College of Education faces changes

A 2.75 GPA is now required to enter the education program

The Southeast Missouri State University College of Education is in the process of making drastic changes to its curriculum and required tests.

The state of Missouri has made a commitment to try to bring the college students majoring in education in the state into the top 10 in the nation by the year 2020. To achieve this goal and meet the new standards set by the state, colleges must change the curriculum of teacher education in order to improve the quality of teachers that are graduating from the state schools.

With these changes come increasing demands and requirements for all education majors. In the past, students were required to have a 2.5 GPA while new or incoming students must now acquire a 2.75 GPA to enter the program.

“What that means for our freshmen is that they have to come and be ready to study and not get distracted by other things or they’re going to be repeating classes because they do not have the 2.75 they need,” dean of the College of Education Diana Rogers-Adkinson said.

Education students must also pass new exams to exit the program. The previous exams, the College Basic Academic Subjects Examination and the Praxis, have been replaced by different tests to meet the newly elevated requirements. The new tests, known as the Missouri General Education Assessment, the Missouri Educator Profile and the Pearson Exam, are harder than the original tests and measure more of the students’ understanding of university studies and students’ work ethic.

Students who entered the program several years ago must now face the transition from the old program to the new.

“What I was expecting to do coming into the program as a freshman is totally different than what I actually have to do now because of all these changes,” junior Ariel Dahlia said. “I’m not mad about it, it just seems like a lot more work.”

The sophomores and juniors in the program will get a mix of the old program and the new until they graduate.

Not only are the students dealing with changing standards, but the professors must make adjustments to their curriculum to meet the new expectations. The program did an assessment to look at what was on the MGEA, and as soon as the scores from the first group of students to take this new test are in, teachers will be able to make new recommendations for what most education majors need to pass. Rogers-Adkinson hopes the scores will determine what areas students need to improve in and dictate which courses need to be altered to better prepare students for these tests.

“These changes are a big demand on our faculty because all of the changes are leading to new curriculum standards and new content that we’re being expected to have our students be able to meet the expectations for,” Rogers-Adkinson said. “So we’re in the process of getting ready to revise the entire college curriculum for the college of education.”

With these changes also comes a new way of evaluating the program. While the education program used to be accredited every seven years, it has now switched to a one-year-at-a-time approval. Whether the program receives accreditation for that year or not solely depends on students performance. If students do not meet the requirements for the year, the program is determined to be “in need of improvement.”

“How well students perform is a big deal for us. We can’t control this, and we’re going to be held accountable,” Rogers-Adkinson said. “Incoming students could be told that our program is not a good program just based off of student behavior on taking those tests.”

Since the quality of the College of Education now depends on high student performance, it is making sure students understand how important it is. The program plans to offer study nights for the MGEA test to help students feel ready and be prepared along with individual faculty members working one-on-one with students in their particular majors.

“Helping students understand that their performance impacts whether or not future students get to come to our program is going to be something we have to make sure they realize,” Rogers-Adkinson said.

If the program stays ‘in need of improvement’ for more than three years, the approval of the program may be taken away altogether. To keep this from happening, Rogers-Adkinson hopes the resources and support from the department will motivate students to stay focused and meet the requirements to reach the ultimate goal of producing more quality teachers in the state.

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