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Assessment System

Design Principles for Teaching Performance Assessments

SCALE utilizes teacher assessment designs that are based on the structure of several successful teacher portfolio assessments, including the National Board Certification Portfolio, INTASC Portfolio, edTPA and the Performance Assessment for California Teachers (PACT).

TPA Diagram

Assessments developed by SCALE incorporate the following six foundational principles.

  1. The assessment should be educative for both candidates and experienced educators involved in its implementation. Candidates should not only be engaged in assembling documentation of their teaching ability, but the process of creating the documentation should be a learning experience. Experienced educators deepen their knowledge of content pedagogy through discussions during training with other educators, and through thoughtful examination of a variety of teaching strategies in a number of contexts. Reports from candidates and assessors in complex teaching assessments like the National Board affirm that this is an attainable goal.
  2. The assessment should rep resent a complex view of teaching. If we want quality teachers who can adjust their teaching to their students to achieve high learning goals from the start of their careers (Darling-Hammond and Bransford, 2005), we need to see how well pre-service teachers accomplish this complex task. We plan to collect a variety of artifacts of teaching (e.g., lesson plans, videotapes of teaching, student work samples) that represent different areas in which teachers make judgments, and have candidates explain the underlying teaching decisions that they made. This will provide multiple measures of how candidates make decisions in light of their growing knowledge about their students and about effective teaching practice.
  3. The assessment should be centered on student learning. We believe that novice teachers should explain their teaching practice in light of the student learning they intend to achieve, and also demonstrate the ability to achieve student learning progress.
  4. The assessment should be discipline-specific. Teacher learning focused around subject-specific pedagogy is more effective than generic teacher learning (Darling-Hammond and Ball, 1998). We believe that it is important for candidates to demonstrate their ability to manage key teaching/learning tasks in their discipline and for their performance to be judged by experienced educators in that field.
  5. The assessment should consist of integrated tasks. We believe that a teaching assessment should not consist of independent tasks, but that the evidence should come from a slice of teaching practice. In this way, assessors can see how a candidate plans connected instruction to lead students to achieve nontrivial learning objectives, and how a candidate reassesses earlier decisions in light of their observed effects on student learning.
  6. The assessment should result in analytic feedback and support. We believe that pre-service teachers do not progress evenly in teaching abilities across multiple dimensions of teaching. Analytic rubrics can provide candidate feedback that reflects differential strengths and indicates areas of focus for continued growth.