Education department receives highest marks in Michigan


Photo courtesy Calvin education department.

Calvin College’s education department received the highest 2017 Educator Preparation Institution (EPI) scores out of all comprehensive educational institutions in Michigan.

The EPI scores are assigned by the Michigan Department of Education and have three main scores used to compile the ratings: the Michigan Tests for Teacher Certification (MTTC) three-year passing percentages, surveys completed by Calvin teaching candidates and college supervisors who periodically visit the Calvin candidates and the Educator Effectiveness Ratings (EER). On a scale from 0 to 100, Calvin scored a 92.2.

The Michigan Department of Education considers numerous data when producing the three scores that contribute to the overall EPI. However, the third score, which considers Calvin alumni, only examines the alumni teaching in Michigan public schools. Shari Brouwer, the certification and assessment coordinator at Calvin, noted Calvin is a private Christian school and graduates go on to educate all over the world, not only in Michigan.

This is not Calvin’s first time recording high marks in the EPI. According to James Rooks, a professor and the dean of education:

“Calvin has always received a high rating, including being the second-highest-ranked education program in the state for the past three years.”

The EPI score system is only about a decade old and has been constantly changing. While Calvin’s education department has shown signs of growth over the decade the EPI scores have been administered, Rooks suggested the changes in how the EPI scores have been given have allowed them to better evaluate the criteria that Calvin’s education department values. In other words, as Rooks notes, “We have always have a good education program.”

Rooks also praised the education students for the department’s high scores.

“We have really, really good students who come here … We get some of the most talented students at Calvin still choosing to become teachers” even though teaching is not always considered a lucrative or respected career.

Calvin DeWeerd, a senior primary education major, pointed to the faculty for Calvin’s high marks.

“I think the professors do a good job helping us work towards our own style and communicating that there is not just one way to teach.”

DeWeerd and Rooks both expressed their hesitancies about the scores. Though they are proud of the marks, they had a mutual desire for peer institutions to perform well. DeWeerd was hopeful that Calvin would share its educational strategies with peer institutions.

While the EPI scores are a sign that Calvin’s education department is doing well, as Rooks said, “The deeper indicator is what graduates are saying out in the schools and the stories they tell us, the places they serve and the leaders they are.”