Teacher credentials: ‘Teacher Performance Assessment’

31 Jul

Because teacher training programs will be evaluated by the National Council on Teaching Quality, there is interest in examining how teachers are prepared. See, Building Better Teachers http://www.nctq.org/p/edschools/home.jsp Amy Hetzner and Becky Vevea of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel have written the article, How Best to Educate Future Teachers which is part of a series

Alverno College, the small women’s college on Milwaukee’s south side, has been widely cited as a national model for training teachers, thanks to its combination of clinical and classroom experience and use of video and other tools to evaluate whether graduates are meeting the standards for what makes a good teacher….

Key elements of an excellent teacher education program:

  • Strong content knowledge, teaching skills. Future teachers gain a solid grounding in the content to be taught as well as how to teach it.

  • Flexible methods. Emphasis is placed on teaching diverse learners – knowing how to differentiate teaching to reach a broad range of students.

  • Fieldwork. Coursework clearly is connected to fieldwork. The clinical experience, like in medical school, consists of intensive student-teaching, preferably for a semester or entire year, under the supervision of an experienced mentor.

  • Professional mentors. Mentors observe future teachers in the classroom – sometimes videotaping for later analysis – and work with them on everything from lesson-planning and creating assignments to monitoring student progress and grading.

  • Designated “learning schools.” Mentors and school sites for student-teaching are well-chosen. There are close relationships and a sense of joint responsibility among the school sites at which future teachers train, the local district and the teacher-education program.

  • Escalating teaching responsibilities. Future teachers gradually take over a full classroom, first teaching short segments on a single topic with a small group of students, then co-teaching with the mentor before assuming full responsibility for a class.

  • Feedback. Feedback from multiple sources (mentors, professors, peers) is routine.

  • Selective admission standards. Admission to the program is selective; not everyone has the necessary skills or demeanor to be an effective teacher.

Sources: National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education; faculty at Columbia University Teachers College, Stanford and Harvard Universities. Compiled by Justin Snider of The Hechinger Report

These are the elements that have made the graduates of Alverno College successful.

According to Al Baker’s New York Times article, To Sign Off on New Teachers, States Will Eye Their Work:

New York and up to 25 other states are moving toward changing the way they grant licenses to teachers, de-emphasizing tests and written essays in favor of a more demanding approach that requires aspiring teachers to prove themselves through lesson plans, homework assignments and videotaped instruction sessions.

The change is an attempt to ensure that those who become teachers not only know education theories, but also can show the ability to lead classrooms and handle students of differing abilities and needs, often amid limited resources.

It is also a reaction to a criticism of some teachers’ colleges, which have been accused of minting diplomas but failing to prepare teachers for the kind of real-world experience where creativity and flexibility can be the keys to success.

The new licensing standards will be required next year in Washington State and have been committed to in Minnesota. New York will impose the new standards starting in 2014 with the estimated 62,000 students expected to graduate with teaching degrees.

Illinois, Ohio and Tennessee are also moving toward mandating the new assessment in the coming years, and about 20 other states are testing it through pilot programs to determine if they will ultimately use it.

We don’t want to know if you can pass multiple-choice tests,” said Stephanie Wood-Garnett, an assistant commissioner in the New York State Education Department’s office of higher education. “We want to know if you can drive.” http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/30/nyregion/with-new-standards-going-beyond-paper-and-pencil-to-license-teachers.html?smid=tw-nytimes&seid=auto

Stanford University researchers have developed the “Teacher Performance Assessment.”:

Here is what the site says about “Teacher Performance Assessment” from Stanford researchers:

About the TPA

Authored and developed by a team of Stanford University researchers, with substantive advice from teacher educators, the Teacher Performance Assessment (TPA) is designed to be used as a portfolio-based assessment for pre-service teacher candidates. Supported by an initiative involving more than 25 states and more than 180 teacher preparation programs, as well as the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE), the TPA will be available nationally for states, institutions of higher education, and teacher candidates.

As a nationally available teacher performance assessment, the TPA:

  • Creates a body of evidence of teacher performance
  • Contributes evidence for licensure decisions (in combination with other measures)
  • Measures a candidate’s readiness for licensure
  • Provides a consistent measure across teacher preparation programs
  • Supports candidate learning and development of high leverage teaching practices
  • Measures candidates’ ability to differentiate instruction for diverse learners, including English language learners and special education students
  • Improves the information base for accreditation of teacher preparation programs

Learn More



Every child has a right to a good basic education. In order to ensure that every child has a good basic education, there must be a quality teacher in every classroom.


Linda Darling-Hammond on teacher evaluation https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/05/09/linda-darling-hammond-on-teacher-evaluation/

Report: Measuring teacher effectiveness https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/06/13/report-measuring-teacher-effectiveness/

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

2 Responses to “Teacher credentials: ‘Teacher Performance Assessment’”


  1. Is classroom practice the missing ingredient in teacher training? « drwilda - October 4, 2012

    […] These are the elements that have made the graduates of Alverno College successful. https://drwilda.com/2012/07/31/teacher-credentials-teacher-performance-assessment/ […]

  2. The Council of Chief State School Officers report: Teacher training programs need reform « drwilda - December 20, 2012

    […] These are the elements that have made the graduates of Alverno College successful. https://drwilda.com/2012/07/31/teacher-credentials-teacher-performance-assessment/ […]

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