California State University Bakersfield

Simplifying Signature Assignments  & Teacher Performance Assessments

Institutional Overview

logo_csubCSUB opened in September 1970 as the 19th member of the 23-campus California State University system. Some 7,800 undergraduate and graduate students attend CSUB at either the main campus in Bakersfield or the off-campus center in Antelope Valley. More than 90% of CSUB’s tenured/tenure-track faculty members have doctoral degrees. The University is a comprehensive regional university and is committed to excellence in its four schools: Arts & Humanities, Business and Public Administration, Natural Sciences, Mathematics and Engineering, and Social Sciences & Education. The University is fully accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC), with six programs also accredited by national accrediting organizations.

Key Challenges

CSUB is composed of two campuses, geographically separated by over 90 miles, and because of this, the University encountered challenges regarding collecting and measuring student learning assessment data for accreditation as well as the submission, scoring, and feedback processes in place for the Teacher Performance Assessment (TPA).

Students were required to print out copies of their TPA’s which were at least 25-35 pages each and deliver them in person to the campus of which they were part. The TPA hard copies then were collected and distributed to the assessors — these assessors located in a variety of geographic locations, many of whom are retired educators. Once the hard copies were scored, it was the assessors’ responsibility to return the TPA hard copies to CSUB administrators who then had to distribute the scores to students. It seemed that administrators were spending large amounts of time and effort managing the logistics of distributing the students’ work, handling obscene amounts of paper, overspending on the postage required to transfer the TPA’s to and from assessors, and managing the hundreds of emails to students with scoring results. With limited resources and a reliance on manually managing this assessment process, the process was clearly vulnerable to human error.

Our Solution

California State University, Bakersfield chose to implement LiveText technology to ease the burdens of their former process of assessment and to support accreditation efforts.

CSUB has its NCATE visit in the fall of 2014. Each of the departments in the education program has developed an 8-point assessment plan. LiveText is most crucial for conducting signature assignments and collecting assessment data on specific assignments. For example, the department of curriculum and instructions is using signature assignments as part of their assessment piece for NCATE. They are also using it for their culminating portfolio which includes the capstone activity, which could be a thesis or a project. In teacher education at CSUB, 100% of the courses with signature assignments use LiveText.

In using LiveText’s completely web-based learning assessment system, CSUB students prepare all of their CAL TPA work in LiveText, keeping all work centrally located and electronic in nature. Assessors no longer have to be on one of the campuses in order to receive the TPA’s to score. Once submitted by the student in LiveText, the assessor can access the student’s TPA submission, score it accordingly, and provide immediate electronic feedback to students.

Scores are published securely within LiveText so that students can see all of the comments, feedback, and evaluations made, including a Teacher Performance Expectation (TPE) rubric that shows students the specific areas of strength and weakness for which to improve upon before their next TPA submissions.

From a data collection perspective, the program is able also collect this TPA data and aggregate it over academic terms to see where curricular weaknesses are occurring. The LiveText system provides very specific data about the signature assignments and ties them directly to the teaching performance expectations. Administrators and faculty can look at the TPA data and cross check it with the signature assignments data to see where the gaps in instruction are occurring. Each summer the program has a half-day retreat during which they analyze this LiveText data, which has allowed the program not only to identify areas of curricular improvement but also to increase faculty engagement and dialogue.

LiveText has been used for 8 years at CSUB by approximately 40 faculty and 1,000 students at any one time. About 350 students register for LiveText each year.

“LiveText has eliminated one of the largest headaches that we had regarding TPA submissions and being able to collect, distribute, and score the TPA’s through a central location has been phenomenal. Faculty like the point and click interface of the rubric and appreciate being able to collect assessment data automatically on the courses they are teaching. The biggest value for students is that they have their work stored online.”

Dr. Randy Schultz
Grant Administrator
Edvention Partners TQP Grant
School of Social Sciences and Education