CTC hears report on performance assessments
October 30, 2023
The October meeting of the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing was attended by ACSA CTC Liaison Doug Gephart, who filed the following report.
California uses a series of commission-approved performance assessments to assess candidates’ knowledge, skills and abilities as defined by Teaching Performance Expectations and the California Administrator Performance Expectations. Intent of these assessments is to give candidates a clear understanding of where they are relative to the expectations of commission standards.
Currently, the Commission on Teacher Credentialing has approved three teaching performance assessments and one administrator performance assessment for use in California:
CalTPA and CalAPA — The CalTPA series and the CalAPA were developed by appointed design teams of California educators, commission staff, and the commission’s technical contractor, and Evaluation Systems group of Pearson. The assessments are copyrighted and owned by the commission.
EdTPA — The edTPA is owned by Stanford University, which has engaged the Evaluation Systems group of Pearson as its operational partner and technical contractor.
FAST — The Fresno Assessment of Student Teachers (FAST) is a commission-approved TPA model designed by the faculty of California State University, Fresno. FAST is copyrighted by Cal State Fresno and was approved by the commission to be administered exclusively by Cal State Fresno for its teacher education candidates.
Each performance assessment is a multi-week, inquiry-based experience that measures the appropriate set of teaching performance expectations and, for the CalAPA, administrative expectations. Candidates are supported by their program faculty, supervising teachers and peers as they complete the assessments and submit a range of evidence, including written responses, artifacts of teaching and learning, video recordings, analysis and reflection of their practice.
Candidate score reports are provided within three weeks of the scoring of the submission. Score data reports are provided to programs and the commission following each scoring session across the year. The institutional score reports can be accessed by the candidate and program from a secure, password-protected web site. Candidates own their scores and their score data.
The commission is scheduled to convene a study group to examine patterns and trends in candidate scoring and recommend possible program changes to clarify tasks and scoring on specific rubrics. This study group will consider ways to include a focus on inclusive practices and ensure that those who want to provide administrative services to Early Childhood settings are fully prepared. The study group will explore and make recommendations on three main ideas.
Idea 1: Strengthen the use of performance data as one basis for a program to recommend a candidate for a preliminary teaching credential. If the commission were to move forward with this idea, the commission could consider whether and how to open this opportunity to candidates whose TPA submissions were centrally scored in prior years.
Idea 2: Strengthen program responsibility for candidate performance on TPAs. Commission staff, in consultation with preparation program leaders, could develop a formal process for supporting programs with low TPA pass rates. The process could include building a program improvement plan to address the specific rubric level data that indicates low candidate performance.
Idea 3: Convene performance assessment work group. Commission staff could convene a work group of education partners to review the TPEs measured, structure and implementation of California’s performance assessments. This group would also review best practices and challenges of implementation along with issues related to reliability in scoring complex sets of evidence of practice, including video evidence.
Future options for commission examinations
The CTC has developed several different assessments designed to validate teacher candidate knowledge, skills and abilities in order to receive a California teaching credential. In 2007, the commission consolidated the development and administration of these standardized examinations into a single “mega” contract. The mega contract was put out for public bidding at the time, and was awarded to the commission’s current examinations contractor, the Evaluation Systems group of Pearson. This contract included the following examinations: CBEST, CSET, CTEL and RICA, which continue to be administered currently. Over time, there have been approximately nine contract amendments to the mega contract primarily for purposes like updating examinations as needed in response to updated student content standards and implementing the current examination and assessment fee waiver. Earlier this year, California’s Department of General Services notified the commission that the mega contract can no longer be amended given its lengthy history and number of amendments to date with a deadline of 2025.
To help offset the potential impact of the termination of the assessment contract, Assembly Bill 130 created new options for educator candidates to demonstrate both proficiency in basic skills and competence in subject matter knowledge coursework and degree majors. The goal is to help remove barriers to the education profession. In recognizing academic degree majors in the area of credentials as automatically meeting the subject matter competence requirement, AB 130 does not require that degree majors cover all elements of the Subject Matter Requirements domains. The other new option, coursework evaluation, looks for courses a teacher candidate has taken within an academic degree that are also aligned with the domains of the Subject Matter Requirements at their highest level. In addition, the RICA examination will be retired and replaced by a new Literacy Performance Assessment by July 1, 2025. Another possible outcome of AB 130 is that fewer candidates will likely need to take and pass examinations in order to meet the subject matter competence requirements for the credential sought.
The commission has asked staff to conduct a study of best practices in other states and present the commission with options that will ensure teacher knowledge, skills and abilities are clearly evident in newly adopted assessments that will include options embedded in AB 130 before the 2025 deadline.
Institutional approvals
Initial Institutional Approval – Chicago School of Professional Psychology: This institution seeks to offer a Pupil Personnel Services: School Psychology program. The school is a private university with its main campus in Los Angeles, and has campus networks located in Southern California (Anaheim, Los Angeles and San Diego), Washington, D.C., and Chicago. The Chicago School of Professional Psychology currently offers a School Psychology program at its Chicago campus that is approved by the National Association of School Psychologists, and this program will serve as the framework for the proposed school psychology program. Although the proposed California program is based upon a national model, the program is required to meet all of California’s standards before receiving final commission approval.
Initial Institutional Approval – Stage III: The Charter School of San Diego: This is a non-classroom-based program that does provide candidates opportunities to meet with instructors and support staff as needed to fully support candidates. All common standards responses have been reviewed by Board of Institutional Review members and have been determined to be aligned, and the Initial Program Preconditions have been reviewed by staff and have been determined to be met. The next step in the initial institutional approval process would be the review of Charter School of San Diego’s responses to the teacher induction program standards by a BIR team. Detailed program information will be provided in the institution’s responses to the teacher induction program standards in Stage IV of the process. The responses to the program standards will be reviewed by a team of BIR members to determine alignment. Once the review is complete, an item will be brought before the Committee on Accreditation for consideration of initial program approval for the proposed program.