical Practice (Average Rating = 3.43):
The teacher engages in ongoing professional learning and uses evidence to continually evaluate his/her practice, particularly the effects of his/her choices and actions on others (learners, families, other professionals, and the community), and adapts practice to meet the needs of each learner.
- Leadership and Collaboration (Average Rating = 3.14):
The teacher seeks appropriate leadership roles and opportunities to take responsibility for student learning, to collaborate with learners, families, colleagues, other school professionals, and community members to ensure learner growth, and to advance the profession.
Seven principals completed our Satisfaction of Employers survey at the close of the 2020-21 academic year, indicating a response rate of 27%. Information about our efforts to increase our response rate follows in the Stakeholder Involvement section. One graduate received a rating of “2” on all ten InTASC standards, thus lowering the overall average rating; otherwise, all students received a rating of “3” or “4” on all standards except one student, who received a rating of “2” on Standard 10. A full report containing all responses can be located here.
These ratings indicate that Hollins University graduates are performing at or above the benchmark of “3” (Proficient) and, overall, employers rate our graduates’ performance as Proficient or Exemplary.
Hollins University joined the Virginia Education Assessment Collaborative (VEAC), a partnership of over 30 EPPs in the Commonwealth of Virginia, in fall 2021. The VEAC distributes a standardized Satisfaction of Employers survey and a standardized Satisfaction of Completers survey to all program completers and employers for members of the consortium. The goals of this consortium are to increase the response rate from these surveys for EPPs by streamlining the feedback that employers and administrators are asked to provide each year, to provide benchmarks for comparing performance across EPPs to help programs identify strengths and areas for improvement, and to establish common language that can be used for program improvement.
In addition to the VEAC, Hollins University is a member of the Southwest Virginia Professional Education Consortium, a “statewide mentoring initiative intended to prepare exceptional school-based teacher educators for work in a variety of mentoring roles, including but not limited to work with 1) teacher candidates in preparation for the profession, 2) new teachers who are completing on the job internships, 3) teachers in their first three years of teaching, and 4) veteran teacher engaged in coaching cycles.” This partnership enables us to collaborate with stakeholders at partnering universities, school districts, and individual schools to ensure a robust and consistent set of standards and accountability for pre-service teachers and novice teachers as well as those who support them on their journey to becoming master teachers. Our Memorandum of Understanding details the roles and responsibilities of partners in this consortium, including Institutions of Higher Education, Central Office Liaisons, Clinical Educators, and Lead Clinical Educators.
Hollins University uses multiple measures to assess our candidate competency upon completion of the program. Our Final Student Teacher Evaluation measures candidates’ performance on each of the ten InTASC Standards and is a primary instrument for assessing candidate competency. The instrument includes a 4-point rating scale (1 = Needs Improvement; 2 = Developing; 3 = Proficient; 4 = Exemplary), and a score of 3 or better on each standard is our benchmark for satisfactory performance. Both the University Supervisor and the Cooperating Teacher complete the evaluation for candidates. In 2020-21, all student teachers scored a 3 or higher in all ten InTASC categories. The average performance in each category is listed below, and the full report is linked here:
Standard 1: Learner Development Average: 3.54
Standard 2: Learning Differences Average: 3.65
Standard 3: Learning Environments Average: 3.67
Standard 4: Content Knowledge Average: 3.59
Standard 5: Application of Content Average: 3.58
Standard 6: Assessment Average: 3.61
Standard 7: Planning for Instruction Average: 3.66
Standard 8: Instructional Strategies Average: 3.67
Standard 9: Professional Learning and Ethical Practice Average: 3.67
Standard 10: Leadership and Collaboration Average: 3.73
Hollins also produces a Biennial Report every other year for the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE). This report includes, among other information, the number of completers and non-completers in each program area and the pass rates of those individuals on the Virginia Communication and Literacy Assessment (VCLA), Reading for Virginia Educators (RVE), and Praxis II Subject Assessment. The report, linked here, shows that Hollins students have a 100% pass rate on these examinations.
The Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) Instructional Personnel Verification of Licensure Endorsement Report (IPAL) contains employment and licensure details for all teachers in the Commonwealth of Virginia. This report allows universities to provide data about completers disaggregated by licensure area. The 2020-2021 IPAL report is not yet available from the VDOE.
Nonetheless, our small program enables us to easily track our program completers and their employment status, and we are pleased to report that graduates of the Hollins University Education program have tremendous success in securing employment. The details on the data below can be found in this chart:
- Hollins University graduated 37 teacher candidates from 2017-2018 through 2020-2021. Of the graduates seeking employment, 34 teacher candidates out of 36 secured employment in their licensure area, a success rate of 94% employment.
- Hollins University graduated 5 teacher candidates in 2021, and all 5 secured employment in their licensure area, a success rate of 100% employment.