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Common Indicators System Network

Our Common Indicators System Network focused on collecting credible, actionable evidence to enhance existing strengths and address challenge areas in teacher preparation.

From 2017 to 2022, the CIS Network focused on collecting credible, actionable evidence so that educator-preparation programs could work together to enhance existing strengths and address challenge areas in their preparation programs.

  • Built in partnership with teacher-educators: We worked with faculty and program leaders at participating programs to ensure the CIS delivered high-quality evidence and learning opportunities that helped them catalyze and sustain improvements – from selecting and revising measures, to crafting implementation processes, to designing learning experiences.
  • Thinking beyond compliance and accreditation: The CIS Network ensured that collected data were meaningful for improvement by focusing on actionable evidence about what teacher-candidates know and are able to do at different points in their preparation. We supported teams to use that information for deep inquiry and cycles of improvement in their programs.

What We Did

The CIS Network provided ongoing opportunities for members to learn from each other, analyze candidate evidence and lead others in assessing data to improve the instructional preparedness of beginning teachers:

  • Inquiry Institute: An annual gathering for members to collaboratively analyze their data, learn from other teams, and plan next steps based on what they’ve learned.
  • Inquiry Tool: A customized dashboard that enabled members to make quick and easy comparisons between their results on each common indicator and those of the network overall as well as similarly situated programs and candidates.
  • CIS Learning Series: Quarterly virtual learning opportunities to support members in developing and sustaining cultures of evidence-informed improvement in their programs. Examples included paired consultancy sessions on problems of practice and webinars to help leaders increase data fluency in their programs.

Over six years, the Network collected data on more than 22,000 teacher candidates in 26 programs across the country using four common indicators of candidate preparation, pre-service perceptions and practice:

  • Teacher-candidate perceptions about their own abilities using a Teaching Beliefs and Mindsets Survey that drew on previously-validated scales of self-efficacy overall and with culturally-responsive teaching practice;
  • Feedback from recent graduates on their perception of the quality of the program that prepared them, using a survey developed by the University of North Carolina;
  • Feedback from employers on the effectiveness of teachers they’ve hired, using a survey developed by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education; and
  • Student teaching observations using the CLASS observation rubric developed at the University of Virginia.

Who We Worked With

Hear from participating programs in our CIS network:

  • Guided by the improvement cycle framework, the team at the University of Missouri-St. Louis reimagined preparing teacher-candidates to better support K-12 emergent multilingual learners
  • Faculty at the University of North Carolina-Charlotte leveraged a data diagnostic tool developed by DFI to foster local community-wide engagement in their program’s continuous improvement work
  • University of Texas – Rio Grande Valley’s participation in the CIS network helped maximize their impact on efforts to strengthen the college’s culture of inquiry
  • Temple University leaned on CIS tools and thought partnerships with network peer institutions to strengthen data collection that informed more detailed, insightful problem-solving

Related Tools and Resources

Data and Assessments

Data Diagnostic Tool

This tool outlines a developmental journey of a teacher preparation program to become more data-informed.

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Data and Assessments

Improvement Cycle Framework

This framework supports educator-preparation programs through a sequence of activities that help to organize cycles of inquiry and improvement.

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