Transformative Initiative

TI.1 Brief Overview

TI.1: Brief Overview of the Transformation Initiative

The ECU Transformation Initiative (TI) unites a series of individual initiatives previously operating as individual innovations under a research and development structure focused on improving initial teacher preparation. In a sustained, integrated effort to strengthen teacher candidate development, East Carolina University (ECU)’s Educator Preparation Provider (EPP) developed the ECU TI Proposal: A Research on Practice Model for Improving Undergraduate Teacher Education. In practice, the ECU TI is commonly referred to as the ECU Pirate CODE, our Continuum of Developing Expertise, with research studies woven around each element of the CODE.

The Pirate CODE is both multi-faceted and organized. The overall initiative consists of a series of components within the Department of Elementary Education and Middle Grades Education (ELMID). The components are coordinated based on two complementary perspectives. First, Pirate CODE innovations are explicit enhancements to curriculum, field experiences, and clinical experiences in ELMID. Second, the innovations are designed to enhance program quality and address significant issues in the field. The Pirate CODE reflects a college-wide “Research on Practice” model supporting research and development (R&D) on systemic issues in teacher preparation. While other EPP programs are implementing Pirate CODE components, the focus for the February 2015 site visit is on TI progress in ELMID.

TI Goals: Although teacher education is an active area of educational research, the involvement of colleges of education whose primary mission is undergraduate teacher education, has been underutilized in research. The Pirate CODE provides an implementation model to engage undergraduate teacher education faculty in the forms of R&D that address systemic teacher education elements. The goals of the Pirate CODE are to:

  1. Develop the Research on Practice model, codifying its steps and developing an implementation model to institutionalize innovations within programs.
  2. Document the implementation of research-based innovations in the teacher education curricula with concerted efforts to expand implementation into all ITPs at the institution.
  3. Develop and engage in practice-based research surrounding the seven Pirate CODE project innovations.
  4. Document and communicate the process, the successes, and the challenges of the Pirate CODE by contributing to the research literature through publications, presentations, and collegial conversations at the institution, state, and national levels.

As a result, the Pirate CODE aligns closely with Standard 5; and influences significant changes in elements of the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) Standard 1, Standard 2, and Standard 3. The systemic nature of the Pirate CODE makes it truly transformational.

TI Features: The Pirate CODE features a set of seven coordinated innovations linked throughout the teacher education curriculum and clinical practice. Each innovation is evolving through a series of carefully planned stages, to institutionalize each innovation in ELMID. Once refined and data analysis proves it an effective model, the innovation is scaled up and implemented in other ITPs. Implementation timelines each innovation in ELMID, and all teacher education programs, illustrates the depth, breadth, and complexity of the Pirate CODE; see Sections 1.3, 2.3., and 3.3.

TI Focus on Outcomes and Impacts: The ultimate measure of an ITP’s effectiveness is the impact their graduates have on P-12 student achievement. The introduction of teacher effectiveness data has profoundly changed the teacher preparation landscape in the state, shifting the focus from programmatic inputs to outputs. Pirate CODE research projects, in addition to studying each innovation from pilot to full implementation, are planned studies of practice with a keen focus on studying the impact of each innovation on P-12 student achievement and school reform efforts.

TI.2 Status

TI.2: What is the status of the Transformation Initiative?

When the Pirate CODE was approved by NCATE in August 2013, the innovations had already commenced their development through the R&D model. In July 2013, a Pirate CODE retreat was held by lead faculty to highlight work-in-progress and new innovations. A brief summary of progress through May 2014 is provided here (bold will indicate commonly used innovation name):

Introductory Clinical Observation for Novice Observers/Video Grand Rounds (VGR)
In 2013-14, three additional College of Education (COE) programs joined VGR, totaling approximately 351 candidates across four ITP’s. Analysis of the Elementary Education program (ELEM) data found VGR positively impacted focus, complexity, support and structured modeling, as well as transfer. The degree to which VGR teacher candidates transferred skills and knowledge suggest that this model builds a foundation of conceptual understandings.

