Comprehensive Assessment System – Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Why do we have a Comprehensive Assessment System?

A: The College of Education desires outstanding candidate performance, excellent professional preparation programs and an effective way to examine and communicate our progress. Our assessment system helps us meet these goals.

The Comprehensive Assessment System is designed to collect data, analyze findings and make judgments about candidate [1], program and unit [2] performance and operations. Monitoring is achieved through on-going assessment of content knowledge, pedagogical content knowledge, professional and pedagogical knowledge and skills, dispositions and impact on P-12 student learning. The expectations for candidates are based on UNC Charlotte general academic standards, College of Education Conceptual Framework, the standards of accrediting agencies and standards approved by the NC Department of Public Instruction.

Data collection and related data reviews have three foci – candidate, program and unit. Candidates’ work is reviewed to make decisions and provide feedback as they progress through their programs. Programs are reviewed in the aggregate to make judgments about the efficacy of the specific programs and to guide program improvement. Unit level assessments look at overall unit operations and aggregate candidate performance to infer unit effectiveness and to guide unit improvement.

Our assessment system reflects best practice in professional preparation programs as delineated in NCATE Standard 2: Assessment System and Unit Evaluation.

Q: What are the components of our assessment system?

A: There are three components to the assessment system:

  1. Unit Assessment
  2. Program Assessment
  3. Candidate Assessment

Unit assessment focuses on the systematic internal collection of information and data derived from candidate, program and unit-wide assessments that are useful in reviewing unit operations and programs. In addition, the unit assessment examines external data collected by the University System, State of North Carolina and national testing entities.

Assessment data and reports that are examined include but are not limited to:

  • Review of aggregated data from the Candidate Assessment System
  • Review of program data collected and reported from each program in the College
  • College of Education Strategic Plan and Annual Reports which include information such as progress toward goals and program changes based on these analyses
  • NC Institutions of Higher Education Performance Reports
  • University of North Carolina General Administration Surveys
  • College of Education enrollment data, student evaluations, peer observations and faculty annual reports.

Based on findings, the College modifies its five year strategic plan, creates action agendas which include college and program recommendations as necessary and budgetary changes as needed.

Program assessment uses three lenses to examine each professional preparation program with data collection, findings analyses and decision-making present within each lens. Assessments include:

  • Program, standards, curriculum and best practice alignment audits (Annually)
  • Review of aggregated data on candidates, program and unit from both internal and external sources (Annually)
  • Strategic plan alignment and annual reports (Annually)

Based on findings, programs create action agendas which include program goals and objectives, recommendations for program revisions, a plan for improving instruction and the redesigning of components as necessary.

Candidate assessment examines the progress of professional education candidates toward the student learning outcomes delineated in our Conceptual Framework as well as professional and content standards and licensing expectations set for each program. Course-based assessments occur every semester within every course. Transition assessments occur as a part of the College’s Comprehensive Candidate Assessment System (CCAS) and require mastery of benchmarks before moving to the next level. Feedback is provided to candidates on and on-going basis, with the goal of reflective practice and continuous progress toward excellent outcomes.

Q: What processes are in place to link our commitment to unit assessment, program assessment and candidate assessment?

A: Our Comprehensive Assessment System

The Comprehensive Assessment System is a unit level assessment system that is designed to use multiple sources of internal and external data to assess candidate progress toward program and unit standards. All licensure programs have four transition points: For the initial programs, these points are 1) entry (at time of admission into teacher education), 2) midpoint (admission into student teaching/graduate internship), 3) completion (end of student teaching/graduate internship), and 4) follow-up (first three years after licensure). For the advanced programs, these points are 1) entry into the program, 2) midpoint (research proposal phase), 3) program completion, and 4) follow-up.

At the initial licensure level all programs within the College of Education have common assessment standards (North Carolina Professional Teaching Standards – NCPTS), selected common assessments (e.g., Student Teaching Assessment Rubric and Impact on Student Learning Project) and create a licensure portfolio that contains work samples which demonstrate mastery of the Teacher Candidate Evaluation Rubric. Programs may add additional assessments as needed to address individual program standards.

Advanced licensure teacher education programs continue to use the same transition points and uniform North Carolina Graduate Teaching Standards as a base for program development, but have flexibility to adapt the assessment products to meet the specific program. Advanced licensure candidates must create a licensure portfolio that contains work samples which demonstrate mastery of the North Carolina Graduate Teaching Standards

Advanced programs for other school personnel have assessments which were developed based on program-specific standards. In particular the Masters in School Administration candidates must document mastery of the North Carolina Standards for School Executives. Candidates in that program must create a licensure portfolio that contains work samples which demonstrate mastery of the North Carolina School Executive Evaluation Rubric: Preservice Candidates

Assessment Website The assessment website serves as a resource for faculty. It contains information and documents that faculty may need to refer to as they implement the Comprehensive Candidate Assessment System, annual reports and other program requirements. In addition, annual data reports are stored in a secure section. The annual data reports document the College of Education assessment process. Faculty can gain access to this section by contacting the Assessment Coordinator for the user name and password.

The Assessment Website can be found at:

Q: How is information technology used to support and maintain the assessment system?

A: The College of Education has chosen to use TaskStream, a commercially available portfolio system, to support its assessment system. Every faculty and student is provided a TaskStream account at no additional charge. To access the TaskStream website go to the following web address and enter your UNC Charlotte NinerNET username and password to complete your log in.

For help with the TaskStream System please complete a Help Ticket and the CoEd Office of Information Technology will be glad to set up a time to meet with you.

Q: How is the Assessment System supported, managed, communicated and governed?

A: The Standard 2 Committee, a subcommittee of the Accreditation/Continuous Improvement Committee, is responsible for guidance and oversight. The Assessment Coordinator provides leadership and support.

Q: How are data used for program improvement?

A: Data is collected cyclically by different University and College data collectors with data analysis being done by the Assessment Coordinator and Program Coordinators. The data has both long-term and short-term uses. The College Assessment Coordinator summarizes data at the end of each calendar year and presents the results to the Leadership Council and the Accreditation/Continuous Improvement Committee early in the spring semester. The committee summarizes data using descriptive statistics (e.g., percent proficiency, means, and standard deviations), at the unit, licensure and program levels. The department chairs and program coordinators present the data to faculty during department meetings. The College policy requires all Departments to use one annual department meeting (usually in April) to review data and make program recommendations for program improvement based on the data. Each Program prepares an Annual Report which reports data on key Student Learning Outcomes. The Annual reports are submitted to the Provost in June. Departments must also submit Annual Reports and containing at least three examples of data-based decisions that were used for department program improvement.

[1] Candidate refers to a UNC Charlotte student in a professional education program.

[2] Unit refers to the College of Education, the entity at UNC Charlotte that is charged with the oversight of professional education programs at this University.

Updated July 2012