Buena Vista University’s School of Education Selects Watermark to Better Support its Educator Preparation Programs

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NEW YORK— September 12, 2019 –Watermark, the largest provider of educational intelligence solutions for higher ed worldwide, is pleased to expand its partnership with Buena Vista University (BVU) located in Storm Lake, IA. Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, BVU has selected Watermark’s award-winning learning outcomes assessment solution for use across all undergraduate and graduate programs within its School of Education.

With full accreditation of its Teacher Education and Professional School Counseling programs from the Iowa Department of Education, BVU’s Mental Health Counseling graduate program is currently seeking special accreditation from the Council for Accreditation of Counseling & Related Educational Programs (CACREP). BVU’s School of Education will use Watermark to report on candidate and departmental outcomes, as well as assess candidate preparedness for the classroom and clinical settings.

Part of BVU’s mission rests in providing students with personalized advising and continuous support by faculty throughout the four-year journey – preparing future teachers to make a successful transition from being a student in the classroom to an educator responsible for creating classroom environments that promote cooperation and stimulate learning. This is why BVU focuses programs around robust, practical classroom experiences.

With Watermark, BVU will be able to advance its initiatives by:

  • Centralizing its processes for collaborative and external evaluation of students participating in candidate placements and other field experiences
  • More deeply engaging students in their learning with the opportunity to track growth and areas for improvement
  • Leveraging edTPA submission capabilities to continue supporting its use of the performance-based, subject-specific assessment that measures the skills and knowledge required of educators.
  • Collecting more relevant data for insightful reporting, using rubrics for multiple assessment points (entry, mid-point, and exit) and aligning assessments to standards and outcomes for integrated reporting with other standard reports in the system.
  • Using the EDA in Watermark to assess candidate dispositions and AAC&U signature skills
  • Improving the overall quality and access of programmatic data reports that will increase transparency across the School of Education.

BVU will use the Educator Dispositional Assessment (EDA), developed by Watermark’s content partner, the Educational Dispositional Assessment Consultants. With the EDA in Watermark, BVU will have a valid and reliable measure of teacher candidate dispositions that can be used to track and monitor candidate dispositional behaviors as they progress through programs. The EDA consists of dispositions and related indicators identified through research and explicitly aligned with CAEP Standards, InTASC Standards, and professional dispositional elements found in prominent teacher evaluation instruments. The EDA helps provide programs with the evidence needed to meet state-level accreditation requirements, and when used with Watermark, can greatly simplify the rubric distribution, score collection, and reporting processes – while archiving data for quick reference at any time and increasing data transparency.

In addition, BVU will be able to leverage Via by Watermark’s expanded integration with Canvas, BVU’s Learning Management System, to create direct links between assignments in Canvas and Via so that students can submit work once, and faculty can access and grade work once, right from within Canvas – eliminating the need for any duplicative work.

“We chose to expand our use of Watermark across the entire School of Education because it will help us increase efficiency in our assessment process as we gather meaningful data that allow us to improve both candidate outcomes and meet accreditation requirements. We’re excited by the opportunity to use Via by Watermark to create even richer learning activities that align outcomes to multiple measures. We’ll be able to report on these outcomes and combine it with course and other field work to present a more holistic picture of candidate learning. The opportunity for our faculty and other instructional personnel to view student achievement aligned to standards, goals, and outcomes will be a critical step in representing what we as a School achieve in preparing educators and counselors,” said Dr. Ann Monroe-Baillargeon, Dean of the School of Education at Buena Vista University.

“We’re honored to have BVU’s School of Education as part of our Watermark community, as well as the opportunity to continue supporting their work. Our goal is to provide the solutions that programs and institutions need to meet the challenges of effectively planning for assessment, measuring effectiveness, and using that data to improve student outcomes. With better data in their hands, we look to empower our partners, like BVU, with the insights needed to make meaningful improvements that positively impact students,” said Kevin Michielsen, CEO of Watermark.

Since 1891, Buena Vista University has prepared students for lifelong success and blends liberal arts with real-world applications. The traditional campus on the shores of Storm Lake hosts students in a variety of majors and pre-professional programs, including elementary, secondary, and special education. Their degree-completion locations throughout the state, online, and graduate programs expand student potential with a pace and academic rigor designed for working adults and a variety of class formats that make scheduling even more convenient. For more information on BVU, visit www.bvu.edu.

Victoria Guzzo
Director of Corporate Communications