School of Education Assessment and Support System

All candidates seeking certification must successfully complete procedures related program admission, monitoring, and exit criteria. Program admission procedures vary according to program. Procedures include faculty interviews, satisfactorily passing appropriate tests, completion of 48-60 hours of coursework by the time candidacy admission is decided, earning the appropriate quality point average and major quality point average, and the recommendation by department faculty. The candidate’s progress toward competencies is monitored while completing requirements in the program. Candidates, as stated before, must maintain the appropriate program general and major quality point averages. Each program provides each candidate with a copy of its program requirements and expectations.

Standards in Practice

The Standards in Practice Document is used to guide teacher candidates through their course work and clinical experiences.  It can be found at the following web link:


The School of Education’s assessment system is designed to monitor teacher candidates’ professional development as well as to inform program decisions.  Below is a chart detailing the phases and data collection procedures:

Assessment System

Profession Education Programs Knowledge Base

With the publication of Schön's The Reflective Practitioner in 1983, the notion of "knowledge-in action" has held sway in teacher education programs. Since the 1980s "reflective teaching" has become a slogan for most teacher education programs (Zeichner, 1996), and teacher education programs have begun to develop curricula that help to instill the dispositions and skills necessary to study one's own teaching practices.  However, according to Zeichner (1996), much of the work that comes under the heading of the reflective practice movement undermines teacher development.  He argues, "Even when reflection is used as a vehicle for genuine teacher development, however, teacher development often is seen as an end in itself, unconnected to broader questions about education in democratic societies.  In its extreme form, we see an uncritical glorification of anything that a teacher does or says and an outright rejection of anything that is initiated outside the immediate context of classrooms"(p. 201). He argues further "efforts to prepare teachers who are reflective must both foster genuine teacher development and support the realization of greater equity and social justice in schooling and the larger society" (p. 201).  Zeichner identifies four themes that undermine the potential of reflective practice for teacher development:

(1) a focus on helping teachers better replicate practices suggested by research conducted by others and a neglect of the theories and expertise embedded in teachers' practices; (2) a means-end thinking that limits the substance of teachers' reflections to technical questions of teaching techniques and internal classroom organization and a neglect of questions of curriculum; (3) facilitating teachers' reflections about their own teaching while ignoring the social and institutional context in which teaching takes place; and (4) an emphasis on helping teachers reflect individually (p. 206).

The UW-L model expands a personal orientation to reflection to address those themes that Zeichner has identified.  A critical/social orientation to teacher education, according to Feiman-Nemser, (1990 p.226) “combines a progressive social vision with a radical critique of schooling.”  Our focus on the critical/social orientation includes problem-posing dialogue, and student agency as central to our model.

Materials and Measures

Before we can determine what material or measures to assess in evaluating teacher candidate performance or impact, we must first ask what outcomes we expect from teacher education for teacher learning, professional practice and student learning (Cochran-Smith, 2001).  Cochran-Smith identified three ways that outcomes of teacher education are currently being considered:

  1. through evidence about the professional performance of teacher candidates;
  2. through evidence about teacher test scores; and
  3. through evidence about impacts on teaching practice and student learning.

Darling-Hammond (2006) notes that most of the work done falls in the first category – evidence about the professional performance of candidates.  Our assessment system aligns with these programs in that we believe that while ultimately effective teaching should show impact on student learning, given the short amount of time in a teaching context for the professional semester and all of the variables that are out of the control of the teacher candidate, it would be unfair to evaluate teacher candidates on impact on their student learning. We base our assessment system on how well our teacher candidates can demonstrate competencies in the teaching standards.  Similarly, Zeichner (2006) notes that mastery of the standards should be the focus of our program evaluations. Thus, our assessment system focuses on the WI standards for educators.

Developed from data gathered during the AASCU survey (Wineburg, 2006), the Renaissance Partnership for Improving Teacher Quality and the Wisconsin Administrative Code highlight common points of data collection in matrix form across the four gates and across candidate learning, performance and outcomes.  State standards drive the specific requirements and data collected, as indicated by Darling-Hammond who wrote that the performance-based standards developed during the past decade reflect a consensual, research-grounded view of what teachers should know and be able to do (Darling-Hammond, 2006).

The evidence gathered at each phase provides a lens into candidate learning that occurs through particular courses and field experiences as well as through the program as a whole; the teaching performance of individuals as teacher candidates and as novice teachers; and the outcomes of this performance for students. The level of performance, test scores or ratings are aligned with PI34.  In Wisconsin, PI 34 specifics a cumulative GPA of not less than 2.5 on a 4.0 scale on at least 40 semester credits of collegiate level course work for admission to initial programs, or 2.75 in a bachelor’s degree program for admission to advanced programs.  Exceptions are possible.  At program completion in both the initial and advanced levels, a cumulative GPA of 2.75 is required for initial programs, or 3.0 for advanced programs.  PI 34 otherwise requires that students shall demonstrate increasing levels of knowledge and understanding of the Wisconsin standards. 


Cochran-Smith, M. (2001).  Constructing outcomes in teacher education: Policy, practice and pitfalls. Education Policy Analysis Archives, 9(11). Retrieved on Jan. 4, 2007 from

Darling-Hammond, L. (2006). Assessing Teacher Education – The Usefulness of Multiple Measures for Assessing Program Outcomes. Journal of Teacher Education Vol. 57, No.2. March/April 2006.

