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Institutions of Higher Education Mapping Project

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  1. Institutions of Higher Education Mapping Project Board of Early Education and Care Bridgewater State University March 8, 2011

  2. IHE Mapping Project: Speakers • RavithaAmarasingham (panelist) • Bristol Community College • Phil Baimas • Department of Early Education and Care • Melissa Cardelli (panelist) • Bristol Community College • Katie DeVita (presenter) • Department of Early Education and Care • Erin Oldham LaChance (presenter) • Oldham Innovative Research • Greg Nelson (panelist) • Bridgewater State University • Francesca Purcell (panelist) • Department of Higher Education

  3. Why the Higher Ed Mapping Project? • Identified as an objective in the MA Head Start Collaboration Office FY10 Strategic Plan: • Develop outreach strategies and statewide partnerships with IHEs to promote increased access to ECE degree programs and assist educators with degree attainment • Ensure information about (degree) programs is available to educators • Map existing degree programs and areas not aligned to create plan to assist educators • Assess capacity of IHEs to support early educators regarding: articulation agreements, professional development and career advancement plans and practices • Supporting work of State Advisory Council (SAC) facilitating Higher Education Workforce Preparation Partnerships around data infrastructure and access

  4. Workforce Task Force: Articulation and Credit for Prior Learning Committee • Goal…“to help students succeed in meeting their educational goals.” • Articulation and transfer agreements are a shared responsibility among IHE leaders, faculty and administrators; state agencies and legislatures; and students (and employers) • Recommended strengthening statewide transfer policies and practices

  5. Staff Qualifications *QRIS level 1 meets licensing requirements

  6. IHE Mapping Project: Phase I • In April 2010 EEC in collaboration with the MA Head Start Collaboration Office contracted with Oldham Innovative Research, Inc to: • Create a single repository of information for higher ed. programs that lead to certificates and degrees in ECE or elementary education; • Map current network of 2 and 4 year public and private IHEs in MA; • Create program profiles

  7. Bridgewater State University This information was provided by staff at Bridgewater State University and/or taken from their website. This information was accurate as of June 2010 but may have changed since then. Please see Bridgewater’s website at http://www.bridgew.edu/ for the most up-to-date information

  8. Bridgewater State University For more information on Bridgewater State University, please see the Department of Early Education and Care website [1] Information from MA Department of Higher Education Admission and Transfer site http://www.mass.edu/forstudents/admissions/transfercompacts.asp

  9. Phase I: Key Findings from 28 IHEs • Degree programs include: 14 associate’s, 9 bachelor’s, and 11 master’s; • 15 offer a concentration in ECE and 14 have ECE related certificates; • 89% offer evening coursework for non-traditional students; • 11% offer courses taught in languages other than English; and • 57% of two-year and 50% of four-year align courses with EEC Core Competencies • Further coordination and collaboration around the Mass Transfer Compact is needed.

  10. Phase I: Recommendations for EEC and Accomplishments Recommendation: Provide a current inventory of ECE certificate and degree programs Action Step: Phase I final report and fact sheets online Action Step:OIR continuing to map ECE Certificate and degree programs Recommendation:Provide objective and professional educational consultation services through local entities Action Step: EPS grantees provide academic and career counseling and help educators to develop IPDPs at the local level Recommendation:Continue to collaborate with DHE and IHEs Action Step: Transfer Compact, EPS grant, course development (ARRA funds), Readiness Centers

  11. Phase I: Recommendations forEEC and Accomplishments contd. Recommendation: Map alignment of accreditation standards, core competencies, and IHE courses Action Step: Phase II includes alignment of core competencies Recommendation: Share best practices and the need for providing supports for ELL students Action Step: EPS grant provides opportunities for grantees to share best practices; grant supports ESOL, ABE, and developmental coursework Action Step: Dual Language Education Policies and Guidelines Recommendation: Explore demand for school age certificate and degree programs and options for OST educators Action Step: EPS grant has shown an increase in PD opportunities for school age/ OST educators Action Step: Lowdemand for certificates continues

  12. Phase I: Recommendations for the System and Accomplishments • Increase number of ECE bachelor’s degree programs • Increase availability of intensive and on-line classes for bachelor’s and master’s degrees • Utilize Ed Specialist/Career Counselors • Host information sessions for students • Disseminate ECE Transfer Compact fact sheets • Facilitate focus groups to gather more detailed information

