This web page has preliminary information, and will be updated when specific application and admission procedures are finalized.

Updated August 2014:

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Assessment, Learning, and School Improvement Doctoral Program

Thank you for your interest in the MTSU College of Education doctoral program in Assessment, Learning, and School Improvement (ALSI).

If you are interested in receiving information and updates regarding application, admission, and other information, please send an email with your name, and email address to: EdD@mtsu.edu . Your contact information will be added to our contact database for email updates.

Overview Information     General Admissions Information     Proposed Curriculum and Coursework Information

Proposed Coursework Titles and Descriptions     Contact Information


 

 Overview Information:

This web page has preliminary information, and will be updated when specific application and admission procedures are finalized.

Here are a few key points that may answer some of your initial questions.

    1. The ALSI program is a 3-year cohort-based program with a defined program of 60 graduate credit hours. The first cohort will begin Fall 2013.
    2. This doctoral program requires the physical presence of all cohort members for all class sessions. The ALSI EdD is not an online doctoral degree program.
    3. All applicants must have successfully completed an earned master's degree from an accredited institution prior to admission.
    4. The ALSI program will admit applicants based on a competitive process including but not limited to a professional portfolio, an onsite personal interview, and the Graduate Record Exam (GRE).
    5. As the specifics of the application process are finalized and reviewed by the ALSI Advisory Council and Program Director, we will post the application process on our website and notify all individuals in our email database.
    6. The program will take advantage of the latest technology to enhance the learning opportunities for all of the learners in the program. We will engage as a cohort of faculty and learners to model the development and growth of an authentic learning community.   All cohort members will succeed in all courses as prescribed in the ALSI program course of study, conduct original research, and successfully complete a doctoral dissertation, among other graduation requirements.
 

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Proposed Coursework Titles and Descriptions     Contact Information


 

 General Admissions Information:

This web page has preliminary information, and will be updated when specific application and admission procedures are finalized.

Admission is limited and will be based on a holistic review of test scores, past academic success, and potential for success in a rigorous doctoral program whose objective is the development of individuals who can effect immediate school improvement and student learning achievement. The following are minimum requirements for admission to the Ed.D. in Assessment, Learning, and School Improvement although meeting these criteria does not guarantee admission to this selective program of study:

    1. An earned Master's degree from an accredited institution is required.
    2. Submit application with the appropriate application fee (online here);
    3. Submit official transcripts from all colleges and universities previously attended showing a grade point average (GPA) in previous academic work that indicates potential for success in advanced study (successful applicants will typically have a GPA in prior graduate work that exceeds 3.5/4);
    4. Submit official scores for the verbal, quantitative, and analytical writing measures of the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) that indicate potential for success in the Assessment, Learning, and School Improvement doctoral program. Although specific minimum scores are not set, evaluation of scores is an important factor in admission decisions and successful applicants will typically submit scores above the 50th percentile on each measure;
    5. Submit three letters of recommendation. Letters from professors and/or professionals should address the applicant's potential to successfully complete an Ed.D. in Assessment, Learning, and School Improvement. Letters from leaders of school districts (including directors of schools, school board members or other educational community leaders, and colleagues who are teachers or administrators) should specifically address the applicant's ability/opportunity to lead an effort to significantly improve student learning and achievement in her/his current position;
    6. Submit a statement of purpose (750-1000 words) communicating your professional goals and suitability for the doctoral program in Assessment, Learning, and School Improvement. In your statement, you should address how your participation in this program will result in increased student learning and achievement as measured on standardized test scores for students under your educational care and authority. You may include a brief discussion of any literature (e.g. research articles, texts—please use appropriate APA citations) that has informed your professional practice or influenced you in some way.
    7. Submit a current vitae including education and employment history, experience with school improvement, professional presentations and publications, awards, recognitions, etc.
    8. Candidates who meet all criteria for admission will participate in an interview with the Assessment, Learning, and School Improvement doctoral program admission committee as part of the admissions process.

* Accepted students will be required to attest to their commitment to the cohort and to contribute the necessarily quality and quantity of time and energy to ensure the success of this community of learners as each student prepares to lead an effort to significantly improve her/his school or school district.

** International students will be required to meet the university's English language proficiency requirements in addition to the program admission requirements.

