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Ohio revises ABLE Teacher Professional Development standards

To help ensure quality and consistency among Ohio Adult Basic and Literacy Education (ABLE) programs, program staff members operate under a uniform set of standards. While recognizing variability in practice and structure among programs, a fundamental set of practitioner standards helps to guide the work of administrators, teachers, and support staff. Defining the roles and expectations of Ohio ABLE professionals also informs the evolving system of professional development.

As with any standards, a cycle of revision must be implemented to ensure they are accurate and up to date. The practitioner standards for administrators, teachers, and support staff were last revised in September 2001. In FY 2013, CETE staff members were tasked with the revision of the teacher standards. In subsequent years, we will revise the remaining sets of standards.

able standard revisions
The ABLE administrator standards revision panel (l to r): Paula Kertes, Cuyahoga Community College; Karyn Evans, Southern State Community College; Connie Shriver, Mid-East Career Center; Peg Morelli, Upper Valley JVS; Robbie Thomas, Cincinnati Public School District; Susan Sheehan, Parma City Schools; Barbara Seib, Columbus City Schools; and Kat Yamaguchi, Godman Guild.

The process used to revise the teacher standards (as well as the administrator standards, currently in progress) involves three major categories of work:

  • initial revision of the standards
  • verification of the revision
  • task analysis of verified results

Throughout the three processes, ABLE subject matter experts (SMEs) provided inputs and reactions. Additional explanations of the processes follow.

Initial Revision

Using a process known as DACUM, CETE staff members systematically led SMEs through brainstorming and consensus building to define specific occupational information for ABLE teachers. DACUM includes the following steps:

  1. convening the occupational analysis panel of expert workers of varying demographics (e.g., rural/urban location, large/small agency size)
  2. facilitating the occupational analysis panel in the development of duty statements and the elaboration of those duties into tasks to describe the occupation
  3. facilitating the occupational analysis panel in listing the knowledge and skills associated with the occupation
  4. capturing lists of worker characteristics and behaviors (including traits and interests), tools, equipment, acronyms, and future trends for the occupation

The initial revision of the ABLE teacher standards is comprised of the elements below. As a whole, these elements describe not only what ABLE teachers should know and be able to do but also the knowledge, skills, characteristics, behaviors, tools, and equipment that are needed to be effective in their role.

  • Duties and Tasks – Duties are broad statements of the work and a cluster of items related to the job. They describe the larger categories of work. Tasks are smaller pieces that comprise the duties; they are specific, measurable, and observable units of work.
  • Knowledge and Skills – Knowledge and skills refer to areas of which ABLE teachers should have understanding and the ability to perform and which enable teachers to perform the duties and tasks.
  • Characteristics and Behaviors – Characteristics and behaviors are desired traits for ABLE teachers that support their performance.
  • Tools and Equipment – Tools and equipment are items that teachers will likely use in their role.

Verification (frequency and importance, ranking, essential items)

To verify the initial draft, CETE staff disseminated a survey to all Ohio ABLE teachers to review the results of the occupational analysis and provide feedback. Respondents were asked to rate each task performed by ABLE teachers on two scales, frequency and importance. Then they ranked the order of the larger duties, or categories, and provided an overall rating of the accuracy of the occupational analysis. Respondents also indicated whether tools, behaviors, knowledge, skills, and abilities were considered essential. Lastly, we asked survey respondents for their occupational outlook over the next 10 years.

The results of the verification survey inform the work of the task analysis which is described below.

Task Analysis

Drawing on its expert facilitators, CETE staff conducted a task analysis of the ABLE teacher standards (and similarly will do so with the administrator standards). Task analysis is the examination of individual tasks to determine the steps, required knowledge and skills, safety concerns, decision cues, and performance criteria. The task analysis allows SMEs to analyze task statements to further breakdown the characteristics of the occupation. While this was not necessary for standards revision, task analysis informs curriculum for professional development and identifies instructional components (e.g., knowledge, skills, attitudes, steps, tools, equipment used) for each task in the occupation, which leads to more thorough training.

The standards are publicly available under the Professional Development heading on the Ohio Board of Regents’ website at https://www.ohiohighered.org/able/reference.

A special thank you goes to all the ABLE practitioners whose contributions are invaluable to standards revision work and its continued success.

Adrienne Boggs