Feiman-Nemser, S. & Featherstone, H. (1992). Exploring teaching: Reinventing the introductory course. New York: Teachers College Press.
Feiman-Nemser, S. (1990).Teacher preparation: Structural and conceptual alternatives. In R. Houston (Ed.) Handbook of Research on Teacher Education. (pp. 212-231). New York: MacMillan.

Florio-Ruane, S., & Lensmire, T. J. (1990). Transforming future teachers’ ideas about writing instruction. Journal of Curriculum Studies, 22, 277-289.

Wineburg, M. Evidence in Teacher Preparation – Establishing a Framework for Accountability. Journal of Teacher Education Vol. 57, No.1. January/February 2006.

Wisconsin Educator Standards – Teachers. Ten Standards for Teacher Development and Licensure. Retrieved on Jan. 4, 2007  from

Zeichner, K. (1996) Currents of reform in preservice teacher education. New York: Teachers College Press.

Zeichner, K. (2006). Educator Preparation: Quality Matters, a conference on teacher quality initiatives sponsored by the University of Wisconsin System on Nov. 2, 2006. Chula Vista Resort, Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin.

The Phases of Professional Education Programs

The professional education programs have designed a progression of phases to assess and support students throughout the program. Data will be gathered from this process to inform program development as well. Rather than simply a series of “gates,” the phases are designed to record significant aspects of each candidate’s developing professional experiences and to provide support where needed. This reflective review progress will serve teacher candidates and course instructors, as well as program evaluation. Throughout our assessment system, we document how well teacher candidates make applications, analyses, and judgments in learning environments.   

Phase I: Admission to the Teacher Education Program
Because PI 34 requires that students shall demonstrate increasing levels of knowledge and understanding of the Wisconsin standards, at admission, documentation of teacher candidates begins. Students will be admitted into professional education programs after completion of a minimum of 24 credit hours completed. Upon admission, each candidate’s records will be entered into our Candidate Information Database instrument (CIDI) to monitor progress and address supports when appropriate.

Phase II: Learning about Teaching, Learning and Content
The portfolio process begins and teacher candidates document their emerging competencies through reflective case studies, participant observation write-ups, and other artifacts that are done in course work and field experiences.

Phase III: The Professional Semester
Successful completion of student teaching will include documentation of the teacher’s knowledge and performance.  This data will include portfolio artifacts and other performance assessments during the student teaching semester.

 Phase IV:  Professional Development
Data will be collected from graduates of the program in year three of their employment and from employers in candidates’ first year of employment.

Professional Education Programs Assessment Committee

This group assumes leadership in planning and evaluation of the assessment system for the School of Education.  This group includes representatives from School Health Education, Physical Education Teacher Education and Educational Studies.

Specifically the group will:

  • Identify necessary program assessment indications
  • Review various programmatic assessment instruments being used through the professional education programs
  • Conduce annual survey of employers and employees
  • Inform self and others of assessment trends
  • Collectively and systematically decide the questions asked about programs in the School of Education and the data needed to respond

Student Support

Teacher Candidate Progress Review (TCPR) Committee 

The School of Education's Teacher Candidate Progress Review (TCPR) Committee is charged to oversee the development and assessment of knowledge, skills, and dispositions among educator certification candidates as assessed by the multiple measures of the Teacher Education Assessment System. Academic and non-academic misconduct (plagiarism, cheating, etc.) are referred directly to the Office of Student Life as outlined in the university's handbook.

The state of Wisconsin has identified 10 standards that include knowledge, skills and dispositions. We believe that dispositions are vitally important for effective teaching.  Responsiveness to the diversity of students' background and previous experiences are essential. Likewise, attentiveness to professional ethics is equally essential.  Yet, we do not assess or grade students on their attitudes or beliefs. It is the attentiveness and responsiveness rather than the beliefs that impact teachers, learners and their families and communities. Teacher candidates enter preparation programs with years of experience as students, what Lortie (1975) calls the "apprenticeship of observation,” suggesting that teacher socialization occurs largely through the internalization of teaching models during the time spent as pupils in close contact with teachers. During that time, they have formed many opinions, beliefs, attitudes, and values about schooling. Often these opinions, beliefs, attitudes, and values are aligned with research-based ideas on effective teaching. When this occurs, candidates are identified as having the “dispositions to teach” (Collinson et al., 1999). Florio-Ruane and Lensmire (1990) cautioned that sometimes prospective teachers do not enter the profession with the necessary dispositions for effective teaching. In these cases, teacher preparation programs must help teacher candidates to develop the necessary dispositions to be effective teachers.  Our program assessment and support is designed to enhance and develop the knowledge, skills and dispositions to be effective teachers for all students.  Likewise we have designed our assessment system to assess actions and behaviors rather than beliefs or attitudes.  We believe that we must assess how beliefs play out in actions and interactions.

CPR may focus on those necessary dispositions as they play out in the actions and interactions of teacher candidates. 

