The organization of the Inquiry Brief self-study around the provider’s claims is one of the distinctive features of the Inquiry Brief Pathway, so that will be discussed in more detail here.
Claims are statements that a provider makes about the accomplishments of its candidates and completers, and it supports these claims with evidence. Some claims may be written about candidates in the program, while others may be written about completers of the program. The latter is generally the better choice whenever possible because it is the completers of the program about which CAEP and the public want to make inferences.
In making its claims, the provider describes the professional characteristics of its completers, addressing each of the five components of CAEP Standard I: Content and Pedagogical Knowledge: that completers can (1) demonstrate an understanding of the 10 InTASC standards at the appropriate level; (2) use research and evidence to measure P-12 students’ progress and their own professional practice; (3) apply content and pedagogical knowledge as reflected in outcome assessments in response to standards; (4) demonstrate skills and commitment that afford all P-12 students access to rigorous college- and career-ready standards; and (5) model and apply technology standards. In addition, faculty describes candidates’ achievement in terms of the two CAEP cross-cutting themes of diversity and technology.
CLAIMS AND EVIDENCE
As the provider develops claims about its programs, it must ask critical questions about evidence: What evidence do we have to support our claims? What quantitative or qualitative evidence do we have that makes us confident that our completers are competent, caring, and qualified educators? What evidence do we have regarding the quality of the data? What criteria of success can be justified for each measure?
GENERATING CLAIMS: THREE STEPS
- The process of generating the claims should begin with an examination of the statements of the goals, claims, objectives, promises, and standards published in the institution’s catalogs, brochures, state approval/registration reports, and websites describing the provider’s projected outcomes.
- Determine how claims align with CAEP Standard 1. All components the standard should be addressed, but different providers may give different emphases to each component.
- The provider should be able to identify at least two measures or categories of evidence associated with each claim.
RATIONALE FOR THE ASSESSMENTS
The rationale section of the Inquiry Brief self-study presents the program faculty’s arguments that (1) the assessments supporting each claim are likely to yield useful information about the claims, and (2) that the standards or criteria of successful performance on the measures are warranted.
The provider should describe its assessments in such a way that a reasonable person would conclude: Yes, it makes sense that the measures selected are fitting, apt, and appropriate to test the claims. It makes sense, based on these measures, that the claims are (or could be expected to be) true. In addition, the provider must make clear what level of performance it regards as sufficient and why that standard or criterion of success makes sense.
The rationale should also give the program’s standard for its assessments and explain why the particular criterion indicates success is appropriate.