 

Return to Top     Overview Information     Proposed Curriculum and Coursework Information

Proposed Coursework Titles and Descriptions     Contact Information


 

 Proposed Curriculum and Coursework Information:

This web page has preliminary information, and will be updated when specific application and admission procedures are finalized.

The curriculum has two over-arching features. First, the curriculum is tied directly to the research base related to classroom, school, and district factors that have been shown, over time, to positively impact student achievement. Second, because the program is designed for the specific purpose of enhancing the capacity of educators and education stakeholders at every level to improve student achievement, the program is tightly focused and is designed to be implemented in a sequential, cohort format.

The curriculum is a sixty (60) hour degree program, with twelve (12) hours dedicated to dissertation completion. The courses are organized around three distinct, yet interconnected areas of study—learning, assessment, and school improvement. Three external experts reviewed this curriculum—Dr. Richard DuFour, Dr. Roland S. Barth, and Dr. Robert J. Marzano (see their short biographies in Appendix C of this proposal). All of the external reviewers made suggestions, which are integrated here, but also praised the curricular design. Dr. DuFour commented, "The coursework is the greatest strength of this program. It is very specific in promoting an intense focus on student learning and giving educators the tools they need to improve upon that learning." Additionally, Dr. Barth concluded, "If each student emerges from the Program with a keen understanding of each of these topics, they would be well prepared indeed. I wouldn't subtract any of them."

Each student will work in consultation with their committee and ALSI Program Director to determine which Advanced Research course they will take. Students will take either:

ALSI 7620 Advanced Quantitative Research Methodologies
OR
ALSI 7630 Advanced Qualitative Research and Inquiry Methodologies

 

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Proposed Coursework Titles and Descriptions     Contact Information


 

 Proposed Coursework Titles and Descriptions:

This web page has preliminary information, and will be updated when specific application and admission procedures are finalized.

ALSI 7010 Cognitive Learning Theory & Student Achievement. Three credits. Provides thorough knowledge base in research on ties between instructional practices and students' learning and achievement. Examines cognitive learning theory from learner perspective and draws on newest research on the best classroom and school cultures to support student learning and achievement.

ALSI 7020 Implementing a Guaranteed and Viable Curriculum. Three credits. Examines research on importance of a "guaranteed and viable" curriculum tied to state and national standards as well as the skills needed by school leaders to develop, implement, monitor, and evaluate this type of curriculum.

ALSI 7030 The Effective Teaching Knowledge Base. Three credits. Examines research base of instructional practices proven to have a direct, positive correlation with improved student achievement. Links this research base to national initiatives and teacher evaluation models aimed at improving teaching practice. Equips students with skills to promote adult learning.

ALSI 7040 Teacher Observation, Evaluation, and Improvement. Three credits. Focused on providing students with in-depth knowledge about research behind the concepts of teacher observation, evaluation, and improvement methods as well as applied skills in implementing these evaluative methods, with a focus on using these methods to improve instructional practice and ultimately student achievement.

ALSI 7050 Application and Research Seminar: Student Learning. One credit. Provides students with structure and format for reflective practice regarding student learning, including application of research knowledge base to challenges faced in K-12 educational settings.

ALSI 7210 Assessment Literacy. Three credits. Focuses on assessment vocabulary and practices prevalent in North America and Tennessee. Students will acquire competency in the appropriate use and interpretation of various types of formative and summative assessments, both norm-based and criterion-referenced.

ALSI 7220 Advanced Applications of Assessment. Three credits. Engages students in comprehensive study of conceptual and applied aspects of assessment with a focus on the role of assessment in improving student learning. Students will acquire specific skills in developing and using assessment to influence student achievement and school improvement.

ALSI 7230 Formative Assessments and Improved Student Learning. Three credits. Emphasizes the development and use of collaboratively developed, common, formative assessments for improving student achievement. Examines both the research basis behind and applications for developing multiple kinds of formative assessments and for collaboratively analyzing their results.

ALSI 7240 Data Analysis, Learning, and School Improvement. Three credits. Provides students with a deep understanding of the interplay between and the connection of multiple assessment tools, data analysis, improved student learning, and school and district improvement with an emphasis on linking student achievement data to decision-making for improving student learning at every level.

