Storyline methodology frames teacher assessment

Curriculum and Instruction faculty member Olivia Murray will present a new approach to a state-required teacher performance assessment at the International Storyline Conference in Ljubljana, Slovenia, this summer. Her trip is supported with a grant from the GSE that is focused on innovative assessment projects.


Murray has taken a lead role in implementing the new state-mandated teacher performance assessment, EdTPA, in Graduate Teacher Education Program (GTEP). She has adapted the Scottish Storyline method as a way of teaching and modeling planning, instruction, assessment, and reflection to develop teacher candidates’ knowledge and skills.

Murray is the instructor for a yearlong course in the GTEP elementary program called Instructional Design and Assessment where teacher candidates learn how to design curricula, apply instructional strategies, and assess and evaluate student learning. Using the Scottish Storyline method, the candidates engage in learning content in context, and then by unpacking their experience, they learn how to create fun and engaging learning for P12 students.

The EdTPA was adopted by Oregon in 2015 and is used by 27 other states as a way to measure teacher candidate readiness. Murray selected Storyline to model and frame edTPA components for her candidates within an authentic context. Storyline is a structured curricular approach, which asserts that learning, to be meaningful, has to be memorable. Thus, Murray uses candidates’ enthusiasm for story-making to acquire and practice unit and lesson design, identify academic language demands and corresponding instructional supports, and create/augment assessments to measure student learning. Her utilization of this hands-on method of collaboratively creating a context (i.e., setting and characters) and scenarios (i.e., the plot) elicits creative exploration by candidates who direct their own learning.

Meyer Memorial Trust grant aims to increase diversity of educational leaders

The Meyer Memorial Trust has awarded the GSE $113,000 to fund Project LEAD (Leadership for Equity and Diversity), a two-year effort to increase diversity among Oregon’s school leaders. The project’s goal is to recruit and train school administrators of color, which will increase the pool of diverse school leaders in Oregon. Professors Deborah Peterson and Susan Carlile were instrumental in securing the grant and will lead this initiative in collaboration with colleagues in the Initial Administrator Licensure program. The project has the opportunity to change how the Graduate School of Education recruits and trains future educational leaders. The goals for the project are to recruit and mentor educators of color, to modify the existing program to prepare leadership for equity, and to influence policy and systems to benefit all students. The grant is part of the Trust’s Equitable Education Portfolio.

Over 36% of Oregon’s preK–12 student population are students of color. The Oregon Department of Education reports that only 10% of Oregon’s teachers and 11% of Oregon’s administrators are educators of color. To Carlile and Peterson, this disparity perpetuates a system of racism and inequity that benefits white students and harms bilingual and/or students of color who may never have a school leader reflecting their diversity.

In Oregon’s seven administrator preparation programs, only 9% of participants are educators of color. PSU intentionally recruits more bilingual future leaders and future leaders of color, which makes it a leader in the state. If successful, these efforts could more than double the overall number of Oregon administrators who are bilingual and/or leaders of color.

Project LEAD builds on previous work by faculty in the Educational Leadership and Policy department, which was originally funded by PSU’s Office of Global Diversity and Inclusion, the Oregon Department of Education, and the Chalkboard Project, and leverages the expertise of colleagues throughout the GSE. Continue reading

PSU Infant/Toddler Mental Health program nets $110,000 for scholarships

The Ford Family Foundation has awarded PSU funding for 10 students in the Infant/Toddler Mental Health (ITMH) Graduate Certificate program. This grant will support recipients in rural Oregon who are working with families who have children ages 0–36 months and will increase capacity in infant mental health throughout Oregon.

Ford Family Foundation Program Officer Robin Hill-Dunbar said, “Providing access to coursework related to infant mental health in rural Oregon is critical. It is a pleasure to support students in the pursuit of the PSU graduate certificate and the Infant/Toddler Mental Health Endorsement. Our youngest ones and their caregivers are counting on those who serve them to understand and be able to best support their complex and unique needs.”

The project is led by Professor Ingrid Anderson, who has over 25 years of experience administering early childhood programs locally and regionally. Faculty who teach in the program are practitioners in social work, migrant head start, early learning hubs, parent education, and research. Continue reading

Grant raises math scores in East Multnomah County

Photo caption:
EaMML leadership team (left to right): Nicole Rigelman (PSU), Amy McQueen (DDSD), Karen Prigodich (CSD), Paul Latiolais (PSU), Chandra Lewis (RMC), Jackie Cooke (MESDD), Steve Vancil (DDSD), and Roxanne Malter (MESD).

PSU faculty member Nicole Rigelman, Curriculum and Instruction, and Amy McQueen, David Douglas School District (DDSD) math specialist, have completed a three-year, $1 million project to improve mathematics education in East Multnomah County. The East Metro Mathematics Leadership Project (EaMML) began in 2014 with a grant from the ODE. Both David Douglas and Centennial School Districts saw significant gains in participating students’ math test scores on Smarter Balanced Tests over the three-year period.

The grant has increased the capacity of over 70 K-12 teachers in DDSD and Centennial School Districts (CSD) to more effectively teach math. Both teachers and students were assessed before, during, and at the end of the project. Students were scored using the Smarter Balanced Assessments. The results were on average 34 points higher for EaMML Teachers’ students than those of their peers. Teachers were assessed using a tool from the University of Michigan called Learning Math for Teaching, and their pedagogical knowledge and skills with the Instructional Quality Assessment. Both measures demonstrated significant increases. Continue reading

PSU awarded $1.2 million* for Native American education

aitpThe Graduate School of Education (GSE) has just been awarded a grant in the amount of $1.2 million from the US Department of Education Office of Indian Education (OIE) to recruit and prepare Native American students for teaching licensure and master’s degrees over the next four years.

This is the third OIE professional development grant received by Portland State University (PSU) in six years. The first award, received in 2010, established the American Indian Teacher Preparation program (AITP).

“I am elated,” said Project Director Maria Tenorio. “I think this grant will help us sustain a lot of the work we want to continue with Oregon tribes—in fact, some of our first teachers are now ready to accept student teachers!”

Micki Caskey, associate dean and principal investigator on the grant, praised the AITP’s success. “The Graduate School of Education is honored to receive our third award from the Office of Indian Education. This American Indian Teacher Program award allows us to build on our proud and long-standing relationships with Oregon’s tribal nations. Our partnerships with the Confederated Tribes of the Siletz and the Confederated Tribes of Umatilla Indians will continue to benefit the tribal and non-Native communities alike.” Continue reading

PSU nets $1.2 million grant for orientation and mobility training

COMETThe US Department of Education awarded the PSU Graduate School of Education a $1,247,470 grant to develop a new certificate program to train orientation and mobility (O&M) specialists. This program will be linked to the existing PSU Visually Impaired Learner (VIL) program.

Over the next five years, Project COMET, Certified Orientation and Mobility Educators in Training, will prepare 38 fully trained and highly qualified O&M specialists to help individuals who are blind or visually impaired to develop the skills necessary for independent and safe travel within their homes, workplaces, and communities. Continue reading