A process for assessing and enhancing academic and educational quality through voluntary peer review (ncate, 2008). The Grand Canyon University (gcu) College of


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College of Education

Glossary of Terms
Accreditation – A process for assessing and enhancing academic and educational quality through voluntary peer review (NCATE, 2008). The Grand Canyon University (GCU) College of Education is approved by the Arizona State Board of Education to offer Institutional Recommendations for the certification of building-level administrators and elementary, secondary, and special education teachers.

AEPA – Arizona Educator Proficiency Assessments are the testing requirements in Arizona that preceded NES exams for teacher candidates to take in professional knowledge and particular subject areas. The explicit purpose of these exams is to help identify candidates for certification who have demonstrated the level of knowledge and skills judged as important for Arizona educators. Please visit the AZ Department of Education for further information on current exams: http://www.azed.gov/educator-certification/files/2014/04/arizonaeducatorexamsupdate.pdf?20140611
Assessment of Applied Learning – A pictorial representation of teacher or principal candidate progress through the requisite program of study, from admissions through student teaching/internship.
Authentic Assessment – An assessment instrument that determines student comprehension using real-life or relevant scenarios.
AZ Teaching Intern The AZ Teaching Intern is a master’s level student that works as a full-time contracted teacher under the Intern Certificate provided by the Arizona Department of Education. The AZ Teaching Intern must be actively enrolled in either the Master of Education in Early Childhood, Elementary, Secondary, or Special Education and have a current Intern Certificate. The AZ Teaching Intern must hold a full-time contracted teacher of record position in the same content area as his or her degree program.
AZ Teaching Intern Letter of Recommendation – A letter signed by the appropriate COE designee that recommends the potential AZ Teaching Intern for the Intern Certificate.
Basic Skills Exam (BSE) An exam taken early in the student’s progression through education coursework that measures basic skills in reading, writing, and mathematics. This exam is a College of Education requirement for students in teacher education programs of study and is used for licensing and certification processes where necessary. Specific information regarding the basic skills exam requirements by state can be found in the Certification and Credential Center: http://www.gcu.edu/College-of-Education/Certification-and-Credential-Center.php

Students have three opportunities to pass the BSE, a process that may include additional coursework, before being asked to consider another program of study.
Benchmark Assignment – A cumulative assessment that reflects scaffolded learning throughout each course of the program of study. Each course measures student understanding of specific specialized professional association standards related to the program, e.g., Interstate Teacher Assessment and Support Consortium (InTASC) and the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE), and is reflective of applicable Learner Goals described in the College’s Conceptual Framework. In many cases, practicum/field experience, the action inquiry process, and/or contact with a variety of stakeholders within the greater educational community inform them as well.
Cancellation Form- Teacher Candidates use this form for requests for a change in student teaching (clinical practice). Requests must be in writing, with the submission of the Cancellation Form to a teacher placement specialist.
Candidate – A student enrolled in a professional education licensure program that leads to institutional recommendation.
Certification/Licensure – The official recognition by a state governmental agency that an individual has met qualifications specified by the state and is, therefore, approved to practice in an occupation as a professional (NCATE, 2008). (Some state agencies call their licenses certificates or credentials.)
Classroom Teacher – The classroom teacher is defined as the teacher hosting the Teacher Candidate during practicum/field experiences. The Classroom Teacher’s responsibility is to focus on the students in his or her classroom, rather than on the Teacher Candidate, modeling effective instructional practice, planning instructional lessons with students, and providing limited feedback on the Teacher Candidate’s performance.
Clinical Internship Description - In the three internships embedded within the program, the Principal Candidate applies building-level leadership skills in completion of tasks designed to facilitate the candidate's ultimate success in improving student achievement as a school principal. The learning dimensions of Awareness—developed through Observing, Understanding—developed through Participating, and Application—developed through Leading are manifested respectively in three strands of the internship. These three strands: Evaluating a working Continuous School Improvement Plan; completing an Action Planning project; and targeting development and refinement of Professional Leadership Skills.

Clinical Practice – The purpose of clinical practice experiences is to help prepare innovative, reflective and creative, professional educators with high ethical and moral standards who have the understanding, attitudes, and skills necessary for effective teaching. Clinical practice consists of a full-time/full-day experience Monday-Friday for 16 weeks. During this time, the Teacher Candidate is also enrolled in seminar coursework.

