Fairmont State University's history of preparing effective educators began in 1865, with the institution's establishment as the first private Normal School in West Virginia. The Normal School became Fairmont State Teachers College in 1931 and began offering the first 4-Year Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree in education. In 2006, Fairmont State College became Fairmont State University and extended its tradition of high quality educator preparation by offering the Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) and Master of Education (M.Ed.) degrees. FSU currently offers the BA in education in 19 specializations leading to initial certification, the MAT in 18 specializations leading to initial certification, and the M.Ed. in 2 specializations leading to either initial or advanced certification.
Since 1954, Fairmont State University's teacher preparation programs have been continuously recognized by the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE). Our most recent report from our NCATE team of examiners recognizes our programs on all standards, and notes strengths for two critical standards:
Standard 2: Assessment - "A strength of the unit is its commitment to utilize its assessment system... the unit, with the involvement of its professional community (FSU faculty, PDS coordinators, PDS host teachers, and FSU liaisons), is regularly evaluating the capacity and effectiveness of its assessment system. Data are shared regularly with appropriate stakeholders and are used to make program improvements."
Standard 3: Field Experiences and Clinical Practice - "The unit is committed to maintaining a high level of collaboration through the Professional Development School (PDS) partnership... the PDS Partnership is an exemplary component of unit operations. This collaboration facilitates theory to practice. PDS partners and unit faculty are equally dedicated to creating the Reflective-Responsive Educators described in the unit's conceptual framework."
The Fairmont State University Professional Development School Partnership (FSU PDS Partnership) is the center of the educator preparation experience for FSU teacher candidates. The strong, consistent collaboration and regular communication between university and public school faculty and administrators supports our continuous program improvement process and provides a network of support for our candidates. The FSU PDS Partnership is the largest school-university partnership in West Virginia, and includes 40 public schools in 6 counties in the FSU service region. All field experiences and clinical placements for candidates seeking initial certification occur in a PDS, with clinical supervision and support from a PDS Coordinator, PDS Host Teacher and FSU Liaison.
At Fairmont State University, we believe educator preparation programs and teacher candidates should be held to high standards. That commitment is demonstrated in our requirements for program entry with a required GPA of 2.75 - one of the highest required by West Virginia institutions preparing educators - and the requirement that all candidates pass the Praxis CORE tests prior to admissions. In addition to ensuring that our candidates are well-qualified at admissions, we also focus on their development throughout our programs; collecting and analyzing performance data to help us support and document their demonstration of the knowledge, skills and dispositions of successful educators in their fields.
The critical measure of educator effectiveness is the ability to demonstrate a positive impact on student learning. PDS host teachers and FSU liaisons and methods faculty observe candidates' instructional approaches as they relate to student learning; including their instructional planning, ability to assess and respond to learner needs, and essential teaching practices. The criteria for these assessments are aligned with the West Virginia Professional Teaching Standards (WVPTS) and the FSU Teacher Education Program Learning Outcomes and candidates are assessed as either "Unsatisfactory", "Basic", "Proficient", or "Distinguished" on their demonstration of the targeted criteria. More than 92% of our candidates are assessed as "Distinguished" on those criteria that reflect the ability to have a positive impact on student learning.
Graduates consistently receive high ratings from their administrators on their preparation to meet the WVPTS.
At program completion, our candidates rate their preparation highly, indicating they believe they are well prepared to meet the WVPTS and to have a positive impact on student learning. After completing their first or second year of teaching, our graduates also indicate high satisfaction with the preparation they received and that they are having a positive impact on student learning.
Each year we collect data to examine the quality of our programs and the performance of our candidates related to our Conceptual Framework. Our learning outcomes articulate what we want our candidates to demonstrate by program completion and as practicing professional educators. Our unit Assessment System includes not only FSU and PDS faculty and administrators, but also state stakeholders and students. Data are analyzed annually to develop improvement plans for the coming year and teams of FSU and PDS faculty, administrators and students work during the summer and throughout the academic year to develop and implement program improvements.
FSU Completers of Initial Preparation Programs
FSU Praxis Pass Rates
|Group||Number taking tests||Number passsing tests||Pass rate (%)|
|All program completers, 2016-17||27||25||93|
|All program completers, 2015-16||48||45||94|
|All program completers, 2014-15||33||31||94|
|All program completers, 2013-14||60||56||93|
|All program completers, 2012-13||102||98||96|