If issues related to the progress of candidates are identified, a referral is initiated using the Teacher Candidate Progress Review (TCPR) Referral Form, and the candidate receives a copy of the referral. Faculty and staff (including clinical and student teaching personnel) who have concerns about a candidate's knowledge, skills, and/or dispositions as described within the Teacher Education's Programs Standards, shall document and initiate the referral process by completing the appropriate Teacher Candidate Progress Review (TCPR) Referral Form.

The TCPR Committee is made up of content faculty, teacher education faculty, the certification officer, Director of the Office of Student Teaching, Assistant Dean of Students, and the Director of the School of Education.  The purpose of the TCPR Committee is to review concerns and to assist in designing an action plan of support in order for the teacher candidate to make continued program in the development of the knowledge, skills and dispositions of the Wisconsin Educator Standards.

Teacher Candidates may need additional support and guidance in any of the following target areas:

  • Learning more about a specific aspect of content (Standard 1)
  • Setting appropriate goals for students (Standard 2 and 3)
  • Designing tasks or posing problems (Standard 4 and 7)
  • Segmenting and ordering instructional activities (Standard 4 and 7)
  • Supporting positive social structure (Standard 5)
  • Engaging in positive teacher-to-student interaction (Standard 6)
  • Implementing positive student-to-student interaction (Standard 6)
  • Engaging in positive teacher-to-parent interactions (Standard 10)
  • Monitoring student progress (Standard 8)
  • Evaluating the effect of his/her choices and actions (Standard 9)
  • Developing a responsive learning community, sensitive and responsive to learners and their families. (Standard 10)


Advising is a critical part of the success of teacher candidates. Any student who wishes to ensure academic success benefits from the resources available at UWL.

The Academic Advising Center Services:

The Academic Advising Center exists to help University of Wisconsin-La Crosse students make effective, informed decisions about their academic work. We believe UW-L students should:

  • Understand and appreciate the value of our General Education program
  • Choose a major field of study that is consistent with their natural inclinations and talents.
  • Work closely with faculty to make informed academic decisions within a chosen major / minor.
  • Use the Academic Advising Center as a resource to help make consistent progress toward a degree.

UW-L students who have declared a major are assigned to a faculty member for academic advising in the student’s major program. The Academic Advising Center supports the advising carried out by these faculty members

Pre-Education Advising Program:

This program is designed for freshman and transfer students.  There are four large group meeting during the year, email advising, individual appointments and walk in advising sessions during registration.  This program shells student understand the requirements for professional education programs and the applications process.

Once a student has declared an education major, the student is assigned a faculty advisor.  In addition to faculty advisors, each College has an Assistant to the Dean who coordinates advising in the College and also assists students with matters that need attention in the Dean's Office.

The Assistants to the Deans are a good resource for students who are exploring majors in a college different than their declared major.

Guy Herling
Assistant to the Dean,
College of Science and Health
Telephone: 608-785-8653
Guy works with students enrolled in physical education and school health education programs.

Sandy Keller
Assistant to the Dean and Certification Officer,
College of Liberal Studies
Telephone: 608-785-8650
Sandy works with students admitted to professional education programs.   As the certification officer, Sandy endorses program completers for licensure in Wisconsin and all states requiring this documentation.

A Degree Audit (SNAP) is an evaluation of the credits a student has earned. It includes courses in progress, total credits earned at UW-L, transfer credits, retroactive credits, AP credits, Credit by Examination credits, Major and Minor credits, General Education Program requirements and SAH Core requirements. The audit is an unofficial advisory tool that will assist the student and the faculty advisor in determining which degree requirements remain to be completed. A computerized degree audit (SNAP) is prepared for all undergraduate degree seeking students, each semester, prior to registration. SNAP is distributed to the student through his/her faculty advisor.

A "sample" SNAP may also be printed for exploration into another major or program on campus. This will apply the student's credits to the requirements for the major being explored.

Students may request a copy of their SNAP or of a sample SNAP at any time by going to the Office of Records and Registration in Room 117 Graff Main Hall. At the present time there is a one-day wait and a nominal charge.

Student Health and Counseling Support

There are several resources available for you to direct our students to the proper places for help.

Student Health Center

  • The Student Health Center is located on the first floor of the new Health Science Center.
  • The basic hours are 8 to 4 daily with a Tuesday evening clinic open for appointments.
  • Students are strongly encouraged to call the Health Center at 608-785-8558 to set up an appointment or talk with a Nurse - they also have same day appointments.
  • While they allow "walk-ins" there is more likely to be a wait associated with them. This is especially true as the semester draws to a close.
  • Please note that the provider staff DO NOT provide written medical excuses that students can use if they miss assignments, examinations or classes.
  • The Office of Student Life in Main Hall is the contact point for students who have a personal reason for missing academic deadlines.

Counseling and Testing Center

  • This office is located in 112 Wilder Hall and is open for service from 8 to 4:30 during the week.
  • First time appointments are scheduled as intake sessions and can last up to one hour.
  • Students who are in a crisis state can see one of the “on-call” counselors who are on duty every afternoon.
  • After hours crisis are handled by one of the local hospital emergency rooms.

The Counseling Center staff encourage faculty to call one of their professional staff at 608-785-8073 to consult about what interventions might benefit a student. This is especially helpful if a faculty member needs to make a referral to this office.

HELPLINE: It is also good to know about the Great Rivers 24-hour Helpline – it is a simple dial of 2-1-1 and is a good “after-hours” option. For some of you who have lived here a while – this is the old “First Call for Help” renamed and now part of a larger network.


