THE ASSESSMENT SYSTEM IN AN ONLINE, COMPETENCY-BASED UNIVERSITY: THE WESTERN GOVERNORS UNIVERSITY TEACHERS COLLEGE
Western Governors University (UNITED STATES)
Western Governors University (WGU) was founded fourteen years ago by the Governors of nineteen Western states in the United States to provide competency-based, online undergraduate- and graduate-level programs in teacher education, business, information technology, and the health professions to students living in predominantly rural areas. The WGU Teachers College currently enrolls approximately 14,000 students, more than 3000 of whom are matriculated in social sciences, science and mathematics teacher preparation programs. More than 2300 are matriculated in the mathematics and science programs. The University currently enrolls approximately 25,000 students. Most importantly, the University’s programs are all entirely online and competency-based, with the exception of clinical experiences in teacher education and nursing.
In this paper, I will describe in detail the assessments employed in the completely competency-based Teachers College. The focus will be on each of the following topics:
1. The social science, mathematics, and science content assessments in these programs;
2. The pedagogical assessments;
3. The competency-based curriculum of WGU in general;
4. The types of assessments used to measure candidates’ competency in pre-clinical and clinical experiences;
5. The Capstone Project and Teacher Work Samples and related assessments required of all graduate students;
6. The Cohort Seminar, and its related asssessment, which are virtual and concurrent with the clinical experience;
8. The virtual learning communities;
9. The learning resources used for mathematics, the sciences, social science, and the liberal arts;
10. The laboratory assessments, both digital and home-delivered, used in the science programs; and
11. The Oral Defenses required of students in all graduate-level teacher education programs.