Educational Studies Unit Celebrates Continued Achievement, Recognition for Preparation of Teachers

Published on
September 03, 2019
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The Union College Educational Studies Unit begins the 2019-2020 academic year celebrating three major accomplishments that continue to reinforce the ESU’s reputation as a leader among colleges and universities preparing teachers for leadership in P-12 classrooms across the state, nation, and world.

For the third consecutive academic year, the ESU is celebrating a 100% job placement rate for its student teachers, with all twenty-two student teachers from the 2018-2019 academic year accepting job opportunities. These newly minted teachers are beginning their teaching careers in elementary, middle, and secondary classrooms across Kentucky. The ESU also celebrated a 100% job placement rate for the 2017-2018 and 2016-2017 academic years.

Additionally, student teachers for the spring 2019 and fall 2018 semesters achieved a combined first-time pass rate of 100% on the Principles of Teaching and Learning (PLT) Exam, which is a required component for teaching licensure in Kentucky. The average score on the PLT for a student teacher during this timeframe was a 171, eleven points higher than the required passing score of 160. The PLT is an assessment of a teacher candidate’s pedagogical abilities including: best practices for curriculum and instruction, P-12 students as learners, assessment and learning outcomes for P-12 learners, knowledge of professional development strategies, and classroom leadership skills. The ESU celebrated a 100% first-time pass rate on the PLT exam for the 2016-2017 academic year and a 94% first-time pass rate on the PLT exam for the 2017-2018 academic year.

ESU graduate students also have cause to celebrate licensure exam achievements. The ESU’s 2018-2019 graduates of the Master of Arts Learning and Behavioral Disorders (LBD) program also celebrated a 100% first-time pass rate on their Praxis II LBD licensure exam.

“No matter the goals society sets for its self, the success of these will always begin with highly-prepared teachers providing quality instructional leadership to all students in P-12 classrooms. Research tells us this, parents and their children tell us this, our communities continue to tell us this. Nothing will ever negate this reality. Knowing that the ESU is developing a reputation as a leader in the effort to prepare strong teachers for instructional leadership keeps us motivated for the future.” Dr. Jason Reeves, Professor of Education and Dean of the ESU notes.

When asked what others can look forward to hearing and seeing from the ESU for the 2019-2020 academic year, Dr. Reeves has a quick response. “Status quo has never been our goal in the ESU, as our history over the last decade has shown. The exciting part of success for us is asking ourselves what’s next. I can tell you we have some really great answers to that question for the 19-20 academic year.” With a laugh, Reeves adds “Stay tuned.”

In spring 2019, the ESU was recognized by results on the 2017-2018 New Teachers Survey from the Kentucky Educational Professional Standards Board (EPSB). The average percent of Kentucky colleges/universities receiving a combined (all response groups) rating of 10 on at least one of the 13 questions was 25.6%. For Union College, the average percentage was 36.4%, which exceeded the state average by nearly 11%. In fact, the Union College percentage for scoring a 10 on each question ranged from 33.3 to 46.7%, easily exceeding the overall state average. Finally, the ESU’s average score of 36.4% places it in the top three of postsecondary education programs receiving a rating of 10 on one or more survey questions, behind only Centre College and the University of Pikeville.

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