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Theatre Arts Program

1.   Please describe your program's assessment process and what standards you are measuring in relation to the NCATE and State standards of knowledge (content, pedagogy and professional), skills (professional and pedagogical) and dispositions. Is the system course based, end of program based, or other? Be sure to reference how the faculty in your program was involved in developing the assessment process. In addition, describe how the assessment of standards relates to the unit's and program's conceptual framework.

Program Interpretations and Conclusions:

The Theatre Arts Department, as a faculty, focuses primarily on assessing our students in content knowledge and professional skills for the first three years of their training. We train and assess them in a number of different areas, which are reflected in the Washington State Standards for Theatre Arts teachers: (1) Elements, Processes and Tools (knowledge and skills in acting, design, directing), (2) Production Skills (knowledge and skills in technical theatre, theatre production), (3) Critical Response (the ability to assess their own artistic work and the work of others), (4) Context (historical and cultural contexts in the creation of theatre arts), (5) Dramatic Literature (knowledge and understanding of different works of dramatic literature in context). At the same time, the students also take several classes which ask them to combine the different skills and knowledge sets, thus fulfilling the State Standards for (6) Connection Across the Arts. Projects for these classes require them to use all their knowledge and skills in collaboration, such as producing a play (which requires using technical, production, critical response and elements, processes and tools in tandem) or writing a study guide for an existing production (which requires students to create ways to use other arts and activities in relation to theatre).

Students are assessed continuously throughout this process, on a course-by-course, and project-by-project basis. Because a Theatre Arts teacher must master many different skills (carpentry, welding, sewing, wiring, lighting, budget management, theatre maintenance, as well as acting, directing, advertising, managing projects), almost every member of the Theatre Arts faculty is involved in the training and assessment of our Theatre Ed majors at some point during their training at CWU. All Theatre Arts faculty have created outcomes and assessments which train students thoroughly in all the skills they will need to be successful Theatre Arts teachers and program directors. Targeted artifacts, which reflect and assess student achievement, are earmarked for each class, and delineated in each course's syllabus. Theatre Arts faculty meet regularly each quarter to assess both the achievement of each student, and the outcomes and assessments outlined in each course. As a group, we make constant adjustments. For instance, two years ago, when it became clear that we were not meeting the State Standards in training students in the design area, the faculty collaborated to create a new class (TH 340 - Introduction to Design) which is especially constructed to help introduce Theatre Ed majors to the theatre design process. Two years ago, when it became clear that knowledge and experience auditorium management needed to be added to the list of skills our Theatre Ed majors needed to achieve, the faculty decided to include TH 367- Stage Scenery--which includes a unit on auditorium management and OSHA safety regulations--in the required coursework of each Theatre Ed major. Laat year, we added a new course to the curriculum which focuses on the skills needed to produce major musicals in high schools (TH 315). This year, we have been readjusting and refining our basic acting sequence to give our future theatre educators more knowledge in current acting techniques, including recent training innovations by Anne Bogart and Richard Scheckner.

When most of the content and knowledge coursework is finished--usually in the students' third or fourth year of study--the Theatre Ed program focuses on pedagogical skills, allowing students opportunities to integrate all the preceding coursework into the design and execution of lesson plans and practicum teaching for different populations. At the same time, the students have usually completed much or most of their preparatory coursework in the Education Department, so they are able to integrate the pedagogical and content skills from those classes in teaching and assessing Theatre Arts. Culminating projects for assessing pedagogical skills include designing curriculum, course planning, lesson planning and practicum teaching. Again, almost all of the Theatre Arts faculty are involved in this process as well, since they act as informal consultants in the design and execution of practicum teaching. For example, this year, one of our students taught a practicum lesson at Eisenhower High School on Stage Combat Skills. The student worked closely with our Stage Combat professor to design his lesson plan, and create effective exercises for this practicum class.