ALSI 7250 Application and Research Seminar: Assessing Student Learning. One credit. Provides students with structure and format for reflective practice regarding the assessment of student learning, including application of research knowledge base to challenges faced in K-12 educational settings.

ALSI 7410 Highly Effective Schools and School Districts. Three credits. Examines research base in the cultures and practices that characterize highly effective schools and school districts. Stresses the process skills educational leaders need to be change agents and to apply these research findings to specific educational settings, with an emphasis on developing consensus for substantive change.

ALSI 7420 Schools as Professional Learning Communities. Three credits. Examines the research base in professional learning communities and their link to greater student learning and school improvement. Focuses on the skills required for successful implementation of professional learning community concepts and practices at all levels to create a culture of life-long learning.

ALSI 7230 Collaborative Teaming and Effective Schools. Three credits. Examines the research base on collaborative teaming and applied skills in organizing, directing, and monitoring the work of teams in order to impact student learning with an emphasis on the educational leader's role in enhancing the capacity of each team to implement the best instructional practices.

ALSI 7440 Improving Student Achievement in Core Academic Areas and Sub-Groups: Best Practices. Three credits. Examines the research base on best practices as well as applications for improving student achievement in specific core curricular areas (emphasis on math and literacy) and among specific subgroups (emphasis on children with disabilities, children of poverty, and children whose primary language is not English). Applies this knowledge base to designing timely, directive, and specific systems of intervention.

ALSI 7450 Application and Research Seminar: Research-Based School Improvement. One credit. Provides students with structure and format for reflective practice regarding research-based school improvement, including application of research knowledge base to challenges faced in K-12 educational settings.


ALSI 7600 Educational Statistics. Three credits. Provides students with knowledge and skills needed to understand, interpret, and apply appropriate statistical methodologies and concepts to the educational setting. This course is a survey of basic statistical methods including descriptive statistics, confidence intervals and sampling distribution, z-tests and t-tests of means and proportions, chi-square analyses, correlation and regression analyses, and analysis of variance. The Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) will also be used. Prerequisite for subsequent courses in advanced quantitative and qualitative methodologies.

ALSI 7610 Qualitative Research Methodologies. Three credits. Introduces the five approaches and design structures of qualitative research and naturalistic inquiry. Philosophical assumptions, ethical considerations, and qualitative frameworks will be explored within the context of narrative, grounded theory, phenomenology, ethnography, and case study structures appropriate for education and leadership settings. Prerequisite for subsequent courses in advanced quantitative and qualitative methodologies.

ALSI 7620 Advanced Quantitative Research Methodologies. Three credits. Provides students with advanced quantitative research methodologies that can be applied in an educational setting. Topics include power and effect size, ANOVA (One-Way Analysis of Variance; Two-Way Analysis of Variance), MANOVA (Multivariate Analysis of Variance), ANCOVA (Analysis of Covariance), Factor Analysis, Multiple Regression, Logistic Regression, and ranking or Non-Parametric tests. The Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) will be used. The course will include the study of the methodologies used in growth models. Successful completion of ALSI 7600 Educational Statistics and ALSI 7610
Qualitative Research Methodologies research are prerequisites for this course.

ALSI 7630 Advanced Qualitative Research and Inquiry Methodologies. Three credits. Provides students with advanced qualitative research methodologies that can be applied in an educational setting. Course content focuses on conceptual issues, ordering, framing inquiry, applying appropriate approach and design, selecting and collecting data, approach-specific analysis, interpretation of data, and reporting procedures. Course tasks provide opportunities to develop skills in qualitative coding, bracketing, restorying, descriptive culture sharing, and cross-case theming. Successful completion of ALSI 7600 Educational Statistics and ALSI 7610 Qualitative Research Methodologies research are prerequisites for this course. 

As more information is published, we will notify you through your email address.

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Proposed Curriculum and Coursework Information     Contact Information


 

Again, thank you for your interest in this exciting and unique doctoral program as we work together to improve learning for every student in Tennessee.

Best regards,

Dr. Rick Vanosdall
Interim Director
Assessment, Learning, and School Improvement Doctoral Program
College of Education
EdD@mtsu.edu

 

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Proposed Curriculum and Coursework Information     Proposed Coursework Titles and Descriptions