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Two grants will benefit the education department

The Dordt College Education Department has been awarded a $6,000 grant to purchase video conferencing equipment that would give teachers-to-be a peek into participating classrooms around the state.

“This equipment gives us a window into classrooms,” says Professor Tim Van Soelen. Student teachers and faculty will be able to observe, communicate, collaborate, and interact with all participating K-12 classrooms, teachers, and English Language Learners (ELL) throughout the state of Iowa. Participating schools have been provided with the video conferencing equipment so that colleges selected for the Teacher Quality Enhancement Grant Program can collaborate with their pre-service teachers.

The Teacher Quality Enhancement Grant Program was established by the Iowa Department of Education in part to improve the teaching of culturally and linguistically diverse students. It is funded by the U.S. Department of Education.

The Iowa Department of Education (DOE) also awarded the Dordt College Education Department an $11,895 grant to upgrade student learning and performance assessment and to improve its data management system.

“The grant will help us ensure that students in our program can apply what they know in their classrooms when they become teachers,” said Professor Dennis Vander Plaats. Vander Plaats says that performance-based assessment is important because it goes beyond measuring textbook learning to actually evaluating competencies in teaching.

The DOE grant will be used to upgrade data management of student learning assessment, to coordinate student learning assessment tools with program improvement assessment tools, to do additional data entry, and to train faculty in the workings and use of the Teacher Education Program (TEP) assessment plan.