Program Improvement Process
Keene State College and Plymouth State University are using a common program improvement process in their preservice special education certification programs. These tabs give an overview of the process. Feel free to use and customize the process and the tools for your use. The process is grounded in the Transition Competencies for Preservice Special Education Programs (PDF, 8 pages, 2014).
A continuous improvement process in preservice special education certification programs
Keene State College and Plymouth State University collaboration
Part of the Next Steps NH project has been to include more evidence-based training materials on transition planning, ELOs, and parent/family engagement in preservice special education teacher training programs in New Hampshire. Keene State College coordinated the development of preservice transition competencies, a program needs assessment, and an improvement process. After a one year pilot other institutions were invited to submit proposals to join the Next Steps project. Plymouth State University was selected and began work with Keene’s materials and process. Since then the two institutions have worked together to improve their own programs and develop tools to share with others.
Here’s quick access to all the templates listed on the other tabs:
Conduct program review and/or needs assessment
Step 1 is to conduct a program review to identify your current practices and note needs and ideas for improvement. We offer a tool, Transition Competency Needs Assessment (PDF, 14 pages), to use for this. Needs Assessment in MSWord format
By the way, we are not the only game in town. Other options for reviewing your program are:
- Teacher Preparation to Deliver Evidence-Based Transition Planning and Services to Youth With Disabilities. This tool from ceedar.org helps you evaluate course syllabi for explicit inclusion of instruction on teaching transition planning and delivering transition services.
Prioritize program improvement needs
Step 2 is to prioritize your program improvement needs and identify possible action items – you can’t do everything in one year.
Develop yearly action plan
Step 3 is developing your one year action plan. Write action item statements that are specific and include a measurable outcome – something you can actually measure your progress against.
Each action item needs to be owned by one person or a small team. Get explicit agreement on the ownership and due dates.
Implement action plan
Step 4 is where you start making changes and implementing your action plan.
Administer a pretest to your preservice students to assess their baseline transition knowledge and skills before you start making improvements. (This might be part of your action plan.) Give the same test as a post-test to assess their and your progress. There are several online tools available for administering surveys and pre/posttests. Preservice Special Education Transition & Career Development Survey (PDF, 6 pages, 2016)
Gather your team together periodically to review progress and adjust the action plan as needed. You’ll be learning along the way and should feel free to change your plan. Keep progress notes as part of the action plan document – everything in one place keeps it clear for everyone.
Step 5 is evaluating your progress at the end of the year, and preparing for a new action plan.
Review your progress notes on your action plan. Note ideas for next steps.
Analyze your preservice students’ pre/post testing results. Where do you see good progress and where do you have more work to do?
Gather your faculty for an indepth review. This might be a careful review and discussion of the action plan, or a full blown second round needs assessment. (We recommend doing another needs assessment after two years, not one.)