Frequently Used Forms

Below is a partial listing of forms that students and faculty may frequently use:


Available from

Curriculum substitution

Dean's Office

Course override (blue)

Instructor or Dean's Office

Time Conflict (blue)

Instructor or Dean's Office

Drop/Add Slip

Records & Registration (117 Graff Main Hall)

Off-campus Course Eval & Permit (green)

Dean's Office

Change of Program Form (green)

Dean's Office

Intent to graduate

Records & Registration (117 Graff Main Hall)

Alice Hagar Curriculum Resource Center

The Curriculum Collection is located on the second floor of the Murphy Library Resource Center.  The primary purpose of the curriculum collection is to support the instructional programs of the School of Education and the methods courses in the subject disciplines for preparation of early childhood, elementary, middle and secondary teachers.

The 15,000 volume collection is divided into four areas: current textbook series from major publishers, professional books with related curriculum materials and children’s/young adult literature in both fiction and non-fiction.  In addition, the ERIC (Educational Resources Information Center) document collection on microfiche is located in this area along with fiche reader/printers.  A small collection of records, standardized tests, pamphlets and curriculum guides are also available.  Current representative periodicals and some additional works pertaining to children’s literature can be found in the main library collection.

Student Organizations

Several campus student organizations have their “home” in the School of Education, and have education faculty as their advisors

Eta Sigma Gamma (National Honorary in Health Education)

Adviser: Marcie Wycoff-Horn
(608) 785-8663

Adviser E-mail:
The purpose of the Beta Phi Chapter of Eta Sigma Gamma is to promote health education through teaching, service, research and advocacy. Students are involved in various projects on campus, in local schools and the community. Additional goals of the honorary include promotion of professional standards and ethics, networking activities among health educators, recognizing academic achievement, etc.
Kappa Delta Pi (The International Honor Society in Education)
Adviser: Dr. Robert Richardson
(608) 785-8663
Adviser E-mail:
The purpose of the Beta Tau Chapter of Kappa Delta Pi is to promote excellence in and recognize outstanding contributions to education. It shall endeavor to maintain a high degree of professional fellowship among its members, quicken professional growth, and honor achievement in education work, The group shall invite to membership such persons as exhibit commendable professional qualities, worthy educational ideals, and sound scholarship.
Music Educators National Conference-Student Chapter #361, UW-L (MENC)

Adviser: Ms. Tammy Fisher
(608) 785-8411

Adviser E-mail:

Members become acquainted with the privileges and responsibilities of the music education field and have the opportunities to meet leaders in the music education profession. MENC assists the university in various projects throughout the year.
National Arts Education Association-Student Chapter, UW-L

Adviser: Dr. Seung-Ryul Shin
(608) 785-8235

Adviser E-mail:

This organization is involved in the preparation of future art educators. We try to offer a variety of activities, including field trips, conferences, and guest speakers, that will enhance the knowledge of our members. In addition, it allows art education students to get to know one another and develop future contacts in the field.
Physical Education Majors Club

Adviser: Ms. Lori Petersen
(608) 785-8186

Adviser E-mail:

Physical Education Majors Club is an organization designed to bring together all students whose focus of study is in the field of Exercise and Sport Science -Physical Education Teaching. This organization allows students to share and receive information regarding current issues in the field, current workshops, classes, or conventions available and all other types of pertinent information regarding all aspects of physical education. Students also gain valuable experiences through guest speakers, recreational and community based activities, and fundraising opportunities.
Student Council for Exceptional Children (SCEC)

Adviser: Dr. Carol Angell
(608) 785-8135

Adviser E-mail:

SCEC is a student organization that focuses on special education. We focus on disabilities in educational settings. We also do community outreach to educate K-12 students about disabilities. Opportunities to attend state and national conferences are available.
Student Wisconsin Education Association (Student WEA)

Adviser: Dr. Joyce Shanks
(608) 785-8657

Adviser E-mail:

Student WEA is a statewide pre-professional organization for all prospective educators. Its goal is to help these educators make a smooth transition from the campus to their profession through active involvement in professional training, community projects, and multicultural and diversity experiences. Student WEA also issues forums, visitations to private and public schools, community service, and social gatherings.

Preparing to Graduate

The Graduation News website will provide answers for many questions about the graduation ceremony, diplomas and transcripts:

Students must file an intent to graduate via TALON the semester prior to the last semester in your program:

Career Services

Career Services is open to UW-L students and alumni. Career Services at UW-L offers teacher candidates a rich array of services from resume writing and cover letter examples to interviewing practice.  The staff helps students prepare for their future careers well before they graduate. Career Services offers job seekers “Eagle Opportunities” which includes access to current job postings with links to upload resumes and sign up for interviews. 

Brenda Leahy advises all students in teacher education.  She works closely with the staff in the Office of Field Experiences to keep student teachers informed about area job fairs as well as other important steps in the preparation for employment in Wisconsin, other states, and even international experiences. She is available to come to your classes or field experiences  to talk with teacher candidates about any aspects of preparation for the job market. 