Student disposition is formally assessed in the Theatre Arts Department, and constitutes a continual process, in which all Theatre faculty are involved, throughout any given student's career in our department. Early in their training, while taking TH 166, students are introduced to our Department Handbook, which includes detailed expectations with regards to conduct and responsibility in the exacting and collaborative nature of theatre work. In all projects, classes and meetings, students are required to adhere to this Handbook , and when they do not, disciplinary action ensues. Disciplinary action is determined on a case by case basis, and involves both faculty, advisors and a student advisory council. Students who are habitually unable to adhere to the Handbook's code of conduct--those who cannot maintain their grades, who act irresponsibly, who endanger the lives of others, who fail to meet outlined responsibilities, who fail to meet deadlines and who fail to meet artistic and behavioral standards are not permitted to continue their studies in the depart- ment. Each student signs a commitment to adhere to the Handbook's guidelines upon becoming a Theatre Arts Major. The Handbook outlines codes of conduct, levels of responsibility and expectations of deportment for every aspect of Theatre training--from working in the Shop as a carpenter, to stepping on stage in a leading role. Students are held to the expectations in the Handbook for all the projects they complete in each class and each production. Their dispositions are therefore constantly assessed by the entire faculty, from the time they enter the Department, until such time as they graduate. It is nearly impossible for a habitually irresponsible or dishonest student to maintain a position in the Department of Theatre Arts at CWU. Most students who are unsuited for responsible and collaborative work are weeded out of the Department by their second year.

The entire Theatre Arts faculty adheres to the Education Program's Conceptual Framework of active learning. All of our faculty strive to be facilitators in their classroom--teaching a set of specific skills, and then allowing students to engage in projects which use those skills in different ways. Theatre Arts lends itself well to active learning. Our students are constantly engaged in making, building and doing things--both collaboratively and individually. All our Theatre Ed majors are active learners, and have an opportunity in each class to conceive, design, create, build and critique.

2. Below is an analysis of the frequency with which your program cites CTL, WA State Standards/Competencies, and/or national standards within your LiveText artifacts, rubrics, and reports. Please examine the charts and write your program's interpretations and conclusions based on the information provided. (e.g., Are the standards dispersed appropriately in your program? Are all the standards represented as you wish them to be? After reviewing this analysis are there changes your program would recommend making to the way you cite standards or assess your candidates using LiveText?)

Program Interpretations and Conclusions:

As mentioned in the previous section, our Department's course of study for Theatre Education focuses primarily on area knowledge and content. Our students take a full set of required courses in in the Education Department, from the CTL, which addresses much of their assessment in pedagogy and the teaching profession. In the Theatre Department, we are experts in training students of Theatre Arts --thus we focus the majority of our attention on training and assessing content skill and knowledge. This is reflected accurately in the chart above.

I notice that a large number of classes are delegated to fulfill the WA State DR K1 and S1, but this is necessary, given the nature of Theatre Arts. DR K1 and S1 include mastery of multiple skills: acting, directing, stage carpentry, costume creation and design, lighting equipment maintenance, lighting design and scenery design, to name a few. For this reason, it appears a disproportionate number of course focus on just a few of the Standards. I would argue, however, that each of the courses is necessary, in order for students to master and be effectively assessed on each of the needed skills.

In TH 429 - Directing 2, students direct and produce a one-act play. This project synthesizes a number of developing skills - script analysis, stage design, project management, directing skills, self reflection and critique, including the critique of peers. Up until two years ago, this course was not required by Theatre Education majors. However, in reassessing the program in 2005, it was felt by the majority of the faculty that the experience of directing a complete play was essential for Theatre Education majors, especially since each of them would be directing plays in their profession.At present, the Theatre Arts faculty is still embroiled in designing the best rubric for assessing this project, which must be evaluated on multiple levels, by multiple members of the faculty. We have been hampered in completing this project by the dearth of Theatre Education Students who presently have completed TH 429. In this past quarter, we had our first Ed majors complete TH 429, and thus have begun the process of collecting data on their assessment and achievement.

3. Below you will find one sample of your Live Text Report that identifies an aggregation of candidate learning outcome data. Please examine all of your reports in the LiveText exhibit area and discuss the accuracy, consistency, and fairness of the data, as well as what improvements could be made in the program assessment rubrics, courses, artifacts, or reporting. Include your interpretations relative how well your candidates are meeting standards. After examining all of your report data, list any changes your program is considering.