Clinical Practice Specialist – The clinical practice specialist assists with various clinical practice projects in the College. The clinical practice specialist communicates with candidates in the AZ Teaching Intern program or Teacher Candidates who have been placed on a Corrective Action Plan.

Clinical Practice Time/Activity Log – Teacher candidates use this log to record a weekly summary of their teaching activities and contact hours. The Cooperating Teacher will initial this log weekly. Completed and signed copies of the log for each eight-week session must be submitted to the GCU Faculty Supervisor.

Collaboration – The process of working with one or more parties in order to achieve a desired and/or specified result. Collaboration occurs at various levels (e.g., students, parents, and community) and is generally an important expectation included within state standards.
Collaborative Learning Community – A group of students who are directed to work together to complete an assignment. Grand Canyon University requires the use of collaborative learning communities (CLCs) in classrooms. CLCs provide students with a hands-on opportunity to identify, practice, and master team skills while applying course content to their professional lives. The key to a successful CLC is for the team members to plan a project early, to identify the needs of the project, to delegate responsibilities, and to establish deadlines; for educators, these skills are indispensable.
College of Education Office of Field Experience – The Office of Field Experience is the GCU office that works with schools and districts to confirm appropriate student teaching placements and Cooperating Teacher qualifications.
College of Education Promise – Believing in the excellence of our programs, Grand Canyon University and the College of Education promise to assist any graduate recommended by GCU for teaching or principal certification who is experiencing difficulty in their first year of teaching or leading.
Conceptual Framework An underlying structure of the College of Education that provides conceptual meaning to its operations and provides direction for programs, courses, teaching, candidate performance, faculty scholarship/service, and unit accountability (NCATE, 2008).

Content Knowledge –
The subject matter or discipline that teachers are being prepared to teach at the elementary, middle, and/or secondary levels. Content also refers to the professional field of study (e.g., special education, early childhood education, school psychology, reading, or school administration) (NCATE, 2008). To meet this expectation, programs of study that lead to credential are built with a minimum of 24 credits of content in preparation for the required content area exams. This is also known as Subject Knowledge.
Content Knowledge Exam – Exams that measure subject-specific content knowledge, as well as general and subject-specific teaching skills. Such exams include NES, AEPA, Praxis II, and those that are specifically state-mandated (described in other definitions within this glossary) and are used for licensing and certification processes. This is also known as a Subject Knowledge Exam.
Continuing Enrollment Rate – The rate at which students continue in their program of study. It is a measure of whether students continue to a new course within 29 days of completion of the prior course.
Cooperating School/District – The school/district where the Teacher Candidate is completing any clinical practice experience.
Cooperating Teacher – The teacher in whose classroom the Teacher Candidate is completing the student teaching experience. The Cooperating Teacher must be certified, endorsed, and/or licensed as a teacher. The primary responsibility of the Cooperating Teacher is to the school and district, then to the Teacher Candidate. These individuals have the expertise to provide formative feedback on the Teacher Candidate’s performance.
Cooperating Teacher Formative Feedback Form – This form is intended for use by a Cooperating Teacher to observe a student teacher at various points in the placement experience. The purpose of these formative assessments is to enhance the candidate's skills, offer constructive feedback, and develop future goals. It will be important that feelings and perceptions be shared between the Cooperating Teacher and Teacher Candidate to allow for professional growth and development of the Teacher Candidate.
Corrective Action Plan - The Corrective Action Plan is the individualized plan used to remediate teaching performance deficiencies. It is implemented if the Teacher Candidate does not demonstrate sufficient progress in performance and dispositions, when conduct unbecoming of a Teacher Candidate is alleged, or the candidate has been terminated by the site placement. The Office of Field Experience collects all school and student documentation and approves the termination. The College of Education Corrective Action Committee reviews all documentation and makes a determination as to whether the alleged violation or deficiency has been substantiated and which College-level penalty may apply.

Course Assignment Matrix – Labels, connects, and allocates a specific point value for each course assignment.
Course Instructor – The Course Instructor is the GCU faculty member assigned to teach education courses. Course Instructors are also responsible for implementing course assignments—as required through the curriculum—that relate to the Teacher Candidate’s practicum/field experiences. These individuals have the expertise to provide formative feedback on the candidate’s performance.
Credential/License – Evidence that a program of study has been completed and authorization to work in that area has been given by a governing board, usually a state board of education or professional standards board.
Critical Event Reflection - For all Designated Field Experience assignments, and at least once a week during completion of professional skill development activities in clinical internship, analyze the/a critical event. Principal Candidates will submit the Critical Event Reflection form to document the participation in and reflections on the event.