You may contact Brenda Leahy at the following email address:

Career Services is located on the 2nd Floor of Wilder Hall. For more information on Career Services, go to their web site at the following address:

Representative from UW-L on Professional Development Teams

Each Initial Educator must have a representative from a Wisconsin Institution of Higher Education on their Professional Development Team.  For an individual to be designated as a UW-L member of the review team of a DPI Professional Development Plan, all individuals must complete the required DPI training.  UW-La Crosse SOE faculty and emeritus faculty who have completed the required DPI training may serve as the IHE representative for the University of Wisconsin La Crosse.
All others must be approved by the Director of the School of Education.

In order for an individual to be approved by the Director of the School of Education, an individual must meet all of the following requirements:

1. Minimum of a graduate degree
2. Must be a cooperating teacher with the School of Education or work with our program (Individuals who work for a school district may NOT serve as IHE reps on teams in their own districts.)
3. Must have three or more years of teaching experience
4. Must complete the required DPI training

For more information on the PDP and a complete list of IHE Representatives sorted by college/university, visit:

Frequently Asked Questions by Students:

Do I have to apply to the School of Education?

Finger PaintingSome students assume that admission into the University equates to admission into the School of Education.  Alert students that they must apply to the School of Education. Advise them to gain experience working with children and youth, pass the PPST, and apply early. While program admission requirements vary from program to program, all programs require these components. For specific program admission requirements consult the web site.

All students must be admitted to the School of Education in order to enroll in professional education courses. Meeting the eligibility criteria does not guarantee admission into the Professional Education Programs. Limited availability of resources impacts the number of students admitted.

Application Forms and Guidelines

What grades will I be certified to teach?

With the adoption of PI-34,  licensure ranges changed from grade level to developmental levels.

Early Childhood - Middle Childhood (EC-MC)
Approximate ages Birth – 11
(Requires completion of Early Childhood minor)
(formerly PreK- 6)

Middle Childhood – Early Adolescence (MC-EA)
Approximate ages 6 – 12 or 13
(formerly Elementary /Middle Level, grades 1-9)

Early Adolescence – Adolescence (EA-A)
Approximate ages 10 - 21
(formerly Middle Level/Secondary, grades 6-12)

Early Childhood– Adolescence (EC-A)
Wide range of all ages
(formerly K-12)

If I graduate from UW-L, can I teach in another state?

Notify students that when they complete their degree program, they will need to apply for graduation and also apply for state licensure from the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction. If a student is interested in teaching in another state, they should contact the certification officer.


What tests do I have to take?

Wisconsin Testing Requirements for Teachers

In an effort to provide the state with a quality teaching force, the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction must assure that teachers demonstrate a minimum level of basic skills competency. To that end, Wisconsin Administrative Code PI 34.14(1)(a)1 requires that students applying for admission to their initial Wisconsin professional education (licensure) program pass competency tests in communication skills prior to admission. For completion of a state approved program, students must pass subject specific competency tests.

What are the requirements?

Praxis I: Pre-Professional Skills Tests. The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction requires the PPST in Reading, Writing, and Mathematics for students' admission to educator preparation programs.  Each institution of higher education or alternative program reviews and maintains students’ scores for the purpose of admission to their professional education programs.

Praxis II: Subject Assessments. Wisconsin requires students who complete their professional education programs after August 31, 2004 to take the Praxis II: Subject Assessments specified by the state for their license area(s) in order to qualify for a state education license. All state approved professional education programs in Wisconsin require student assessments of content knowledge (in most license fields) that are determined by passing scores on the Praxis II: Subject Assessments as approved by the state superintendent. 

Who must take the Praxis I: PPST? 

All students planning to enroll in their initial professional education (licensure) program in Wisconsin colleges, universities or alternative programs are required to pass the Praxis I: PPST in Reading, Writing, and Mathematics. The PPST is required for admission to all professional education programs.

Teachers applying for teaching licenses in Wisconsin who complete professional education programs after August 31, 1992 at colleges and universities located in other states, are required to submit to the Department of Public Instruction passing scores on the Praxis I: PPST or on equivalent basic skills tests required by their professional education programs or states.

Who must take the Praxis II content tests?

All students who complete a professional education program after August 31, 2004 must take the Praxis II: Subject Assessments required by Wisconsin for their license area in order to qualify for a state education license. It is important to note that no candidate may be waived from taking the required Praxis II test for her or his license area.  (Adapted and condensed from the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction web site at

Below is an updated FAQ from the DPI regarding mentoring of initial educators:

School District Support and Mentoring for Initial Educator

Below is an updated 'frequently asked questions' document provided by the DPI that may be of interest to those working with education students completing their last semesters.  Also of assistance may be the new initial educator toolkit at

1)      Q:  What are school districts required to provide to initial educators in Chapter PI 34 of the Wisconsin Administrative Code?

A:  There are four requirements for school districts under Chapter PI 34.  The district is required to:

  • provide ongoing orientation that is collaboratively developed and delivered by school boards, administrators, teachers, support staff, and parents/families;
  • provide support seminars which reflect the appropriate standards (teacher, pupil services personnel, administrator), and the mission and goals of the school district;
  • provide a qualified mentor;
  • designate an administrator who may serve, subject to school board approval, on the initial educator’s Professional Development Plan (PDP) team.
  • 2)      Q:  What is a qualified mentor?

