Teacher Preparation

Teacher Performance Assessment Under Scrutiny

By Stephen Sawchuk — May 11, 2012 2 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

A column from The New York Times takes aim at the Teacher Performance Assessment, a performance-based licensing test that about 200 teacher preparation programs across 25 states are now piloting.

In essence, the story says that a number of students and faculty at the University of Massachusetts are refusing to participate because they don’t like that Pearson, the New York City-based educational publishing and testing company, is in charge of arranging the scoring process, rather than teachers and faculty members.

Pearson has been caught up in “Pineapplegate”—a wave of criticism over an apparently bungled New York-based reading-test question. But that issue doesn’t even show up in the column, which instead seems to play into general fears about the “corporatization” of public education. “There is a whole education industry that is flourishing because it is built on the denigration of public schoolteachers,” its author writes.

The irony of all this is that the exam has been developed by Stanford University researchers and teacher educators (Linda Darling-Hammond is a proponent) and by the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education, among others. They are not the groups that most observers in the education community would lump in the “corporate” camp. They don’t tend to be big fans of alternative certification, for instance.

Apparently to defend its participation in this exam, AACTE has issued a statement that appears to directly respond to the criticisms raised in the NYT column. Its basic point is that teacher educators have been deeply involved in providing feedback on the exam’s design, and that it will provide a baseline for programs to determine how well they’re training graduates, as well as help create a national database for discussing beginning teacher practice.

There has been a wave of policy interest in teacher education—for example, the Education Department’s negotiated rulemaking on Title II of the Higher Education Act. During that process, it was pretty clear that a lot of teacher educators oppose outcome-based measures based on students’ standardized test scores. But they have been increasingly pressed to come up with alternatives that can reliably measure teacher competence, and the Teacher Performance Assessment appears to be the main tool that many are pinning their hopes on.

So a lot rides on the pilot that is now underway. The TPA is based on other performance-based teacher exams, such as National Board Certification and the Performance Assessment for California Teachers, used in that state, and both of those exams appear to have some relationship to student achievement. But the TPA is a different, more streamlined version of those assessments. There are a lot of unknown factors about its technical properties. (There are also questions about just how it will be used in licensing by the six states that have already committed to adopting it. Will teacher-candidates get to take it multiple times?)

The researchers conducting the TPA pilot are collecting outcome data such as GPAs, scores on licensing tests, and standardized test data for the students taught by the pilot teachers, to figure out the relationship between scores on the exam and these other factors. So some of these data will hopefully begin to flow within the next two years as the pilot wraps up.

A version of this news article first appeared in the Teacher Beat blog.


Commenting has been disabled on edweek.org effective Sept. 8. Please visit our FAQ section for more details. To get in touch with us visit our contact page, follow us on social media, or submit a Letter to the Editor.


Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Teaching Webinar
What’s Next for Teaching and Learning? Key Trends for the New School Year
The past 18 months changed the face of education forever, leaving teachers, students, and families to adapt to unprecedented challenges in teaching and learning. As we enter the third school year affected by the pandemic—and
Content provided by Instructure
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Curriculum Webinar
How Data and Digital Curriculum Can Drive Personalized Instruction
As we return from an abnormal year, it’s an educator’s top priority to make sure the lessons learned under adversity positively impact students during the new school year. Digital curriculum has emerged from the pandemic
Content provided by Kiddom
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Equity & Diversity Webinar
Leadership for Racial Equity in Schools and Beyond
While the COVID-19 pandemic continues to reveal systemic racial disparities in educational opportunity, there are revelations to which we can and must respond. Through conscientious efforts, using an intentional focus on race, school leaders can
Content provided by Corwin

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Teacher Preparation First-Time Pass Rates on Teacher Licensure Exams Were Secret Until Now. See the Data
The National Council on Teacher Quality published first-time pass rate data on teacher licensing tests, which had been hidden for years.
8 min read
teacher 1276371740 stylized
Drazen Zigic/iStock/Getty
Teacher Preparation The Complicated, Divisive Work of Grading Teacher-Preparation Programs
As the two national accreditors for teacher-preparation programs evolve, the battle over market share heats up.
9 min read
Illustration of checkmark
Getty
Teacher Preparation Remote Learning Is Changing Schools. Teacher-Preparation Programs Have to Adjust
For schools to leverage lessons learned during the pandemic, new teachers need better training on how to work in online environments.
8 min read
A teacher tries to keep up with her technology training
Vanessa Solis/Education Week and iStock/Getty Images Plus
Teacher Preparation Opinion Far Too Many Educators Aren’t Prepared to Teach Black and Brown Students
Teacher-prep programs can help address that inadequacy, writes Sharif El-Mekki.
5 min read
A group of multicolored people stand together looking in both directions
Ada DaSilva/DigitalVision Vectors<br/>