Dear Teacher:

Thank you for your interest in having a comprehensive character-building classroom. We truly believe character education is the most important part of education in today’s world.

You have read the book, Comprehensive Character-Building Classroom: A Handbook for Teachers, and applied the LC5 model to your classroom. Now you are ready to measure your implementation.

You will be answering this question, “Is comprehensive character education being taught in my classroom?” You believe it is, and are embarking on the adventure of validating it.

In a comprehensive character-building classroom, the you, the teacher, are an ethical educator showing moral leadership. You have created a climate that promotes character (moral climate). You have built a moral community in your classroom. You use student misbehavior as an opportunity for moral correction. Your curriculum includes moral issues, and your class(es) has engaged in common projects such as community service learning.

Here are some of the concepts you will use in the assessment process:

Formative assessment
Information will be gathered for the purpose of improving. During your self study or “internal evaluation” you will be making a growth plan to improve your program.

Summative evaluation
After making the improvements, you will make a final evaluation. The final evaluation is used for determining whether you have achieved implementing a comprehensive character-building classroom.

Self study
All good assessments begin with self study. You are in total control of this process and no one else needs to know about your findings. Begin the self study by using the Comprehensive Character-building Classroom Inventory (CBCI), and rating your classroom on each item. You may use pencil and keep the results private. In the self study you are looking for ways to make changes and improvements. You may decide to send out Parent Questionnaires as part of your self study. You may wish to ask students to fill out the Student Questionnaires as part of the self study. Some teachers ask members of their Local Assessment Team to assist with the self study by observing, filling out the CBCI in pencil, and sharing ideas for improvement. From the self study make a growth plan. If this book is used only for a self study, it is well worth it.

When you are reasonably certain that your classroom meets the standards outlined in the CBCI, you are ready for the summative evaluation.

In order to be an effective assessment, all data used in the Final Assessment should be collected in one school year.

Team Approach
The best assessment is multi-dimensional (meaning more than one form of assessment is used), and more than one person is involved. An assessment made by one person, no matter how competent that individual, is weaker than that of a team. This assessment calls for involvement by students, parents and a six-member team called the Local Assessment Team, consisting of you (the teacher), a peer or colleague of yours, a supervisor, a parent/community representative, a student (where desired) and a national character educator who provides external validation. All of these people serve as supporters, coaches, validators and evaluators.

Observation
Observing involves looking and listening, spending time in the classroom and recording what one sees and hears. Each member of the Local Assessment Team spends one hour observing and recording results in the CBCI. An observation does not record what is thought, inferred or believed.

Rating Scale and Check List
Rating scales and check lists are measurement tools. For example, a report card is a rating scale. A rating scale has items, called criteria, to be rated on a scale. The CBCI is a rating scale with three levels: 3=Fully met; 2=Partially met; 1=Not met. Under each numbered item are indicators to be checked. They are checklists.

Questionnaire
A questionnaire is a set of items to be read and responded to. Questionnaires are usually short and can be answered quickly. Two questionnaires have been developed for this assessment, one for parents and another for students. Each takes ten to twenty minutes to fill out. Usually they are filled out silently. Teachers of younger children may need to read each question out loud and have students mark their answers. If parents do not read, or speak a language other than English, they too may need a reader/translator.

Portfolio
A portfolio is a group of materials gathered together to give evidence of competence. Items in the portfolio are chosen by you. It may be in file folders, a loose leaf notebook, an expandable file or shoe boxes. A portfolio may include things such as sample newsletters, student work, notices sent home, pages from your lesson plan book, photographs or a video tape. Three-dimensional things like sculptures are sometimes included. Anything that gives evidence of character education can be included in a portfolio. We have listed basic items to be included.

Profile
During the Local Assessment Team meeting a profile will be created. The profile describes the strengths of your character education program and suggested strategies for improvement. A profile provides for continued growth, even after the assessment process is completed.

Accreditation or Award
There are many systems of evaluation where minimum standards must be met. For example, teachers must meet standards in order to be certified; schools meet standards in order to be state approved; school psychologists, speech and language pathologists and social workers have to be licensed within their professions. These kinds of evaluations are different from accreditation. In the metaphor of “the carrot or the stick,” accreditation is “the carrot” or award. Licensure, certification and state approval are “the stick”. Accreditation is based on incentive, rather than punishment. Its purpose is to recognize and improve the quality of character education. It is also based on the theory of vision (see chapter 1 of Comprehensive character-building classroom) where goals and ideals become motivators for achievement. Criteria for accreditation define high ideals for character education in the classroom. Because accreditation is voluntary, self-motivation is the guiding force. Accreditation is based on the idea that achieving quality comes from intrinsic motivation or an internal desire for quality. Finally, there is the extrinsic reward of public recognition.

Here is a chart showing the differences:

Licensure/Certification/State approval        Accreditation/Award

mandatory; legal requirement..............................voluntary, self initiated, selfpaced
 

minimum requirements are met............................high quality is demonstrated,    

                                                more than the minimum
 

compliance required, all standards must ……     standards are high: nobody is

                                                expected to be perfect
be met
 

governmentally regulated with laws, rules............professionally sponsored to

                                                award quality


state run..............................................................organized nationally and

                                                internationally
 

punitive for non-compliance.................................recognizes and awards

                                                achievement; the only
                                                punishment is loss of the award
 

threat to “illegal” teachers and schools ...........…..incentives, public recognition   

                                                and awards




Three Step Process

The assessment process described in this book has three steps. Some teachers may choose to take only the first step. Others may follow two of the steps. And some may choose to go through the entire accreditation process.

Step One: Self assessment by the teacher.

    Fill out CBCI.

    Make a growth plan.
 

Step Two: Invite others to participate. Choose from this list:
    a. Students fill out the student questionnaires.
    b. Parents fill out the parent questionnaires.
    c. A colleague observes using the CBCI.
    d. A supervisor observes using the CBCI.
    e. A parent/community representative observes using the CBCI.
    f. A student observes using the CBCI.
 

Use data collected to add to growth plan.
 

Step Three: Local Assessment Team
    a. Create a portfolio.
    b. Contact the Character Development Foundation which will assign a national character educator for external validation.
    c. The national character educator reads materials collected, and verifies that they are complete and done correctly.
    d. The national character educator observes your classroom and interviews you.
    e. The national character educator convenes a Local Assessment Team meeting to review the material and make a summative evaluation.
    f. The Character Development Foundation issues you an accreditation for having a comprehensive character-building classroom.

This book includes everything you need to complete the assessment process, steps one through three. You will find:

Assessment Tools:
1) A Comprehensive Character-Building Classroom Inventory (CBCI)
2) A questionnaire for students
3) A questionnaire for parents
4) Guidelines for your portfolio
5) Guidelines for student portfolios

Planning Materials:
6) Growth plan
7) A Step-by step guide through the assessment process
8) A letter to your supervisor
9) A letter to your peer or colleague
10) A letter to your parent/community representative
11) A letter to your student representative
12) A verification form to be sent to the Character Development Foundation when all information is collected.
 

Assessment Tool for the Classroom

Sample forms

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