    A:  A qualified mentor is an educator who holds a Professional or Master Educator License, is trained to provide support and assistance to initial educators and has input into the confidential formative assessment of the initial educator.  The mentor is not part of the formal employment evaluation process.

    3)      Q:  How are mentors selected?

    A:  The selection of mentors is a local decision.  The district must ensure that mentors are trained to provide support and assistance to initial educators.  Training should include knowledge and understanding of the Wisconsin educator standards as well as the Professional Development Plan process.

    Professional Development Plan (PDP)

    4)      Q:  What is the Professional Development Plan (PDP)?

    A:  The PDP is a process for renewal of an educator’s license based on planned professional growth and evidence of the effect of that growth on student learning.  License renewal is based on the documented completion of the PDP as verified by a PDP review team and submitted to the state superintendent. The PDP has several required components which can be found at

    5)      Q:  What is the process for completing a PDP?

    A:  A PDP has four main steps in the process (Reflection, Writing the Plan, Annual Review of the Plan, and Documentation of the Completed Plan).

    When writing the Plan,  the following five components are included:  1) Description of School and Teaching, Administrative, or Pupil Services Situation; 2) Description of Goal(s) to be Addressed; 3) Rationale for the Goal(s); 4) Plan for Assessing and Documenting the Goal(s); and 5) Plan to Meet Goal(s): Objectives, Activities, Timeline, and Collaboration.

    Please note, an initial educator must have his/her goal(s) approved by a PDP team and a copy of the completed PDP goal approval form must be submitted to: DPI Educator Licensing, PO Box 7841, Madison, WI 53707-7841.

    For specific questions related to changing a goal/standards or requirements of the annual review, see the toolkits available at

    6)      Q:  When is a PDP required?

    A:  Per PI 34 rules, any educator who is issued an Initial Educator License is required to complete a PDP.

    Initial Educator – Anyone who completes a program for the first time in a particular licensure category (teacher, pupil services, or administrator) after 8/31/2004 is considered an initial educator in that licensure category and must complete a PDP to advance to the professional educator license stage.

    Professional Educator – Professional educators who completed programs prior to 8/31/2004 have the option of completing either a PDP or six semester credits of course work related to his/her area of licensure to renew their license.  Professional educators who complete an additional license program(s) after August 31, 2004 in the same licensure category for which they already hold a license (e.g. have a regular ed teaching license and add a special education teacher license) can renew both licenses by completing either a PDP OR six semester credits of course work related to his/her area of licensure.

    7)      Q:  If an educator is adding a new license after 8/31/2004, is a PDP required for renewal in the future?

    A:  An educator who completes a license program after August 31, 2004 (e.g. has a teaching license and adds an administrative license after 8/31/2004) and has never completed an approved license program in that new category (i.e. teacher, pupil services, or administration) will be issued an Initial Educator License and will be required to complete a PDP to advance to the professional educator stage in that category.  However, if the educator has not attained employment in that new category, s/he may renew his/her Professional Educator License by completing six semester credits of course work related to the area of licensure or could also complete a PDP that focuses on the teaching standards.

    8)      Q:  Can an educator who completed an approved program prior to August 31, 2004 choose to renew with a PDP and then switch back to the six credits system for later renewals?

    A:  Yes, educators who completed an approved program prior to August 31. 2004 can switch back and forth between the PDP renewal option and the six semester credit renewal option for renewal of that particular license.  If an educator selects the PDP renewal option it is important to remember the PDP is a five-year plan that includes annual reviews and activities completed over that five-year period.

    9)      Q:  Can an educator complete his/her Professional Development Plan in less than 5 years?

    A:  Only an initial educator who holds an Initial Educator License may choose to complete a PDP in year 3, 4, or 5 of the licensure cycle to advance to the professional educator stage.  A professional educator’s PDP must be for five years.  A professional educator who completes a PDP must remember that the PDP is a five-year plan that includes annual reviews and activities which are completed over that five-year period.  For more information about PDP timelines, review the educator toolkits at:

    The PDP Team

    10)    Q:  How does someone become a PDP team member and what is the role of the team?

    A:  Any professional educator or designated IHE representative wishing to become a PDP team member must participate in and successfully complete one of the DPI-sponsored PDP team training sessions offered around the state.  A list of all scheduled sessions can be found on the DPI web site at:  Professional educators and IHE representatives who have completed PDP training and are eligible to serve on teams are also listed on the DPI website. Additional resources relating to the PDP are included at and information about the PI 34 on-line module and a self-assessment is available at

    Initial Educator PDP Goal Approval and Verification Team Role
    Initial educators select DPI-trained team members for goal approval and PDP verification.  The initial educator’s team shall include a peer, an administrator, and an IHE representative.  For more information on the role of the team, see

    Professional Educator PDP Verification Team Role
    Professional educators select DPI-trained team members for PDP verification – goal approval is not required.  The professional educator’s team shall include three peers.  For more information on the role of the team, see

    11)     Q:  Initial educator PDP teams require an institution of higher education (IHE) representative as one of the members.  Who qualifies as an IHE representative for an initial educator’s PDP team?

    A:  The IHE member on an initial educator’s PDP team must be designated by a Wisconsin IHE and must be trained through the DPI-approved PDP team training.  Each Wisconsin campus has a contact person and a process for designating their members.  More information can be found on the DPI web site at

    12)     Q:  How is a team member on an initial educator’s team selected?

