Teacher Performance Assessment

The American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE), the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO), and Stanford University (CA) have formed a partnership to develop a nationally accessible measure for beginning teachers - the Teacher Performance Assessment (TPA). This instrument, based on the highly successful Performance Assessment for California Teachers (PACT), will be made available to states and programs that wish to improve the consistency with which teacher licensure and accreditation decisions are made across states, including the rapidly expanding number and variety of "alternative routes" to licensure.

Minnesota was among the first states to be invited by AACTE and CCSSO to assist in the development and piloting of the TPA. Along with MACTE leadership, faculty from several MACTE institutions have been involved in moving this work forward in Minnesota. AACTE has asked that the state identify a contact person for coordinating our state's efforts. Mary Trettin from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities has agreed to fill this role.

The assessment system consists of two components - Embedded Signature Assessments (ESAs) that vary across programs and a common portfolio assessment - and the Teaching Event. The ESAs are formative signature assignments embedded in course work. The ESAs vary across programs, are mission driven and reflect program-specific teaching philosophies or goals that contribute to the unique character of program graduates. For example, embedded assessments may include child case studies, planning instructional units, analyses of student work, and observations of student teaching.

The TPA consists primarily of a series of Teaching Events, a multiple-measure assessment system documenting teaching and learning in 3- to 5-day learning segments for one class of students. Teaching Events are subject specific, with separate forms for multiple-subject (elementary) and single-subject (secondary) credential areas. The specific records of practice, or evidence, in the Teaching Event consist of artifacts of teaching (lesson plans, video clips of instruction, student work samples, teacher assignments, daily reflections) and reflective commentaries that explain the professional judgments underlying the artifacts.

Project Goals

This initiative aims to design and field-test a nationally accessible performance assessment for beginning teachers that will do the following:

  • Allow school districts to analyze teachers' ability to support and advance student achievement.
  • Play a key role in a system of state assessments, beginning with educator preparation and used in the professional development of in-service educators throughout their careers.
  • Contribute in an important way to the development of a more coherent national policy environment for teacher licensure, recruitment, and in-service evaluation and to a more effective national agenda for improvement of teacher quality.

Project Status

Significant progress has already been achieved in initiating the TPA under the auspices of a planning grant from the Ford Foundation. Specifically, in accordance with the plan, the consortium has completed the following steps:

  • Secured commitments from teams in 20 participating pilot states, consisting of representatives from state education agencies and more than 30 teacher preparation institutions, and conducted a face-to-face meeting of the full consortium to ready states for implementation of the 3-year pilot.
  • Conducted a field-based review of the PACT assessment methodology, upon which this initiative is based.
  • Developed initial policy context analyses for participating states.
  • Convened a design team of leading measurement experts and researchers to inform the development of the nationally accessible TPA.

This spring, consortium members will test (or "try-out") the prototype. Over the summer, the Stanford team, led by Linda Darling-Hammond and Ray Pecheone, will ready the instrument for piloting in fall 2010. Field testing is scheduled to begin in fall 2011.