Cross-Categorical Special Education Certificate – A teaching certificate that qualifies the holder to teach students with mild to moderate intellectual disabilities, emotional disabilities, specific learning disabilities, orthopedic impairments, and other health impairments. GCU’s special education IR programs lead to this certificate.
Cut Score – The score that separates test takers into various categories, such as a passing score and a failing score. Individual states have individual cut scores for specific tests.



Data-Informed Decision Making The process of determining the reliability of current instruction and assessment based on data outcomes. This may be used in the implementation of change and/or the design of best practices in the classroom, school, and/or district.
Degree Progress Audit Maintained by the Office of Academic Records, this document details a student’s progress in completing a program of study.
Department of Defense Dependent Schools (DODDS) – Schools that serve dependents of U.S. military personnel in foreign countries. These schools are operated by the Department of Defense Education Activity (DODEA).
Diversity – Differences among groups of people and individuals based on ethnicity, race, socioeconomic status, gender, exceptionalities, language, religion, sexual orientation, and geographical area. The types of diversity necessary for addressing the elements on Teacher Candidate interactions with diverse faculty, candidates, and P-12 students are stated in the rubrics for those elements (NCATE, 2008).
Educational Administration Internship – The culminating experience in the Master of Education in Educational Administration program. This is a supervised, clinical, 16-week internship that encourages a cooperative arrangement among the key stakeholders. Upon completion, students possess an understanding of the complexity of being leaders, ranging from development of a vision for systemic change to demonstrating practical skills ensuring smooth day-to-day operations. All six ISLLC standards are reviewed and principal candidates are evaluated using the ELCC Evaluation Instrument for the Educational Administration Internship Form. The two parts of this internship require a total of 270 internship hours, split between the A and B sections of the course.
Educational Administration Internship and Activity Log Educational Education candidates are required to log internship hours on this log and submit to Taskstream in conjunction with required coursework.
Educational Administration/Ed Leadership Practicum Observation Activity Log – Candidates are required to log hours on this form and submit to their instructor, along with other benchmark assignment documentation as outlined in each course syllabus.
Educational Administration Program – This program of study has been designed to present students with a comprehensive continuum of learning opportunities based on current research findings, expert literature, and proven best practices that are based on the ISLLC 2008 Leadership Standards and Functions. The need to prepare school leaders capable of bringing about change designed to improve student achievement is paramount to the continued success of the American educational system in the 21st century. This program requires an internship and leads to an Institutional Recommendation (IR).
Educational Leadership Program – This program of study has been designed to present students with a comprehensive continuum of learning opportunities based on current research findings, expert literature and proven best practices that are based on the ISLLC 2008 Leadership Standards and Functions. The need to prepare school leadership capable of bringing about change designed to improve student achievement is paramount to the continued success of the American educational system in the 21st century. This program does not require an internship and does not lead to an Institutional Recommendation (IR).
Elements of Effective Instruction (EEI) Lesson Plan Template – The EEI template is based on Madeline Hunter's seven-step process intended for students to experience the elements of a lesson plan to achieve the desired result of the stated objectives and standards.
End of Course Surveys – At the end of a course, faculty and student End of Course Surveys (EOCS) are administered in the classroom. They are designed to measure satisfaction regarding materials, assignments, support services, and instruction. Data collected and analyzed are used to effect curricular and instructional improvements, to enhance the decision-making process in academic and institutional areas, and to substantiate institutional and program effectiveness.
Endorsement State approval to teach specific areas of study based on coursework completed.
Evaluation – An assigned GCU Faculty Supervisor performs 4-6 evaluations of the Teacher Candidate to ensure quality and application of related tasks and skills. The Teacher Candidate Collaborative Evaluation Instrument is used to evaluate Teacher Candidates in the areas of professional dispositions, InTASC standards, and standards of the specialized professional associations that govern the content of the student teaching placement. For candidates in an internship experience, the ELCC/ISLLC standards are the evaluation instrument.
Field Experience Specialist (FES) - The Field Experience Specialist is the GCU representative that supports the cooperating school personnel. The Field Experience Specialist verifies the Cooperating Teacher’s credentials, acts as liaison between the site placement and the university, and is the primary support resource for Cooperating Teachers and GCU Faculty Supervisors.
