Philipsburg:--- The findings of the Netherlands Quality Agency (NQA) desk research into the Teacher Education Program (TEP) at the University of St. Martin (USM) have came back favorable. The desk research results came in on Monday after a four month process.
Part of the desk research was also a self evaluation report by USM in which it describes how the TEP meets the Nederlands-Vlaamse Accreditatieorganisatie (NVAO) requirements set in the Assessment Framework for Higher Education.
The decision to participate in an external evaluation of the TEP was taken by USM in May 2011 because of concerns that arose on the side of the Ministry of Education regarding the quality of the TEP.
"The committee has the impression that the level of some subjects, e.g. information technology and mathematics, is higher than international standards require," the NQA noted.
Nine TEP students were adversely affected by the evaluation, since they were preparing for graduation in mid-June and a future in education and it became evident that the results of the evaluation would not be available before graduation. Despite the uncertainty of the outcome of the desk research, USM chose to still issue the degrees of these nine TEP students. This decision was made because officials at USM were convinced it was irresponsible to hold the students back from a well deserved graduation that late in the process. This decision was also made based on the belief that the quality of programs (including TEP) and courses offered at USM are meeting set standards.
USM is elated that the results are favorable for the institution but most of all for the students because the uncertainty is now over and it is clear the NQA emphasized the level of quality. USM is also happy that the Ministry of Education can rest assured that the institution is providing much needed teachers with the appropriate bachelor level education.
"The committee was impressed by the quality of these (students) portfolio's," the NQA stated.
"The committee is convinced that the portfolio's it has seen, represent the bachelor level of professional education."
The portfolios are a vital part of the TEP program and are to show performance levels, competencies, journal materials, lesson plans and reflections.
In addition, the positive response by NQA is also very good news for the freshmen and sophomore students in the TEP and TEP prospects, who were also in limbo.
"The committee is satisfied that TEP has developed a programme that supports students in reaching the final qualifications," NQA also stated.
There were also some procedural (not content) recommendations by the NQA for improvements and USM is already taking the relevant steps in this matter.