Instructional Strategy Lessons for Educators Series (ISLES) Instructional Strategies Modules
In 2013-14, the ISLES modules were fully embedded in designated ELEM, Middle Grades (MIDG), and Special Education (SPED) coursework. ISLES modules are embedded in each course identified by the Teacher Quality Partnership grant (TQP) as an ISLES reform course, see ISLES Faculty Guide. Secondary programs developed and finalized ISLES modules for use in their programs. As the original ISLES modules were fully implemented, further study focused on fidelity of implementation and predictive validity.

Teacher Performance Assessment (edTPA) Preparation Modules
In 2013-14, edTPA Preparation Modules were piloted in MIDG 4010 (a common Senior I course). The modules have been withdrawn from the programand from the Pirate CODEfor the following reasons: 1) Other edTPA support resources were already in place; 2) ISLES 3 module was determined a better formative assessment; 3) MIDG concentration courses were duplicating efforts; and 4) Modules should be considered for licensure-only candidates.

Clinical Internship Observation Model Support with Instructional Coaches
Instructional coaches provided support for interns in Pitt and Greene Counties in ELMID and four other ITP’s. In addition, coaches completed Teachscape™ Walkthrough observations on each intern. Data analysis for Coaching Cohorts 1-3 is complete and analysis for Coaching Cohort 4 is underway. Research studies are determining the impact of instructional coaching on enhancing clinical internship effectiveness.

Clinical Internship Model for Coordinating Clinical Support and Professional Development (CODE PD)
In 2013-14, lead faculty completed the analysis of data from program completers and clinical teachers (CT). Research identified affordances and limitations of offering CT and University Supervisor (US) online training. Further discussions explored the feasibility of putting CT training online, and sample modules were outlined. The creation of the online CT and US training modules stood postponed until summer 2014 clinical teacher training is complete and an additional dataset gathered to inform the work.

Clinical Internship Experience Co-teaching Model
In 2013-2014, Co-teaching innovation expanded to eight ITPs in COE and five partnership school districts. Faculty liaisons signed a Co-teaching Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) and convened monthly for updates and input. In Fall 2014, approximately 400 participants attended Co-teaching Foundations and Pairs training. In Spring 2014, 106 interns co-taught in 88 classrooms utilizing the 1:1, 2:1, and 2:2 Co-teaching models. Research is underway to determine the impact of Co-teaching and viability of adopting the innovation college-wide. Quantitative and qualitative data are collected from Co-teaching participants each term. Preliminary findings are trending positive for Co-teaching, especially for diverse learners.

edTPA Administration
Since joining the national field test of the Teacher Performance Assessment (TPA) in 2010-11, all ITPs in the EPP use the edTPA as a summative assessment. In compliance with Stanford Center for Assessment, Learning, and Equity (SCALE)’s edTPA usage plan evaluator training conducted in spring 2014, focused on the transition from the 5-point rubric used previously, to the 3-level local evaluation rubrics. ITP representatives serve as edTPA Liaisons (edTPAL)’s and participate in monthly meetings with the edTPA leadership team. The edTPAL’s ended 2013-2014 preparing a motion for the Council for Teacher Education (CTE) to formally recognize the edTPA as a program requirement in all ITPs in the EPP.

TI Goals: While the implementation efforts of the Pirate CODE required significant leadership and dedication by the lead faculty associated with each innovation, the Pirate CODE was designed to focus on the R&D process surrounding the innovations and the four goals stated in section TI.1. Below, the status of the Pirate CODE goals is provided:

