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Association of California School Administrators
Association of California School Administrators
New teachers receive waivers on credential requirements
Site administrators should provide additional supports
May 3, 2021
The April meeting of the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing was attended by ACSA CTC Liaison Doug Gephart, who filed the following report.
In order to maintain the pipeline of new teachers and to support new teachers in the process of completing their credential requirements, the joint efforts of the Commission on Teacher Credentialing and the support of the governor have extended timelines for the completion of essential elements of the credential process.
The commission initially acted to provide flexibilities as candidates experienced numerous interruptions to their programs, including: 1) face-to-face coursework shifting to distance learning modalities; 2) a delay, interruption, or change in clinical practice placements as a result of TK-12 school closures and systematic move to distance learning; and 3) the closure of testing centers which affected candidates’ ability to complete examination requirements. The flexibilities adopted by the commission were intended to allow candidates to complete their programs and earn their credentials over an extended period of time. Commission-approved flexibilities that have been afforded to candidates enrolled in and completing their credential programs include:
Extending the Program Sponsor Variable Term Waiver option, allowing candidates to begin teaching and complete unfinished requirements for the preliminary credential within one year, through August 31, 2021.
Waiving the regulatory pre-condition requiring each candidate to meet the subject matter requirement prior to being given daily whole class instructional responsibilities in a TK-12 school or before becoming the teacher of record as an intern in a TK-12 school.
Waiving the regulatory pre-condition requiring each candidate to meet the subject matter requirement prior to solo teaching, or before becoming the teacher of record in a TK-12 school.
• Allowing candidates to participate in student teaching without requiring them to first demonstrate subject matter competency due to closure of testing centers caused by COVID-19.
Additionally, the governor issued an Executive Order to assist applicants and candidates in educator preparation programs. Once it became clear that the pandemic would impact the 2020-21 academic year, the language in the Executive Order was then adopted as part of the state budget which extended the Executive Order through August 2021. The Executive Order provided the following flexibilities:
• Applicants who are required to demonstrate basic skills and subject matter competence prior to admission but could not do so due to testing center closures were allowed to begin preparation and meet these requirements prior to earning their preliminary teaching credential.
• Teacher candidates who could not access a testing center to take and pass the Reading Instruction Competency Assessment for their preliminary teaching credential were allowed to meet this requirement prior to earning their clear credential.
• Teachers and administrators completing preparation programs at the end of the 2019-20 or 2020-21 academic year who could not complete their performance assessments due to school closures are allowed to earn their preliminary credential and meet the performance assessment requirement prior to earning their clear credential.
Online clinical practice limits new teacher skill development
New teacher candidates are completing their clinical practice online but are missing out on the opportunity to fully develop their knowledge and skills as a practicing teacher. Online instruction makes it nearly impossible to experience the full range of teaching challenges that are presented by in-person instruction in the classroom. Most, if not all, new teacher candidates will have voids in many of the normal experiences that come with in-person clinical practice. These experiences include, but may not be limited to classroom organization, classroom management, behavior management, learning style adjustments, developmental learning, grading procedures, inter-personal skill development, parent communication and staff relations.
School site administrators would be wise to initiate additional steps to ensure new teachers have the time and support necessary to begin their school year in a positive mode and follow up with a prescriptive plan of support throughout the school year.
Development of the Specialist TPA study
The commission, at its February 2018 meeting, adopted a revised credential structure for the Education Specialist teaching credentials. Subsequent to this work, the commission determined that every teacher candidate should take and pass a Teaching Performance Assessment prior to earning the preliminary teaching credential.
One of the important outcomes in the commission’s reform work in both special education and general education over the last several years is the development of a common or universal set of TPEs that are met by both general education and special education teachers.
The commission’s goal in establishing universal Teacher Performance Expectations is to ensure that all teachers learn the fundamentals of teaching and then specialize in the content of their particular credential area. The development of the Education Specialist Teacher Performance Assessment has occurred against the backdrop of these significant changes. How to balance attention between the universal Teacher Performance Expectations and the specialized Teacher Performance Expectations has been a driving question as staff, stakeholders and design team members consider what shape the Education Specialist Teacher Performance Assessment might take. Based on the data findings and recommendations from the design team, commission and education service staff will revise the Education Specialist CalTPA cycles, rubrics and program guidelines.
