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About DELTA DELTA


DELTA is a collaborative endeavor by the National Dance Education Organization (NDEO) and the State Education Agency Directors of Arts Education (SEADAE) to build national consensus around baseline competencies that ensure entry-level K-12 public school dance educators enter the field with the requisite Pedagogic Content Knowledge (PCK) and skills necessary for success. DELTA is intended to serve as a gateway for dance certification. Its development was supported by two successive grants from the National Endowment for the Arts. Heretofore, dance has been the only art form with no national entry-level pedagogical examination. A major ramification of the absence of a teacher readiness assessment is that without it, states have no consistent means of attesting to the abilities of new teachers seeking dance certification.

Read more about DELTA:

Developing a National Praxis Exam for Dance Education (2011)

Update on the Development of the DELTA (2013)

A Status Report on the Implementation of the DELTA (2017)

DELTA: One Institution's Perspective (2018)


DELTA was produced in several phases. Throughout its creation, valid and accepted practices for test construction were employed, which follow the American Educational Research Association, the American Psychological Association, and the National Council on Measurement and Education’s Standards for Educational and Psychological Testing guidelines (AERA, APA & NCME, 1999, 2014). The expert group of dance education professionals that contributed to the development of DELTA hailed from 13 states throughout the country and included K-16 dance educators, directors of college and university dance teacher preparation programs, somatic education specialists, item development specialists, and several psychometricians.

DELTA Conceptual Framework


DELTA is a criterion-referenced examination, which has undergone extensive field-testing and psychometric analysis. All test items and associated stimulus materials have been reviewed for accuracy of content to ensure face validity and checked for item bias. The framing of ten Pedagogic Content Knowledge (PCK) Skills Clusters (subsumed within three Domains of Knowledge), was a measure to ensure that the array of domain specific subject matter in DELTA thoroughly samples the spectrum of PCK necessary for dance literacy and fluency. The framing of the Skills Clusters was undertaken as a precursor to item writing. 

DELTA’s three Domains of Knowledge include: 1) Core Dance Processes (Aligned to NCAS Artistic Processes: Creating, Performing, Responding & Connecting); 2) Teaching and Learning; and 3) Policies, Facilities, and Technical Production.  Each Domain of Knowledge is expanded to include skills clusters and together all of this constitutes the DELTA Conceptual Framework and the DELTA PCK Skills Cluster Diagram.

                                        

Field Testing and Analysis


The objective of field-testing and analysis of the accompanying performance data was to determine the extent to which parallel DELTA test forms were fair and reliable indicators of Pedagogical Content Knowledge with respect to:
  • Content validity
  • Construct validity (including evidence of positive inter-test and inter-item correlations, and the independent identity of skills clusters)
  • Statistical and correlational reliability regarding item difficulty, item discrimination, and internal consistency;
  • Stratification, including evidence of external/population validity and the presence or absence of measurement bias (e.g., gender bias, racial bias, geographic bias etc.)
  • Concurrent and predictive validity (considered together as criterion-oriented validation procedures) 
The quantitative analysis of DELTA field-tested items relied heavily on the tools of Item Response Theory, and more specifically on a subclass of the logistic model, the one-parameter logistic (Rasch) model and other related models from Classical Test Theory (Baker, 2001). Additionally, empirical evidence of item difficulty gleaned from Rasch analysis was used in the construction of parallel DELTA test forms. The items comprising the operationalized forms were drawn from an item pool for which there is data on item difficulty, thus enabling assignment of items to separate forms with a fair assurance of relative difficulty.

Based on analysis of field test data, there is solid evidence to indicate that DELTA is a coherent, valid, and reliable instrument for measuring Pedagogic Content Knowledge in Dance, as a demonstration of subject-matter competency. This holds particularly true with respect to DELTAS’s Content Validity (arrived at through consensus of a national expert group of K-16 dance educators from thirteen states); it’s Construct Validity (including evidence of positive inter-test and inter-item correlations, and the independent identity of skills clusters); and it’s Statistical and Correlational Reliability with regard to Item Difficulty, Item Discrimination, Internal Consistency; and the Absence of Measurement Bias (e.g., gender bias, racial bias, geographic bias, etc.).  (Cronk, B. 2012; Cronback, L.J. 1971; Cronbach, L. J., & Meehl, P. E. 1955; Jaeger, R. M.,1998). 

Alignment with National Standards


The content for DELTA is mapped to the National Coalition for Core Arts Standards/National Core Arts Standards (2014); the 1994 National Standards for Dance Education; the Standards for Learning & Teaching Dance in the Arts: Ages 5-18 (NDEO, 2005), and the Professional Teaching Standards for Dance Arts (2005, 2011). 

The broad goals of DELTA are to empower new dance educators to: 
  • Understand how to communicate the content, skills, and knowledge articulated in the National Core Arts Standards in Dance (2014)
  • Understand how students develop content, skills, and knowledge in dance in a developmentally appropriate manner
  • Understand industry-standards for learning and teaching dance (including dance content, education theory, practice, and methodology) as set forth in the NDEO Professional Teaching Standards for Dance Arts (PTSDA) (2005, 2011, 2017) and the NDEO Opportunity to Learn Standards (2017) which are part of the PTSDA.
  • Measure knowledge and skills of teachers necessary to engage students in learning dance, consistent with national standards (NDEO, 2011)
  • Identify pedagogic strengths and weaknesses for future professional development of pre-service dance education programs, and recent graduates from dance education degree programs across the country (NDEO, 2011)
It is worth noting that DELTA should be considered as one tool among many (e.g., student teaching, teacher portfolio, demonstration lesson etc.) to help ascertain a dance teacher’s classroom readiness.

The test consists of 150 selected response test items with and without stimulus materials. It is proctored at colleges and universities, and other sites around the country designated by NDEO and SEADAE.