Harding University prepares education leadership candidates to conduct evaluations

Harding University | Searcy AR

Receiving the Teachscape training, and passing the subsequent assessment, will help ensure our students’ success as soon as they enter the field.
David Bangs, Ed.D., Chair of Graduate Studies

Addressing the Challenge

As part of Arkansas’s Teacher Excellence Support System (TESS), all administrators across the state must use Teachscape Focus to be trained and assessed in order to receive the credential to conduct teacher evaluations. Harding University’s Cannon-Clary College of Education wanted to find a way for students in its educational leadership course to complete the certification process prior to entering the field, an option that was not previously available.

“Receiving the Teachscape training, and passing the subsequent assessment, will help ensure our students’ success as soon as they enter the field,” said David Bangs, Ed.D., chair of graduate studies at Harding University. “Plus, since many districts are more inclined to select those who have the TESS credentialing prior to being hired, it will give our students a leg up over other applicants.”

A Collaborative Effort

Previously candidates were not even allowed to attempt the assessment to become a certified evaluator until employed as a building administrator. However, Harding University’s educational leadership team worked collaboratively with the Arkansas Department of Education (ADE) and Teachscape to find a cost-effect solution to this.

Through the organizations’ efforts, each student received a subscription to Teachscape Focus and, in turn, the opportunity to receive the training needed to complete – and pass – the certification required to conduct teacher evaluations prior to starting the job search process and entering the field.

“Our different organizations all worked hand-in-hand to achieve the common goal of having our students ‘evaluator-ready’ once they completed our program,” said Dr. Bangs. “The whole process was really quite notable and a win-win for all involved.”

Positive Results

At the end of the educational leadership course, after its first year under the new process, more than 70% of the students took the state assessment to become a certified teacher evaluator with the other 30% of students planning to in the following months.

“During a post course survey, students were asked about the effectiveness of Teachscape, as well as the course as a whole, in preparing them for the certification process and the results were very positive,” said Bruce Bryant, Ed.D., director of the educational leadership program at Harding University. “Teachscape was very valuable for our students, as well as our instructors, and will continue to be an integrated part of our program moving forward.”