  • Develop the Research on Practice model, codifying its steps and developing an implementation model other EPP’s may use to institutionalize innovations within their own programs.
    • Since the submission and approval of the Pirate CODE, the Research on Practice model has evolved within the unique and complete context of the ECU EPP. As described in exhibit TI.4.b, the language of the model has morphed into an implementation language from the original descriptors rooted in the R&D research literature. The Pirate CODE TI and model have been presented in multiple venues across the EPP and at the American Educational Research Association (AERA) Division K Research Summit as well as at an invited session to the 2014 AERA Annual Meeting.
  • Document the implementation of research-based innovations in the teacher education curricula of the Department of Elementary and Middle Grades Education (ELMID) with concerted efforts to expand implementation into all ITP’s at the institution.
    • Pirate CODE innovations originated in ELMID and their implementation has been well documented in the R&D model beginning with the squishy pilot phase onward. Innovation-based memoranda of understanding (MOU)’s were developed by innovation lead faculty and used to guide implementation consistency and data collection. As the Pirate CODE research focus shifts from implementation to impact, innovation-based documentation of assessment, evaluation, and research plans supplemented the MOUs. To support institutionalization of innovations, CTE commenced a new data-driven exploratory process to recognize and adopt innovations as programmatic elements.
  • Develop and engage in practice-based research surrounding the seven Pirate CODE project innovations.
    • Short-term goals of the Pirate CODE focused on implementation of the programmatic innovations. As the innovations matured through the R&D model, Pirate CODE-based presentations and writing are evolving from studies of process and organization change to impact. Throughout the early stages of each innovation, the research designs and data collection were focused on the long-term goal of conducting impact studies, linking the innovations with P-12 student achievement of graduates. Plans for such projects are developing as evidenced by the May 2014 TQP Research Institute.
  • Document and communicate the process, the successes and challenges of the Pirate CODE by contributing to the research literature through publications, presentations, and collegial conversations at the institution, state, and national levels.
    • Pirate CODE faculty have been generous in sharing their experiences with colleagues across the EPP and outside of campus. Through their efforts, many of the innovations have been implemented in ITP’s outside of ELMID. In addition, lead faculty are prolific in presenting their work at national venues and are in the early stages of publishing qualitative and quantitative studies. Their presence in teacher education literature is fostering new collegial conversations and partnership with state and national partners.

TI.3 Changes

TI.3 What are the significant changes, if any, in the TI implementation since the TI proposal was approved?

Refinements to the Pirate CODE: We do not deem the changes noted below as significant, rather we view them as refinements to the original Pirate CODE submission. The refinements reflect the evolution of the Pirate CODE innovations and the increased research capacity of lead faculty involved with Pirate CODE innovations. In addition, the Pirate CODE has increased the total number of faculty engaged with the innovations and increased the service and support collaboration between faculty and the Office of Clinical Experiences (OCE) and the Office of Assessment and Accreditation (OAA).

Refinements in the R&D language used to describe the stages of implementation: Figure 3 in the original ECU TI Proposal, the Pirate CODE, outlined a five-step R&D methodology from problem analysis through adoption. While the language used in this model aligns with the research literature, it lacked stamina as the Pirate CODE innovations were developed and implemented. The shift highlighted here is to reflect the common implementation language used at each step of the Pirate CODE innovation implementation and study. Table 2 in exhibit TI.4.bhighlights the original TI Implementation Language and current TI Implementation Language.

Refinements in Proposed Major Research Questions: As the Pirate CODE innovations have been implemented, the original research questions associated with each innovation have evolved and therefore refined, to become more focused and particular to each innovation. Revised research questions are a positive indication of faculty R&D knowledge and the model’s ability to build research capacity in a large teacher preparation program. Table 2 in exhibit TI.4.b highlights the original research questions and the revised research questions as of May 2014.

Refinements in Data Collection: The original Pirate CODE submission includes assessment metrics for each innovation and a timeline for data collection. Again, as the Pirate CODE innovations were implemented, new opportunities and metrics for assessing candidate learning and gathering candidate feedback, arose. Exhibit TI.4.bhighlights refinements to the original data collection plan. Data collection modifications reflect the evolution of the innovations, the increased research focus of lead faculty, and the flexibility of the assessment system to meet program needs. Details of the current Pirate CODE data collection metrics is presented in Section 2.3.

TI.4 Exhibits


ECU is conditionally accredited based on the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) standards, for a period of 7 years, from Fall 2015 to Spring 2022.

ECU  will seek accreditation based on the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) Standards in Spring 2022. CAEP is the single specialized accreditor for educator preparation, and administers NCATE accreditation.