  13. IHE Phase II Mapping Project: Course Alignment Preliminary Findings Dr. Erin Oldham LaChance

  14. Purpose of IHE Phase II Study • Second Phase of IHE Project focused on identifying ways to increase transferability of early childhood courses across Institutes of Higher Education (IHE) by examining and identifying courses common to IHEs so as to encourage and ease the process of transferability. • The ultimate purpose is to make it easier for students to transfer courses from one institution to another and to create a clear pathway towards degree attainment. • A secondary purpose was to map the identified common courses to one or more EEC Core Competency • A special project was to determine whether it is possible to compare syllabi as a better way of determining transferability between courses. 18

  15. Scope of IHE Phase II Study • Scope of Study: The intention of the study was to look broadly across 33 IHEs at early childhood degrees to identify courses that would be candidates for transfer and then to examine those courses in some depth to encourage and ease the process of transferability. • Lessoned Learned from Phase I: Information gathered from IHEs needs to be verified by an actual person (not from websites which are often out of date) especially as all of this information is considered politically sensitive. • Because we knew we had limited time and money (4 months, $15k), to ensure that we focused on the courses with the strongest potential for transferability we targeted our study by: • Focusing on Early Childhood Education degrees (not Out of School Time or K-12). • Focusing on required courses (not general education, elective, practicum, or seminar courses). Initial review included 1000 courses. Final categorization includes 378 courses. • Research phase is complete; verification phase is on-going; summary of findings continuing. 19

  16. Targeted Methodology for Phase II Reviewed required courses for Early Childhood Education degree and certificate programs at 33 IHEs Identified common course themes within the reviewed courses Gathered in-depth information on targeted courses from course catalogs and websites Analyzed course descriptions to determine potential transferability Analysis process: Two team members separately read course descriptions by theme (e.g., all “Intro to ECE” courses) to determine course objectives and key terms. Then a team of three came together to determine which courses were similar in content and objectives. Any courses that did not align were removed from the category. Some themes were further divided into subthemes. 5. Aligned courses with one or more EEC Core Competencies 20

  17. Targeted Methodology Phase II (Continued) • 6. Contacted ECE department heads to: • Verify accuracy of collected data and garner additional information • Collect syllabi for targeted courses • Identify institutional policies on transferability • 7. Conducted preliminary analysis of syllabi of one course to determine usefulness of syllabi in determining transferability. • 8. Created theme-based fact sheets on potentially transferable courses for use by EEC, IHEs, and students. • 9. Developed sortable database with detailed course information on 378 courses across 33 IHEs. Sortable by multiple variables including: degree, school name, EEC course competency address, theme, and number of credits. 21

  18. Preliminary Phase II Findings Related to the ECE Compact • Our findings are in alignment with the Early Childhood Education Compact (2011 revision). In an independent examination, we found common course themes that were closely aligned with the course requirements for the early childhood education compact. • Thus, IHEs should not have to make many changes or additions to their course load for the compact to work at their school. • As noted in the ECE Compact, a coordinating committee will assist campuses in developing courses that meet the ESE and EEC core content knowledge requirements. Information from this project can be used by the coordinating committee. • This project also provides evidence of transferability between private and public schools. This has the potential to expand students’ options for a clear pathway towards achievement of a degree. 22

  19. Preliminary Phase II Findings Transferability Policies and Procedures • IHEs have policies and procedures around transferability, but transfer of ECE credits and courses is mainly individualized from institution to institution. However, we are able to identify some trends from an online survey/interviews with 19 IHEs. • Certain foundational/introductory courses (e.g., Introduction to Early Childhood Education, Child Growth and Development) were accepted for credit, many of which are outlined in articulation agreements; and • Many institutions consider the possibility of prior coursework being counted as an elective • When IHEs are considering transferability, they tend to look at • the content of the course, which typically includes a transcript review, an examination of the course descriptions, one-on-one discussions with individual students about courses and if necessary, a review of syllabi; • whether or not the credits obtained were from an accredited institution; and • whether the student achieved a grade of a C or better in courses that were deemed transferable. 23

  20. Preliminary Phase II Findings Trends in Course Transferability • Course descriptions are the most effective method for determining transferability • Course numbers are not a clear indicator of transferability • Syllabi are not a clear indicator of transferability • There are course themes with common courses that clearly lend themselves to transferability across IHEs. These are areas where IHEs could be encouraged to create or expand their articulation agreements. 24