Program Interpretations and Conclusions:

The sample above illustrates candidate learning in basic scene technology—in this case, students’ rate of success in building a stage flat and using different stage painting techniques. Like most of our assessments in the Theatre Ed program, it illustrates that all of our students are meeting or exceeding the outcomes and goals we have set for them. Our students are successfully learning the skills they need to succeed as Theatre Arts teachers.

All data show our students are meeting or exceeding our learning targets with one glaring exception to an otherwise very satisfying success rate: in TH 207-Introduction to Children’s Drama, students are currently asked to write a final paper in which they outline a personal philosophy of theatre arts education, and its importance in child development. They are supposed to back up their own conclusions with relevant and recent research regarding the benefits of arts education. Many of our students are not meeting standards in this assignment. After meeting with faculty, the reasons for this failure seem clear. Most student in our program take TH 207 in their freshman year, and probably do not possess the critical thinking skills, nor the research skills, to articulate an adequate philosophy and find relevant research to support their findings. It is clear this assignment is not one that the students can satisfactorily complete at such an early stage in their development.

At present, the Theatre Arts faculty is refining the assignment to still meet the need, without putting such an unbearable burden on the students. The most recent idea is to supply the students with articles and research on the benefits of arts education, discussing the articles in class, testing the students on the key points in the research, and then guiding them to use the data to support their own thoughts and feelings about the importance of arts education. We are hoping that this adjustment will help the students learn what they need to know.

4. Below you will find a chart of the CTL Standards aggregated by course. Please examine the data results and discuss any improvements if any you might consider for your program. Using these data, please reflect upon your candidates' success in meeting standards. Compare these data to the data provided in the WEST B and E charts that follow. Is there consistency in the rates of success? What do these data tell you?

Program Interpretations and Conclusions:

I think of several key points when I look at the data chart above.

First of all, it is out of date, and although it shows no data for several of our upper division classes, such data actually exists in more current reports. The missing data—like the data shown above—all indicate that out students in Theatre Ed are performing adequately in their course work and achieving the outcomes needed to satisfy Department, college, state and national standards.

That said, there is also very little data to analyze at this point, especially in upper division classes. The reasons for this are threefold :

(1) the Theatre Arts Department did not collect formal data on student progress in Theatre Education on Livetext before 2005. Up until then, our sole means of measuring student achievement was through (a) an entrance/exit examination, which all majors took upon declaring their major, and then retook after four years of classes, which quantitatively measured knowledge of theatre arts and included questions on virtually every aspect of theatre (much as the West E does) (b) adherence to the Handbook, which measured a student’s dispositional aptitude for responsibility, collaboration, following instructions, adhering to deadlines, and maintaining professional standards of behavior. This was measured by the number of—or lack of—discipline letters, disciplinary measures taken (such as suspension from the program for a period of time, due to Handbook infractions), or—in some cases—citations, awards or letters merit, offices held in student groups, etc. (c) grades in classes, and an overall GPA, which needed to be at least 2.5 to stay in the Theatre Department, at 3.0 to stay in the Education sequence. Since switching to Livetext, devising the subsequent rubrics, and maintaining accurate student records, the department has been able to track student progress in much more detail, and has thus been able to make adjustments to our classes with more accuracy and rapidity. However, we still only have barely three years of data to analyze, and thus very little data in the upper division classes (300 and above) to examine.

(2) But there is another element at work in the dearth of upper division course data as well. This has to do with student attrition in the Theatre Ed program at Central Washington University. Whether this is unique to Theatre Arts study or not, I do not know, but I do know that many students in our department enter as freshman believing they wish to be Theatre Arts teachers in K-12 public schools, and subsequently learn that they are actually more interested in being artists rather than teachers of arts. Of the 26 Theatre Ed majors who were still working on their degrees in the Fall of 2006, more than 33% (8 students) have recently switched their majors to Acting and Performance or Youth Theatre, with plans to seek work in professional theatre and/or pursue MFA degrees upon graduation. These students, once they switch majors, cease to post their assignments on Livetext, and any data which might have been collected in their upper division classes falls by the wayside.