Mild to Moderate Support Needs and Performance Expectations
During the development of the Education Specialist CalTPA, the design team examined the performance expectations to determine what would be measured by the performance assessment. As a result of these meetings and preliminary information gathered from the Education Specialist CalTPA pilot study, the design team recognized the need to provide clarifying language in some of the adopted Education Specialist Teacher Performance Expectations to better determine what is being measured by the performance assessment. One example of a revision made was removing subjective terms such as “maximum learning” to provide language in the TPEs that is measurable.
The commission approved a time extension for modification of the TPEs based upon learning from the pilot study, which also allows for the accommodation of the uniqueness of these credential areas. A complete set of TPEs with necessary revisions will be brought forward at a future CTC meeting once more information is gathered from the design team and the pilot of the Education Specialist CalTPA. Any revisions to the Early Childhood Special Education, Deaf and Hard of Hearing, and Visual Impairments TPE will be considered at a later date.
School site administrators would be wise to initiate additional steps to ensure new teachers have the time and support necessary to begin their school year in a positive mode and follow up with a prescriptive plan of support throughout the school year.
Update on examinations
California Subject Examinations for Teachers: Candidates in California are required to demonstrate competency in the subject matter for which they will be authorized by their credential to teach. The California Subject Examinations for Teachers is one of three current options candidates can use to meet the subject matter competency requirement. The other two options for demonstrating subject matter competence include completing a commission-approved subject matter preparation program or completing a course of study deemed equivalent by a subject matter program. Current legislation, Assembly Bill 437 (Kalra), and budget trailer bill language would expand upon these options.
Reading Instruction Competence Assessment: Currently, candidates have the option of taking and passing either the RICA Written Examination or the RICA Video Performance Assessment. The basic structure of these two forms of the RICA has not been altered since they were first developed more than 20 years ago. At present, the cost for taking the RICA Written is $171. If an examinee does not pass the RICA on the first try, the examinee must retake the entire assessment for the total cost. When the RICA Written is subdivided into three subtests, the cost will be $57 per subtest, and if an examinee does not pass one or two of the subtests, the examinee will only need to retake the subtest(s) not passed for the cost of $57 each.
California Basic Educational Skills Test: Current legislation, Assembly Bill 312 (Seyarto), and budget trailer bill language propose a new option for teacher candidates to demonstrate the basic skills requirements by permitting the commission to accept letter grades of B or higher for credit-bearing higher education coursework in basic reading, writing and mathematics skills. The CBEST will be available via online proctoring beginning in late June 2021.
Proposed changes to Title 5: PPS Credentials
The Pupil Personnel Services program standards were originally placed into regulation in 1989 and much has changed since the inception of these regulations. In April 2019, the commission updated Pupil Personnel Services preconditions, program standards and performance expectations. Commission staff have not received any comments or received a request for a public hearing.
A summary of the proposed amendments:
  • Removes the term “professional,” as the commission no longer uses the term professional for the clear PPS credential.
  • Removes the language excluding professional education degrees to align with the 2019 updates to Education Code section 44226.
  • Broadens the language related to how the basic skills requirement may be met, athe California Basic Education Skills Test is currently the only method listed.
  • Proposes a definitions section that will apply to the PPS regulations as well as future program standard related regulations.
  • Creates a new section within Title 5, Division 8, Chapter 5 Approved Programs, Article 2 Professional Preparation Programs for the placement of the PPS Standards documents.
Annual update on the Accreditation Data System
The CTC’s accreditation system requires commission-approved institutions to submit data on their approved educator preparation programs through the Accreditation Data System.
During the summer of 2019, the Professional Services data team developed the Accreditation Data Dashboard with feedback from the accreditation staff. The ADD became available to institutions on October 26, 2020.
The Accreditation Data Dashboard provides the institution data and information, including total enrollment of new and continuing candidates, educator preparation programs and/or subject matter preparation programs offered, candidate demographics, pass rates for assessments (i.e., RICA, TPA), and more.
Subject Matter Requirements for Art, Music, and Multiple Subjects
The commission’s Subject Matter Requirements are content-based standards statements that describe the subject-specific content knowledge required for an individual to begin work as a teacher in California. They are as much a set of job requirements for being a teacher in California as they are academic content standards.
Following the Commission’s review, content validation work will begin, and the revised draft Subject Matter Requirements for Art, Music, and Multiple Subjects would be brought back to the Commission for potential adoption in August 2021.
New teacher guidance from CTC
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