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AACTE and SCALE Celebrate Successful Progress for National Teacher Performance Assessment

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(April 30, 2012, Washington, D.C.) – The American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE) and the Stanford Center for Assessment, Learning and Equity (SCALE) are eagerly supporting a nationwide field test of the Teacher Performance Assessment (TPA) that kicked off this spring.

The initiative has grown to now include more than 180 participating institutions in 25 states in the Teacher Performance Assessment Consortium (TPAC). With interest continuing to expand across the country, AACTE and SCALE seek to raise further awareness of the TPA, their roles in it and the manners in which the TPA fits into the greater educator preparation profession's ongoing work.

From experience gained over 25 years of history developing performance-based assessments of teaching – including the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, the Interstate Teacher Assessment and Support Consortium (InTASC) Standards portfolio, and the Performance Assessment for California Teachers – Stanford University faculty and staff at SCALE developed the TPA with substantive advice and feedback from teachers and teacher educators. The design and review team was comprised of more than 100 university faculty, national subject matter organization representatives (e.g., NCTM, NCTE, NSTA, etc.) and K-12 teachers.

As a subject-specific assessment of pedagogy, the TPA will be a vital tool in multiple-measure assessment systems. It can provide valuable data to assist programs in their evaluation of teacher candidates and inform program improvement, as well as provide an opportunity for candidates to reflect on practice. The TPA is aligned with InTASC Standards and Common Core State Standards, and it has been recognized by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (formerly NCATE) and Specialized Professional Associations.

AACTE and SCALE believe that the TPA adds to the richness and complexity of the entire professional community's work, facilitating professional consensus around the knowledge and skills candidates should develop and demonstrate before becoming a teacher-of-record. AACTE and SCALE emphasize that the TPA is intended to be used in conjunction with, but not replace, other valuable processes such as lesson studies, ongoing reflection and local clinical field supervision evaluations.

In her Evaluating Teacher Effectiveness report (Center for American Progress, 2010), Linda Darling-Hammond, Ed.D., clearly places the TPA initiative in the larger human capital discussion that addresses the lifecycle of teacher credentialing from the TPA to National Board certification. Darling-Hammond asserts that these authentic assessments of teaching would "provide consistency in gauging teacher effectiveness, help track educational progress, flag areas of need and anchor a continuum of performance throughout a teaching career." They would also provide the teaching profession with the opportunity to create a standard of practice, like those present in other professions such as law, medicine and engineering.

The operational partner for the TPA is Pearson, which provides Stanford with the assessment services necessary to deliver the TPA nationally and sustainably. This includes Web-based services that allow candidates to use electronic platforms to submit portfolio materials for scoring. Pearson also works together with SCALE to recruit, train and certify all national scorers, as well as generate candidates' official score reports. Scorers include university faculty and K-12 teachers who are subject matter experts with experience working with beginning teachers.

Nearly 10,000 teacher candidates from across the country will submit their TPA artifacts during the field test currently underway. Results of the field test will be analyzed this summer to provide valuable reliability and validity data for continued development of the assessment. SCALE, AACTE and Pearson are dedicated to designing and delivering high quality resources and support to implement the TPA in ways that support candidate learning, readiness to teach and teacher education program improvement.

"AACTE recognizes the value of an objective, rich and reliable assessment that reflects our members' and the professional community's commitment to preparing teachers to enrich PK-12 student learning," said Sharon P. Robinson, Ed.D., president and CEO of AACTE. "While unique program characteristics are important, all programs are aiming to produce the same result – candidates who can hone the skills and knowledge necessary to provide high-impact instructional services to diverse groups of students. The TPA is a milestone indicative of the reform-oriented future for educator preparation. It will provide us a pervasive tool to document teacher candidates' readiness and help us determine the standards of capacity needed for novice practice."

"To succeed in the TPA, as in the classroom, we must concentrate and define success entirely on the basis of student thinking, student work and student growth," said Nicole Barrick Renner, English teacher at East Literature Magnet School (TN) and graduate of Vanderbilt University's Peabody College of Education, where she participated in the TPA pilot in 2010. "The TPA's synthesis of all we had learned as students of education, more than anything, prepared me for the realities of classroom teaching, teacher accountability and evaluation, and professional development. I still rely on the habits of mind I developed through the TPA to elicit student thinking and determine appropriate next steps for instruction of both groups and individual students."

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AACTE: Serving Learners
The American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education is a national alliance of educator preparation programs dedicated to the highest quality professional development of teachers and school leaders in order to enhance PK-12 student learning. The 800 institutions holding AACTE membership represent public and private colleges and universities in every state, the District of Columbia, the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and Guam. AACTE's reach and influence fuel its mission of serving learners by providing all school personnel with superior training and continuing education. For more information, visit www.aacte.org.

SCALE: Stanford Center for Assessment, Learning, & Equity
The Stanford Center for Assessment, Learning and Equity (SCALE), a national leader in using "Learner Centered Design," develops research-based assessments for students and teachers. SCALE collaborates with states, universities, professional organizations and large school districts to design educative systems of performance-based assessment that deepen student learning and improve teaching. SCALE is affiliated with the Stanford University School of Education.



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