    A:  The initial educator selects team members in all applicable categories (peer, administrator, institute of higher education representative) unless there are parameters within the educator’s negotiated contract that identify a different process.  For more information about finding DPI-trained team members, see

    13)     Q:  Can the administrator serving on an initial educator’s review team be that person’s principal or must the initial educator find another administrator?

    A:  PI 34 does not specify whether or not the supervising administrator can serve as the administrator on the initial educator PDP team.  However, it is important that the PDP process for license advancement and the district process for evaluating job performance be recognized as two separate processes.

    14)    Q:  When do educators interact with the PDP team and for what purpose?

    A:  All educators seeking advancement from the initial educator stage or renewal of the Professional Educator License are responsible for convening a PDP team.  Educators interact with the teams that they have convened as follows:

    Initial Educator PDP Teams – for approval of the PDP goals before implementing the plan and for verification of completion of the plan in year three, four, or five of the Initial Educator License.

    Professional Educator PDP Teams – for verification of successful completion of the plan in the final year of the license.

    15)    Q:  How do educators “convene” a PDP team?

    A:  Initial Educators Convening a PDP team:  When an initial educator is ready to have a PDP team review and approve his/her PDP goal(s), the initial educator will select DPI-trained PDP team members and submit the PDP for goal approval (see also question # 12 above).  The PDP team members complete their review of the goal and return the plan along with the Goal Approval Signature Form with any comments to the initial educator.  The same process is used for initial educators after January 15th of the fifth or final year of the license cycle for verification of the successful completion of the educator’s PDP.

    Professional Educators Convening a PDP team:  The professional educator would convene his/her team after January 15th in the fifth year for verification of successful completion of the educator’s PDP.

    Both initial and professional educators may use a variety of means to convene the PDP team.  Some educators may use PDP team members within their district and the team may meet “in person” to review the PDP.  Others may select PDP team members who are located across the state and may elect to contact team members and then send them their plans.  Also, some educators use electronic means to connect with PDP team members.  All these means are valid ways to convene a PDP goal approval and/or verification team.  For more information, see

    16)    Q:  Is it permissible for an initial educator to choose an administrator for
                his/her team who works outside their district?

    A:  A district is required to "designate" a DPI-trained administrator so s/he is available to serve as the administrator on the PDP team for an initial educator in that district.  However, the initial educator may choose a DPI-trained administrator from outside the school district.  The initial educator’s choice would only be limited if the team membership is defined in the district's collective bargaining agreement; this would be an employment issue, rather than a licensing issue.

    17)    Q:  What happens if an educator’s PDP is not verified by two of the three PDP team

    A:  An educator whose PDP is not verified by two of the three PDP team members should first explore whether there are changes that could be made in the documentation that was submitted that would allow a team to verify successful completion of the PDP.  If this process is unsuccessful, PI.34 rule (PI 34.17(1)(c)) permits an educator to request a one-year non-renewable license if his/her PDP team does not verify that the educator has successfully completed their plan within the required five-year period – thus allowing more time to successfully complete the PDP or appeal the PDP team’s decision to the state superintendent.  This appeals process is outlined in PI 34.17(4)(d).

    18)     Q:  Is there compensation for PDP team members?

    A:  PI 34 does not address the issue of compensation.  This is an individual team member or local school district decision.

    Initial Educator

    19)    Q:  Who is an initial educator?

    A:  Anyone who completes a program for the first time in a particular licensure category (teacher, pupil services, or administrator) after 8/31/2004 is considered an initial educator in that licensure category and must complete a PDP to advance to the professional educator license stage.

    20)    Q:  How does an initial educator advance to the professional educator stage?

    A:  The Initial Educator License is issued for five years.  An initial educator can advance after 3-5 years of successful employment and as long as the PDP process is successfully completed.  For more information, go to

    21)     Q:  What happens if an initial educator does not find employment during the Initial Educator License period?

    A:  The Initial Educator License is a five-year non-renewable license unless the individual has not been employed in his/her license category for at least three years within the five-year period.  If an educator chooses not to work or cannot find a position, the Initial Educator License may be renewed with an application/fee at the end of the five-year period.

    22)     Q:  If an educator is hired in the “middle” of their initial educator license, what options do they have for completing a PDP?

    A:  PI 34 requires that initial educators have at least three years of regular (not substitute) experience before becoming eligible for the Professional Educator License.  If the initial educator does not have three years of regular (not substitute) experience during the five-year license cycle, the initial educator cannot advance to the professional educator stage. The initial educator can receive additional initial educator licenses in order to complete the three years of regular experience required under the rule.

    An example may be useful in answering this question.  A new candidate was issued a 2006-2011 Initial Educator License but does not get hired until 2009.  In that case, the initial educator is in the fourth year of licensure, and, therefore, will not have at least three years of regular experience in which to successfully complete a PDP before the license expires.  As a result, the initial educator may apply for and be issued a new Initial Educator License in 2011 - giving the candidate time to successfully complete three years of regular experience and the PDP in order to advance to the professional educator stage.

    23)     Q:  What happens if an initial educator completes a program in Wisconsin, receives an Initial Educator License, and is hired for their first job in another state?

