CTC amends regulations on PK-3 Ed Specialist Credential
May 15, 2023
The April 2023 meeting of the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing was attended by ACSA CTC Liaison Doug Gephart, who filed the following report.
Early learner advocates have expressed their concerns that early learner developmental learning needs must be a key component of Multiple Subject credential training. They do not believe current Multiple Subject credential preparation provides credential holders with the pre-requisite knowledge and skill to work with the pre-kindergarten age group.
The key to preparation and training of future PK-3 teachers is embedded in the Teaching Performance Expectations, which have been vetted by extensive stakeholder input and are not an issue for concern for the credential. Ensuring accountability of the TPEs rests with the accreditation of higher education that determines the degree to which higher education prepares teacher candidates. During a public hearing at its April meeting, the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing considered three possible amendments for addressing the PK-3 credential.
Proposed amendment 1: Acceptance of practicum coursework toward the required clinical practice hours. The original proposed regulations include a provision to recognize and grant 200 hours of clinical practice toward the 600-hour requirement to those individuals with six or more years of teaching experience serving on a Child Development Teacher Permit or higher in a preschool setting. Candidates seeking the PK-3 ECE credential who complete practicum coursework as defined and meet the six years of teaching experience provisions of the regulation would be able to meet up to 400 hours of clinical practice experience toward the 600-hour requirement if the CTC approves this proposed amendment.
Proposed amendment 2: Create two authorizations within the PK-3 ECE Specialist Instruction credential. Establishing two authorizations within the PK-3 ECE Specialist Instruction credential would allow the following options:
  • Candidates who complete all of their 600 clinical practice hours in a PK, TK, or K setting and have completed all other requirements for the credential to be granted an authorization to only teach PK-Kindergarten.
  • Candidates, who would complete all other requirements for the PK-3 ECE Specialist Instruction credential prior to earning the PK-Kindergarten authorization, would be able to add the full authorization through grade 3 by completing an additional 200 hours of clinical experience in grades one, two or three.
This amendment option was of great concern to ACSA in general and specifically to members of the HR Council. ACSA, with the strong support of CTA, helped convince the commission that this option was not in the best interest of potential credential holders and would create a very restrictive staffing environment for current and new credential holders.
Proposed amendment 3: Reconfiguration of the clinical practice grade levels. The proposed regulations would require candidates to complete 200 hours in a PK/TK setting and 200 hours in a K-3 setting. Another 200 hours may be in any setting from PK-grade 3.
After consideration of a significant number of comments received on the proposed regulations, the CTC approved amendment 1 and rejected amendment options 2 and 3.
Revised Teaching Performance Assessment Design Standards
Current adoption of the design standards regarding Teaching Performance Assessments for the Education Specialist credentials needed revisions so they would align with adopted credential authorization statements and provide additional flexibility for candidate settings to represent the full continuum of clinical placements.
SB 488 amended appropriate Education Code sections, revised the definition of the “study of effective means of teaching literacy,” and requires the CTC to complete a series of actions related to literacy instruction. These sections of statute specify that the study of the effective means of teaching literacy include evidence-based means of teaching foundational reading skills in print concepts, phonological awareness, phonics and word recognition, and fluency to all pupils, including tiered supports for struggling readers, English learners and students with disabilities.
Additionally, the commission must implement a Teaching Performance Assessment that assesses candidate competence in literacy instruction. The assessment must meet several requirements, including assessing competence in evidence-based methods of teaching foundational reading skills, aligning to the requirements of education code, and meeting the commission’s adopted Teaching Performance Assessment design standards for validity and reliability.
As a result of the recent commission actions related to the implementation of SB 488, the CTC recognized the need to provide clarifying language in some of the adopted assessment design standards to align with the expectations of SB 488 and the incorporation of effective literacy instruction. Commission-adopted changes include the full range of placements in which candidates may serve and emphasize the full range of authorizations required by the preliminary multiple subject general education, PK-3 ECE and education specialist credentials.
Residency grant programs
The commission also had a follow-up to their February 2023 update on the Teacher Residency Grant Program, with additional information presented by staff.
The more residency grant program candidates know and understand the benefits and differences between the intern and residency models, the better informed they will be to make decisions about their best path forward. Teacher candidates are often confused about the differences between residency grant programs and intern programs. Currently, educator preparation programs inform candidates of pathways available to them. Additionally, Local Education Agency grantees or employers might provide information to candidates with whom they have contact.
Teacher candidates in a residency program do not have the same employment status as an intern teacher. A “resident candidate” is not a teacher of record and is not employed by the LEA unless as a substitute teacher, paraeducator or in some other LEA position. An intern is a teacher of record, and as such, is an employee of the LEA. Teacher residency candidates depend on significant support through mentorship programs funded by local funding sources. Many grantees use matching funds to compensate mentor teachers so that more of the grant funding can be used to directly support residents. The California Legislature has made a substantial investment in the teacher residency program with the grant funds allocated in the 2021 and 2022 budgets, which will allow more LEA and institution of higher education partners to collaboratively build a model that serves the needs of their local educational community. Financial support from the state budget may be very limited in the 2023 state budget due to the current fiscal status of the projected budget.
Options for meeting Subject Matter Competence
At the June 2022 CTC meeting, the commission adopted proposed regulations to clarify and standardize implementation of options to the Subject Matter Competence requirement in Education Code.
In March 2023, staff received feedback from the Office of Administrative Law that substantive changes would be needed for the following issues:
  • Remove reference to subject matter domains until such time as the commission is able to approve revised subject matter requirements and domains and promulgate regulations for them.
  • Clarify that the various types of science credentials are related to the Single Subject Science credentials as authorized in Education Code and not new credentials.
  • The phrase “or similar major” is too vague and undefined and would require standards for judging what constitutes a “similar major.” In an effort to move the current package along quickly, staff proposes removing this phrase and working to identify a term or definition for similar major that is acceptable to both the field and Office of Administrative Law in a future regulations package.
In response, the commission removed “or similar major” language, clarified that Liberal Arts/Liberal Studies are synonymous and determined that Liberal Arts/Liberal Studies are not currently sufficient preparation for early learners as the lack of appropriate education and preparation may put children at risk of a lack of optimal learning.
Other items
In other business, the commission:
Received the workload report from the Division of Professional Practices, which investigates allegations of misconduct by credential holders and applicants. As of the end of February, there were 2,942 total cases, which is above the normal range of 2,600-2,800 cases. Trends in the data reflect that it is not uncommon for cases to rise above the normal range. This often occurs during phases of exceptional application submissions and does not cause concern for the Division of Professional Practices. There were also 370 cases opened (just below normal range), 90 cases in initial review, 349 cases closed, and 140 “AG Cases” that were challenged and are being heard by an administrative law judge.
Set passing score standards for CSET: Dance and CSET: Theatre. Commission staff worked with the Evaluation Systems Group of Pearson to design and conduct abbreviated versions of the standard-setting workshops which would serve as a review of the previously recommended minimum passing standards. The commission set the passing score for each subtest at the panel-recommended passing score standard with a -2 SEM adjustment. This SEM adjustment is consistent with the current preliminary minimum passing standards for these examinations and offers the maximum benefit for teacher credential candidates working to demonstrate subject-matter knowledge.
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