(3) A further 15% of Theatre Ed majors generally switch from a Theatre Education major to a Theatre minor sometime in their sophomore year, and choose another Education specialization, such as Music, Elementary Ed or English. Reasons for this switch are manifold, but fall into two main categories (a) the Theatre Ed sequence is intentionally challenging. The job of a public school Drama director—who must be a theatre jack-of-all trades, as well as a first class project manager and fundraiser, in addition to a smart and effective educator— is not a job for the faint of heart, and our program makes great demands on the intellectual and creative energy of each and every student. A portion of students discover each year that they really aren’t up to the challenge, and prefer a more sedate, and more predictable line of study. (b) Prospective Theatre Ed students also discover that the job market for Theatre Education in Washington State is poor. They enter the major, believing they are finding a place to develop their interest in Theatre Arts which will lead to a secure job in a desirable school district. The reality is, full time Drama positions in Washington State are rare, and most school districts hire half-time instructors, or demand their Theatre Arts teachers to also be endorsed in another subject. Realizing the course of study offers little job security, the students switch to a more marketable concentration and consequently slip out of the data analysis stream.

All of this is reflected in the data chart above. I would say, in sum, the chart shows what I know to be true: that all students who survive in the Theatre Ed major meet or exceed all of the requisite standards, but the number of students who survive through the whole program, into the upper division, are few. Given the job market and the demands of the profession, I think this is probably all to the good. In all the arts many are called, but few have the stamina to stick it out. The field of Theatre Arts Education is no exception.


Please find below the West B data for the teacher residency program. Please use these data, the LiveText data, and the West E data found below to predict candidate success in your program. Given theses summaries, are there changes to your program or to the unit your program recommends the CTL consider?

  • Between 2005-2007, 49% of the candidates passed all three sections of the exam their first attempt, 84% passed the reading portion in their first attempt, 82% math their first attempt, and 65% passed writing their first attempt.
  • The mean number of candidates not passing reading portion is 11%, math 12%, and writing 25%.

CTL WEST B Data Summary 2002 to Present


Program Interpretations and Conclusions:

To my knowledge all or most of the Theatre Ed majors in our program pass the West B in reading and writing on their first attempt. A few usually have to take several tries at the West B mathematics portion before they pass satisfactorily. In this, our students in Theatre Arts are in alignment with the data above.

6. The WEST E is administered by ETS as a state requirement for program Exit, measuring content knowledge by endorsement area. ETS has not sent the final corrected data summary at the time of this report, however, the data we keep on a continuously updated basis is described below in the following graph. The graph compares 2005-2006 and 2006-2007 data by endorsement area. We suspect the 2006-2007 data will change after all scores are received from ETS. According to this set of data, 2005-06 pass rates were 90%. Remember all candidates must pass the test to be certified, so they take it multiple times. We are working on authenticating a different process that will show how many times candidate take the test and when. The 2006-07 data indicates pass rates of 87%. If your program is one of those with a pass rate below 80%; what program recommendations are you considering that will positively affect the rate of passing the WEST-E for 2007-2009?

Program Interpretations and Conclusions:

Although it is not reflected on the above chart, my own data indicates that of the three Theatre Ed students who have taken the West E in the past two years, all of them have passed the test, giving our program a 100% pass rate in the West E, since we started collecting data on student achievement two years ago.


Please find below the EBI teacher and principal data for all program completers. Discuss and report in the space provided what your program recommends the unit should accomplish to improve overall satisfaction, or what your program is doing to improve the trend.

  • This survey is administered through OSPI and is contracted through Educational Benchmarking Inc. These data are collected for all new teachers in public schools by surveying new teachers and their principals.
  • Response rate average over the seven years n=105
  • The graph represents a seven year average satisfaction trend by category
  • Highest satisfaction ratings are in the areas of:
    • Student learning
    • Instructional strategies
    • Management, control and environment
  • Lowest satisfaction ratings are in the areas of:
    • Reading skills
  • 5 year Principal responses followed similar patterns as teachers n=41


Program Interpretations and Conclusions:

It appears from the chart above that reading skills are consistently low in satisfaction.

Since reading skills are not measured in my program--either from a teaching or learning perspective--I have no comment on the above data collection.


Please find below first year and third year teacher survey results summarized by graphing mean responses for each question.

