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Standards Board Awards 3 Contracts To Develop Teacher Assessments

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The National Board for Professional Teaching Standards has awarded three contracts for research on the new types of assessments it intends to use to offer teachers the opportunity to become nationally certified.

The Educational Testing Service received a $393,000 contract to develop a "video portfolio" assessment of teaching. James Greeno of the Institute for Research on Learning in Palo Alto, Calif., and Alan Collins of the research firm Bolt, Beranek, & Newman will assist John Frederiksen and the E.T.S. in conductingrk.

The researchers will examine whether videotaped portfolios of teachers' work can in fact be used to measure excellent teaching performance, and whether they are as effective as on-site observations.

They also will survey teachers to determine their access to and familiarity with the equipment that would be necessary to make the tapes.

The testing company will develop a prototype format for producing such video portfolios, identify which of the national board's standards might be assessed through portfolios, conduct a study of the technique, and make a report to the na8tional board.

The e.t.s. will contribute $200,000 toward the work--approximately one-third of the cost of the project, according to the national board.

Other Contracts

The Far West Laboratory for Educational Research and Development, in San Francisco, received a $343,333 contract to develop "performance-based" exercises that will gauge teachers' knowledge and ability to work with diverse groups of students.

Gary Estes will be the principal investigator for the project.

The prototype assessments might ask teachers to plan a curriculum, respond to samples of students' work, or critique vignettes of teaching situations.

The exercises will be field tested in an assessment-center setting before the lab makes recommendations to the national board on their use.

"How to assess teachers' abilities to work with all children is a major measurement challenge," noted Joan Baratz-Snowden, the national board's vice president for assessment and research.

Both projects will produce materials that can be used to certify mathematics teachers who work with students ages 14 to 18, although the national board expects that the find4ings will be applicable to many different subject areas.

Finally, the board awarded Jason Millman, a professor of education measurement and statistics at Cornell University, a $67,000 contract to prepare a summary of current tests that assess teachers' knowledge of mathematics and how to teach the subject to students. Mr. Millman also will prepare a background paper on policy and technical issues associated with using students' work in teacher assessment.

The national board, which plans to begin offering assessments for certification in 1993, awarded a contract for its first "assessment development laboratory" in November. (See Education Week, Nov. 14, 1990.)

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