  21. Example: Course similarity within theme of “Guiding and Interacting with Children” “In this course, students will look at the relationship of physical space, time, curriculum and instruction in creating the positive and effective learning environments for young children, birth to age 12. Introducing practical principles andtechniquesfor providing developmentally appropriate guidance for all children, emphasis is placed on encouraging self-esteem, cultural awareness, effective communication skills, direct/indirect techniques/strategies and observation to understand the underlying causes of behavior. Upon completion, students will demonstrate appropriate interactions with children and families and promote conflict resolution, self-control, self-motivation, and self-esteem in children.” “This course focuses on teacher’s attitudes and effective communication in guiding behavior. Emphasis is placed ontechniqueswhich help children build positive self concepts and individual strengths within the context of appropriate limits and discipline. The course will customize and meet the specific needs of infant toddler and/or preschool settings.” “This course covers the study of effective communication in guiding behavior. The course emphasizes techniques that help children build positiveself-conceptsand individual strengths within the context of appropriate limits and discipline.” 25

  22. Preliminary Phase II Findings Core Competency Alignment • There is a cohesiveness between five core competencies and the required courses in the areas below. These are areas that are ripe for transferability. • #1: Growth and Development of Children and Youth • #2: Guiding and Interacting with Children and Youth • #3: Partnering with Families and Communities • #5: Learning Environments and Implementing Curriculum • #6: Observation, Assessment, and Documentation • There are two common course themes (i.e. Introduction to Early Childhood Education & Working with Children with Special Needs) that cross multiple core competencies. These are also areas where there is good transferability. • Transferability may be more complex for the curriculum courses. There is a great variety of courses from math and science curriculum to encouraging creativity in children. • Three EEC Core Competencies are not consistently represented in required courses. However, these are areas that are likely covered by professional development (e.g. training for providers). It may be duplicative to cover these areas in higher education. • #4: Health, Safety, and Nutrition • #7: Program Planning and Development • #8: Professionalism and Leadership 26

  23. Preliminary Phase II Findings Core Competency Alignment 26

  24. Preliminary Phase II Findings Trends across Degree Programs • Required courses for associates and certificate degrees are generally more similar than bachelor programs. This is likely related to the short, concentrated timeframe and focus of the ECE degrees. This results in many courses being easily transferable between certificate and associates degrees. • There is less overlap between required courses within bachelors degrees and across AA and BA degrees. This is likely related to to specificity and specialization of programs, courses, and concentrations. BA degree programs are likely purposely distinct and unique considering their desire to attract a limited number of students. Additionally, with four years worth of courses, BA programs can afford to offer distinct and unique courses that likely do not lend themselves to being transferred to other institutions. 28

  25. Methodological Limitations • Findings are preliminary! Still receiving information from IHEs and still verifying course information. • Findings only represent trends among required courses due to the scope of the study. There are additional courses (elective, practicum) that address EEC core competencies and would be eligible for transfer among IHEs. • Collection of course syllabi from IHEs was partially successful • Syllabi seen as professors’ “intellectual property.” Unable to obtain syllabi from all IHEs. • Syllabi are not necessarily up to date. (Some required courses not currently offered due to low enrollment, for example.) • Syllabi are very individual and difficult to compare (e.g., course objectives vary in length from one paragraph to two pages). Could not determine a means of comparing the syllabi in an objective manner (e.g. How do you compare the merits of two different textbooks or one group of articles to another group of articles in an objective manner) 29

  26. Next (Action) Steps… • Action Step: Work with private and public IHEs to increase transferability of courses across those institutions. • Action Step: Use information from this project to bolster the reasons for IHEs to comply with ECE Transfer Compact. • Action Step: Place an emphasis in EEC conversations on transferability between two and four year institutions as there is less consistency in transfer polices despite state initiatives. • Action Step: Build upon best practices being used at some IHEs to clearly explain to students which courses transfer and which are required to be taken at the particular IHE (e.g., Gregory Nelson’s work at Bridgewater State) 30

  27. Next (Research) Steps… • Research Step: Examine elective courses for transferability and alignment with core competencies. Include information in database. • Research Step: Examine practicum courses for transferability and alignment with core competencies. Especially important now that practicum courses are included in the ECE Compact. Include information in database. • Research Step: Determine how and to what extent the following core competencies are being met by professional development: Health, Safety, and Nutrition; Program Planning and Development; and Professionalism and Leadership • Research Step: Continue to include IHEs in the development of this process. Continue to gather IHEs concerns and innovations to build buy-in and increase the likelihood of compliance and appreciation of efforts to increase transferability between courses. • Research Step: Consider including students in the development of this process. Consider gathering students’ opinions on usability of information provided on EEC’s website and in working with IHEs on course transfer. 31

  28. Next Steps for OIR… • To complete this project, OIR will: • Call department heads who have not yet responded to our questions about institutional policies and procedures for transfer • Contact all IHEs for second verification of cataloged course information • Complete analysis of findings and submit final report by April 1, 2011 32