  • This survey is administered by CTL and data trend summary represents 2004-07
  • The average response rate for 2004-2007 is 15%
  • First year teacher N= 375, Third year teacher n =200
  • The graph and subsequent ANOVA demonstrates a significantly higher average satisfaction rating from first year teachers when compared to third year teachers (p<.05)
  • Highest satisfaction ratings are in the areas of:
    • Subject matter knowledge
    • Application of EALR's
  • Lowest satisfaction ratings are in the areas of:
    • Classroom management
    • Involving and collaborating with parents

Program Interpretations and Conclusions:

The above data supports my own conclusions from observing and evaluating my Upper Division students in TH 420, which is the practicum teaching portion of the Theatre Education sequence. It points up a hole I see in my own training program. It is fairly easy-- all things considered--to measure and make sure that students are meeting standards with regards to subject matter knowledge and the EALR's. These are substantiated, scrutinized, assessed, regurgitated and assessed again in multiple classes, in multiple projects, using every conceivable medium. Consider some of the data charts above (in point #2, for example), and I can see how fully we hammer subject knowledge into our students' heads. There is nothing wrong with this. It is our responsibility as educators to make sure our students know stuff. It is our responsibility as education teachers to make sure our students have a working knowledge of the EALR's.

But classroom management and parent/teacher communication? These are certainly serious holes in my own teacher training program. The students are required to consider parent involvement in their program (it is the rare Theatre Arts Director in the modern public high school who does not rely on parent support in one form or another), when they are creating production calendars and budgets. In their curriculum building project, each student is assigned a mythical school, with a diverse, but specific population, in an unexpected, but specific locale (a rural high school with a primarily Christian/Mormon population, for example, or an urban middle school with a primarily African American population). The students must design a Drama curriculum for their school based on space, budget and population, as well as the EALR's, and parent involvement--or lack thereof--is certainly a "wild card" they may draw for their program ("wild cards" are drawn at random and include challenges--such as "no theatre space, only a cafeteria"--and opportunities, such as "strong parent support--group of stay-at-home moms who make all costumes for the musical," or "grant money available for new lighting equipment.") Students take these wild cards into account when planning their curriculum and programs on paper--but we do no actual practice or formal exercises designed to train students to create and sustain parent support (how do you start a phone tree? How do you recruit parents? How do you get parent buy-in? How do you run a parent meeting regarding student expectations for your show? What if a parent is mad you didn't cast their kid in the show?) I have been thinking about including a "Role Play Day" the next time I teach TH 420, in which the students have to handle--in role plays--various of the parent scenarios above (and perhaps some other plum ones I can remember from my career as a teacher--like, what about that parent who never picks their kid up from rehearsal? Or who doesn't send their physically challenged student to school with extra diapers?) But I still wonder, is that adequate preparation for dealing with real parents in a real population? It's more than nothing, but it is enough?

As for classroom management--that can only be achieved with hands-on teaching practice. All beginning teachers make the same class management mistakes. But how, besides a few months of student teaching, wherein the beginning teachers are closely super- vised--can we really prepare our students to handle diverse classrooms of students? I think we do everything we can to make sure they are ready, but nothing makes them more ready than running their own class for a year or two.

I take heart that as time goes by, the overall survey results score higher--in other words, teachers in their third year are more satisfied than teachers in their first year. If anything, that indicates to me that we are at least training students who will become teachers who can solve problems, find creative solutions, and get better at their jobs. In truth, as far as preparation and education goes--can we do any better than that? In the end, every teacher needs to be a lifelong learner and a daily problem solver. It seems to me, the above chart indicates our program is helping to create teachers that are exactly that.


Please find below a comparative analysis of candidate dispositions from beginning candidates to finishing candidates. Please comment on the changes you observe in your candidates over time and describe how and why you think this occurs. What does your program specifically do to engage candidates in developing professional teacher dispositions?

  • This inventory is administered by the CTL at admissions (N=645), and again at the end of student teaching (N= 195). Some of the 645 candidates have not yet student taught, which is why the n's are different.
  • There is a significant difference in 12 of 34 items (p<.05) between beginning candidates and candidates completing student teaching
  • Change is in the preferred direction from agree to strongly agree
  • This means somewhere between entry and before exit, the teacher program candidates are developing stronger professional beliefs and attitudes that reflect the underlying values and commitments of the unit's conceptual framework. Future work will include data that tells us where this change is occurring and if there are difference caused by demographic variables. If you want to read more about this disposition instrument, the validation study is published on the OREA web site under research.

