PBA Home >
Institutional Research & Analysis >
Outcomes Assessment >
Unit Summaries >
School of Education
School of Education
Graduate Student Learning, 2001-02
Authors: Jennie Whitcomb, Margaret Eisenhart
What are the knowledge and skill goals for the MA and PhD graduates of School
The School of Educationís mission at the graduate level is to prepare the
next generation of education leaders and researchers. In particular, the School
of Education is strongly committed to preparing teachers, researchers, and
leaders who will use their knowledge and skills to implement research-based
educational reforms and to promote equitable educational policies. The School of
Education offers programs in several different areas at both the masterís and
The graduate programs in the School of Education emphasize awareness and
- The explanatory role foundational disciplines (e.g., anthropology, history,
philosophy, psychology, and sociology) play when examining problems, issues,
and policies in education
- The range and appropriate use of conceptual and analytical research tools
to frame and understand complex problems in education
- The varying contexts in which key educational decisions and policies are
made and the role individuals/organizations play in shaping their direction
- The research base and national research agendas devoted to understanding
the educational needs of diverse populations and to promoting greater equity
in educational systems.
Students who complete the masterís program are expected to acquire the
ability and skills to:
- Interpret and respond to complex problems in education using the conceptual
tools of foundational disciplines in education as well as research-based
- Use research tools to analyze problems of practice they encounter in their
- Demonstrate leadership within their local contexts to promote equity and
Students who complete the doctoral program are expected to acquire the
ability and skills to:
- Develop expertise in their chosen field, including both the intellectual
history of the field as well as cutting-edge developments
- Develop and sustain an independent research agenda that has the potential
to impact both educational practice/policy and the direction of scholarship in
the individualís chosen field
- Interpret and communicate the conceptual and research base of their field
to different audiences/constituencies (e.g., policymakers, educational
- Design and teach both undergraduate and graduate level courses in an
What evidence does the School of Education have that these goals are being
Masterís candidates demonstrate their knowledge and skills upon completion of
the program when they pass either a comprehensive exam or submit a professional
portfolio. The quality of these culminating assessments is upheld by a
three-person faculty review committee.
The following sources of evidence show how doctoral students demonstrate
their knowledge and skills upon completion of the program:
- At the conclusion of coursework, all doctoral students must pass
comprehensive exams, which are reviewed by a three-person faculty committee.
- Doctoral students are required to complete a traditional proposal and
dissertation defense that is approved by a committee of at least three faculty
- Doctoral students are required to write a paper of publishable quality. The
studentís faculty advisor attests to the quality of this paper.
- Doctoral students are encouraged to present at major research conferences
in their chosen field.
- Doctoral students are encouraged to teach in undergraduate teacher
education courses. The quality of their teaching is evaluated primarily
What evidence does the School of Education use to assess the overall quality
of its graduate-level programs? What assessment process does the School of
Education follow to review and renew graduate programs?
- The ranking of the School of Education when compared to peer institutions
by organizations such as U.S. News and World Report. In recent years,
the School of Education has ranked in or near the top 30 in the U.S. News and
World Report rankings (e.g., 2001 = 31st , 2002 = 29th).
- An analysis by the Deanís office of the Social Science Citations Index
(1997-2001) found that the average number of citations per faculty member at
each of the following levels was Assistant Professors = 15, Associate
Professors = 41, and Professors = 144. When these average number of citations
are compared to other institutions, the scholarship of UC Boulder faculty
ranks in the top ten among institutions nationally.
- Students who are in their final semester of graduate study are asked to
evaluate their graduate experience along the following dimensions: scholarly
development, coursework, the faculty, advising, communication/collegiality,
and overall climate of the School of Education. All responses are anonymous.
Results of these surveys are summarized annually and shared with the faculty.
- The universityís Program Review Process (PRP) leads to a systematic
internal and external review of the rigor and quality of the graduate programs
every 7 years.
What further steps does the School of Education plan to take to enhance its
program assessment process?
The School of Education has established an ad-hoc Graduate Program Review
Committee, which is charged with evaluating the quality of the Schoolís graduate
programs and making recommendations to the faculty to improve the structure
and/or content of the graduate programs. In its assessment process, this
committee will examine the following sources of evidence.
- A comparison of the School of Educationís overall graduate programs with
those from institutions ranked in the top fifteen in the most recent report by
U.S. News and World Report. Criteria for comparison include core
program/research requirements, research method tracks, program areas for
doctoral study, teaching/research experiences offered or required, size of
program, and financial aid packages.
- Results from recent annual student exit surveys.
- Systematic review of literature on graduate training in education.
- Consideration of recent NSF, NRC, Pew, and Carnegie reports on graduate
training in education.
Our plan is to review this material, discuss alternatives within the
Committee, and then present ideas to the full faculty for consideration. Our
ultimate goal is to revise our existing graduate programs so they more
consistently represent the latest thinking about high quality training in
educational scholarship and research.
Index of unit summaries