Fingerprint Clearance – In most programs of study, the practicum/field experience begins as early as the third course. Prior to participation in any practicum/field experience, students must have on file a copy of an official Arizona Fingerprint Clearance Card or the official results of their federal fingerprint background clearance from their state Department of Public Safety or comparable agency.
Formative Assessment – Throughout the student teaching or internship experience, the Cooperating Teacher/Principal Mentor conducts formal and informal supervisory conferences with the Teacher Candidate. During these meetings, performance, progress, and goals are reviewed, including recommendations for improvement. Typically, the Teacher Candidate will be evaluated at the midpoint and end of each of the two student teaching/internship sessions. The GCU Faculty Supervisor and Cooperating Teacher /Principal Mentor evaluate the Teacher Candidate collaboratively for the purpose of enhancing skills, offering constructive feedback, and developing future goals.
General Education Coursework - GCU general education coursework prepares graduates to think critically, communicate clearly, live responsibly in a diverse world, and thoughtfully integrate their faith and ethical convictions into all dimensions of life. To that end, undergraduate students will take courses in the following categories: University Foundations, Effective Communication, Christian Worldview, Critical Thinking, and Global Awareness, Perspective, and Ethics. Specific information regarding General Education requirements can be found in the Academic Catalog: http://www.gcu.edu/Academic-Catalog.php
GCU Faculty Supervisor – The GCU Faculty Supervisor is the professional education faculty member who has oversight and responsibility for the development, and evaluation of the Teacher Candidate. The GCU Faculty Supervisor is also certified, endorsed, and/or licensed as a teacher or principal. This individual works closely with the Cooperating Teacher and the Teacher Candidate to ensure that the quality, integrity, and outcomes of the student teaching/internship experience meet GCU standards.
Graduation Team – Comprised of the Enrollment Counselors, Student Service Advisors, and Teacher Education/Placement Specialists who are assigned to address the educational needs of Teacher Candidates.
Traditional Campus – Grand Canyon University’s 115-acre main campus facility at 3300 West Camelback Road in Phoenix, AZ.
IEP Meeting Observation Parent Consent Letter and Consent Form – It is the Teacher Candidate's responsibility to distribute the following IEP Meeting Observation Parent Consent Form to the parents of the student whose IEP meeting will be observed. The Teacher Candidate must collect the IEP Observation Permission Form from the parent prior to any observation in the IEP meeting.
Institutional Recommendation – GCU provides its Teacher Candidates with the opportunity to participate in a credentialing program, but does not guarantee certification. Because programs are accredited in the state of Arizona, the College of Education follows its Institutional Recommendation (IR) verification process for successful program completion. For non-Arizona state residents, recognize that educational requirements for certification vary from state to state; therefore, additional requirements may be necessary to receive certification in the student’s state of residence. All students are required to check with their respective state Department of Education to determine the certification requirements of their state.
IR Program – A program of study that leads to an Institutional Recommendation for certification.
Institutional Standards – Standards set by the institution that reflect its mission and identify important expectations for candidate learning that may be unique to the institution’s professional education unit (NCATE, 2008).
Kappa Delta Pi Alpha Epsilon Gamma is GCU's chapter of Kappa Delta Pi International Honor Society in Education, which is the premiere honor society for people who are preparing for, engaged in, or retired from the teaching profession. More information on Kappa Delta Pi can be found on the College of Education site in the Student Success Center.

Letter of Completion – A letter written to graduates indicating that they have completed a specific program of study. In some states, this is the only documentation required for certification.
Mentor – In those instances where the Teacher Candidate is currently serving in a contracted teaching position, it is not necessary to secure a Cooperating Teacher for supervisory responsibilities during student teaching. In those cases and upon approval of the school principal, a Mentor is assigned to the Teacher Candidate.
NES- National Evaluation Series (NES) exams are used for educator certification testing based on academic standards for professional knowledge and particular subject areas. The explicit purpose of these exams is to help identify candidates for certification who have demonstrated the level of knowledge and skills judged to be important for educators. Please visit your state’s Department of Education for further information on current exams.
Non-IR Program – A program of study that does not lead to an Institutional Recommendation for certification. Credits earned may lead to an endorsement or a pay raise in a state.
Non-Traditional Student – GCU candidates who take their coursework online.
Observation/Evaluation – The collaborative observation is a process between the GCU Faculty Supervisor and the Cooperating Teacher in which they reflect on the Teacher Candidate’s performance. The participants work together to effectively produce a final score for student teaching using the Teacher Candidate Collaborative Evaluation Instrument.
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