Program Interpretations and Conclusions:

It does not surprise me that there would be a significant difference in students' professional attitudes and understanding of the conceptual framework before and after student teaching. It is in student teaching that our young teachers-in-training put their gifts into the field and participate in our most active of active learning activities. It stands to reason that this would be one of their most potent and lasting learning opportunities.

I have noticed a similar jump in understanding, comportment and buy-in to active learning principles in Theatre Ed students when they have completed any large, culminating project which puts them in touch with actual student populations and puts the theories they have been learning into practice. Students in Theatre Ed work with real populations in three major projects: when they perform for student groups in TH 207, when they create a study guide and performance in TH 312, and when they prepare and present lessons in TH 420. In each of these projects, there is a large jump in understanding and a corresponding integration of the conceptual framework in all their discussions and self evaluations.



Final Student Teaching Evaluation Report on LiveText

  • The data report is too large to be placed in this document. Please access the data by going to this link on our assessment system web site
  • The report reveals the final assessment of elements found in state standards IV and V
  • Candidates are generally performing at a high level, although there are some candidates as depicted by the colors green and red who are not performing to standard.
  • Examination of those elements indicates some agreement with results provided in the 1st and 3rd year teacher survey.

Please look at these data carefully and discuss with your program faculty some ways the teacher residency program can begin to address the few but common deficits occurring in candidate knowledge and skills relative to the State standard elements. If you need to refer to state standards please refer to this link in the assessment system website:


Program Interpretations and Conclusions:

The data indicates and supports what I already seem to have learned, that is: (1) in general, the large majority (95%) of students who make it to student teaching in our course of study and complete student teaching are trained well and prepared to be good teachers, who meet or exceed State, national and university standards of competence. (2) we seem to be failing somewhat in training our students to consider community resources and parents when they are planning and executing their teaching work.

As cited in Item #8, I have some ideas about how I can better prepare Theatre Arts students to work with community and parents to create a thriving program, and I intend to make that a priority the next time that I teach TH 420. Instead of paying cursory attention to the importance of parent communication and community involvement, I will focus a unit on it, and give the students hands-on practice, through role play and problem solving, to come up with solutions to help train them to think of parents and community as resources.

I can also revise the final paper assignment in TH 207, which asks students to take into account parent needs and desires when designing a season of children's theatre shows. Since this assignment is already in revision (see item #3 in this report) it will be an easy matter to further refine and aim it, so that student awareness of parents and community can be further targeted.


Please examine these data and report any discussions your program has regarding the reported results.

  • This survey is conducted by Career Services and reported to OSPI. The report, however, has been reanalyzed and the summary reflects the new analysis, which covers 2002-2006.
  • Average response rate = 57%
  • Of that 57%, the average percent of graduates who get jobs in state is 94%
  • The average percent of graduate still seeking a position is 27%
  • Two percent of the 57% have decided not to teach
  • For 2005-2006; 35 % of the program graduates responded to questions regarding ethnicity and gender. Out of the 35% who responded, 90% were Caucasian, 5% were Hispanic, 3% were African-American, and 1.8% were Asian.

Program Interpretations and Conclusions:

Of the three students who have graduated with degrees in Theatre Education in the past three years--two of them are employed full time in public schools in Washington and one of them opted to move to Nevada, where I believe he teaches part time. I have two more Theatre Ed majors planning to graduate in winter or spring, 2009, and will follow up with them as they begin to seek employment.

Many Theatre Ed majors choose another endorsement--such as English, Special Ed or Music--as well as theatre, in order to make their chances of in-state employment better. Of the two Theatre majors above, one of them has an actual full-time Drama position, and the other teaches Science and Drama.

It is sifficult for me to assess what bearing the above data has on my own program, since full time Theatre teaching position in Washington State are rare, and getting rarer. However, given the current job market, I believe the students in my program are receiving adequate placement. We have not been collecting accurate data on our graduates long enough to make a conclusive statement, however, about how the placement of our Theatre Arts students relates to this chart.






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