The Valparaiso University Department of Education evaluates students' progress and attainment of professional goals through a series of three Checkpoints. All requirements of each Checkpoint must be met before students are allowed to proceed to the next stage of the program.
Checkpoint 1 - Admission to Teacher Education
Admission to the program is the first of three checkpoints in the performance assessment process in education. Students may obtain the application packet in ED 203 or from the Professional Development and Placement Office. Students' applications must be submitted to the Placement Office of the Education Department after completion of ED 203, ED 204, and COMM 145 (or 243) and when all other admissions criteria have been fulfilled. The application process may take one semester. The criteria for admission to education are:
- Grade point average.
Applicants must have a minimum of 12 credit hours at Valparaiso University, a Education 90 cumulative grade point average of 2.50 or higher in all course work taken at Valparaiso University, and at least 2.0 in each required course taken in the Education Department.
- Communication grade point average.
Applicants must have a grade point average of 2.50 or better in CORE 110, 115, and COMM 145 (or 243) with no individual course below a "C". Students are expected to maintain acceptable, professional level standards of communication. All education professors monitor, evaluate, and provide feedback to students on their communication skills in all education courses. If deficiencies in written or oral communication are noted, applicants may be required to take remedial steps under the direction of their advisor.
- Basic Skills Test.
Applicants to the Teacher Education program must pass the Praxis I test which is administered at national testing sites, including Valparaiso University, eight times during the academic year and at private companies on a more regular basis. Students are responsible for registering and paying the fees for the test and for designating that scores be sent to the Valparaiso University Education Department. Scores typically take a minimum of six weeks to arrive at Valparaiso University. Information about test registration and administration will be furnished to students at a Teacher Education information meeting and in ED 203; it is also available in the Professional Development and Placement Office. Passing scores are set by the state of Indiana and can be found on the web site of the Indiana Department of Education <http://www.doe.state.in.us/>.
Applicants must demonstrate in all classes the social and emotional maturity, moral character, responsibility, and professional dispositions necessary for success in the teaching profession. Students' dispositions are assessed formally at each checkpoint and informally assessed throughout the program by instructors and field experience supervisors.
Positive recommendations need to be obtained from the student's ED 203 instructor and major advisor for Checkpoint 1. A third recommendation must also be received from a field experience cooperating teacher.
- Declared Major or Complementary Major.
Prior to their application for admission to the Teacher Education Program, students must declare one of the following majors in the Office of the Registrar: Elementary Education, Middle Level Education, or a complementary major in Secondary Education.
- Attend Portfolio Seminar.
Seminars are offered each semester to inform students of the portfolio assessment process.
- Checkpoint 1 Portfolio.
Applicants need to submit artifacts and rationales correlated to INTASC standards 2, 5, and 9 to the Admission and Retention committee for evaluation. To appeal a decision of the Admission and Retention Committee, students should first direct a petition to the Committee in writing. If the committee's decision is still unfavorable and the student feels there are grounds for another appeal, that appeal should be submitted in writing to the Education Department Chair.
Checkpoint 2 - Admission to the Professional Semester (Checkpoint 2).
Applications for admission to the Professional Semester must be completed and filed with the Professional Development and Placement Office before March 1 prior to the year students plan to do their student teaching. This deadline typically falls in students' junior year. For admission into the Professional Semester, the student must meet the following criteria:
- Official admission to the Teacher Education Program.
Students must have already successfully completed Checkpoint 1.
- Grade Point Average.
Students must have a minimum cumulative grade point average of 2.50 in all courses. Education 91 Elementary School student teaching candidates must have a grade point average of 2.40 or higher in all course work in education. Students should have completed all course work in education before the Professional Semester. Middle School/Junior High student teaching candidates should have completed all coursework in education before the Professional Semester and earned a minimum grade point average of 2.40 in all ED courses completed. Secondary education student teaching candidates must have a grade point average of 2.40 or better in all secondary teacher fields. Secondary student teaching candidates must also have completed ED 203, 204, 305, 370, 457, 460, 489, SPED 440, and have earned a standing of 2.40 or higher in all education courses completed.
Students must demonstrate continued levels of acceptable, professional standards of oral and written communication.
- Senior standing.
The applicant must be within two semesters and one summer of graduation.
Applicants must demonstrate in all classes the social and emotional maturity, moral character, responsibility and professional dispositions necessary for success in the teaching profession.
- Checkpoint 2 Portfolio.
Applicants must submit a satisfactory portfolio that includes artifacts and rationales from INTASC Standards 1, 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, and 10 as well as an essay conveying the candidate's understanding of the conceptual framework.
Secondary students must submit a written recommendation from their major advisor to take the Professional Semester. If they also intend to obtain a teaching minor, they must also obtain a written recommendation from the chair of that department. Licensure Note: To be eligible for recommendation for licensure, students must maintain the above requirements through the completion of the degree and the teacher education program, including passing the appropriate Praxis II exam(s).
- Professional Semester
Checkpoint 3 - Admission to the Profession.
Required of all candidates who wish to be recommended for an initial teaching license, this semester includes coursework, student teaching, and submission of the summative portfolio. Artifacts for the Checkpoint 3 portfolio will be based primarily upon the student teaching experience. During this semester students may enroll only in courses approved for the Professional Semester. Placement in Field Experiences