    A:  An educator may complete the requirements for advancement to the professional educator stage while working either in Wisconsin or in another state.  An initial educator may work on the PDP while teaching out-of-state as long as the goal  has been approved and the PDP verified by a Wisconsin DPI-trained PDP team (e.g. through the Quality Educator Interactive, a License Renewal Support Center, or the Wisconsin PDP).  For more information, see

    24)    Q:  What happens if an initial educator does not have their goal approved by two of the three PDP team members?

    A:  If an initial educator does not receive goal approval, s/he will be required to revise the plan and resubmit it to their PDP team.

    25)    Q:  Can a teacher who holds an Initial Educator License and who completes an approved principal program apply for and be issued an Initial Educator License as a principal?

    A:  No. The educator would first have to complete all requirements to advance his/her non-renewable Initial Educator License for teaching to the professional educator license stage. If an Initial Educator License was issued in an administrative category to an educator who still was licensed at the initial educator stage as a teacher, there is no assurance that the educator would complete requirements for advancement to the professional educator stage as a teacher. The educator would therefore no longer be eligible for the administrator license since eligibility for a teaching license is a prerequisite.

    Professional Educator

    26)    Q:  Who is a professional educator?

    A:  Anyone who completes a program for the first time in a particular licensure category (teacher, pupil services, or administrator) before 8/31/2004 is considered a professional educator in that licensure category and will have the option of completing either six semester credits of course work or a PDP for license renewal.

    27)     Q:  Can an educator who completed an approved program prior to August 31, 2004 choose to do either a PDP or continue to earn six semester credits for renewal?

    A:  An educator who completed an approved program in a licensure category (teaching, administration, pupil services) prior to August 31, 2004 is considered a professional educator in that license category and can either complete a PDP or continue to earn six semester credits for renewal.  If this same educator completes an approved program after 8/31/2004 in a new category (teacher, administrator, pupil services), s/he will be licensed as an initial educator in that new category and will need to complete a PDP for advancement to the professional stage and for all future renewal of that license.  See also questions 6 and 7 (above) for more information.

    28)     Q:  Can an educator who completed an approved program prior to August 31, 2004 choose to renew with a PDP and then switch back to the six credits system for later renewals?

    A:  Yes, educators who completed an approved program prior to August 31. 2004 can switch back and forth between the PDP renewal option and the six credit renewal option for renewal of that particular license.  If an educator selects the PDP renewal option it is important to remember the PDP is a five-year plan that includes annual reviews and activities completed over that five-year period.

    29)     Q:  Can an educator who completed an approved program before August 31, 2004 and who holds a Professional Educator License but is not currently working in a school setting complete a PDP to renew his/her license?

    A:  Professional educators who are not currently employed in school settings can work with a License Renewal Support Center (LRSC), the Quality Educator Interactive (QEI), or Wisconsin PDP to design and document professional growth through the PDP.  However, because a PDP is a performance-based process that takes place over the five-year period of the license, s/he will need to document the effect of his/her professional growth on students and their learning. This work can take place in a number of settings such as informal education experiences through museums or parks, after school programs, summer learning experiences, or substitute teaching.  More information can be found on the DPI website at

    Master Educator

    30)     Q:  How does an educator obtain a Master Educator License?

    A:  The Master Educator License is an optional 10-year license.  There are two paths to becoming a master educator in the state of Wisconsin: The National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) and the Wisconsin Master Educator Assessment Process (WMEAP).

    The NBPTS route allows teachers to participate in a rigorous assessment process and receive NBPTS Certification.  This option is available to teachers in most subject areas.  There is a stipend to help offset the cost of applying for NBPTS certification as well as a stipend for candidates who successfully complete the process and remain as teachers in Wisconsin classrooms. For more information about NBPTS Certification (including pre-requisites), go to:

    WMEAP is currently targeted toward helping educators, such as administrators, pupil services personnel, and teachers licensed in subjects not available through NBPTS and who want to be master educators.  Educators interested in this license must submit an application to the department.  If accepted, the educator has up to two years to complete a performance-based portfolio that is then assessed by DPI-trained WMEAP Assessors.   For more information about WMEAP (including pre-requisites) and links to guidebooks for administrators, pupil service personnel, and teachers, go to:

    If someone is successful in completing either the NBPTS or WMEAP assessment process, that educator can apply for a 10-year Master Educator License.  If the educator is not successful in the assessment, s/he still may renew their current Professional Educator License on the basis of completing the NBPTS or WMEAP application and portfolio process.

    31)    Q:  What are the benefits and incentives associated with becoming a Master Educator?

    A:  Through the process of attaining the Master Educator License, educators demonstrate the knowledge, skills, and dispositions of an effective “master” educator. An educator who has obtained certification through NBPTS or has successfully been assessed through WMEAP is eligible for a 10-year Master Educator License.  Further, if a candidate is successful in obtaining NBPTS certification, they are eligible for up to $2,500 per year for nine years as long as they remain a teacher in a Wisconsin classroom.

    32)    Q:  Who assesses the WMEAP applications and portfolios?

    A:  WMEAP applications and portfolios are evaluated by a three member assessment team who have been trained by DPI, nominated by a professional organization, and approved for appointment by the state superintendent.  For more information about WMEAP assessors, go to: