California Teaching Performance Assessment

California Teaching Performance Assessment

As of 1998 California required for all teacher candidates attending a teacher preparation program in California to pass a Teaching Performance Assessment also known as a TPA. The assessment gives future teachers an opportunity to develop, refine, and demonstrate their teaching knowledge, skills and abilities (CalTPA handbook, 2009). The assessment is aligned with the state content standards and with the state frameworks. The assessment consists of four performance tasks, subject-specific pedagogy, designing instruction, assessing learning, and culminating teaching experience. All four tasks will allow a person to demonstrate knowledge in implementing assessment activities and appropriate subject-specific instruction. The four performance task are then measured and scored by trained assessors with rubrics that describe the levels of performance relative to each task/activity.

The Implementation Process for California Teacher Candidates

Once enrolled in a teacher preparation program, individuals seeking an initial multiple subject or single subject credential must pass a set of four Teaching Performance Assessments. The four assessments are subject-specific pedagogy, designed instruction, assessing learning, and culminating teaching experience. Subject-specific pedagogy is a written task about four case studies that require the candidate to relate subject matter skills and knowledge in accordance with the K-12 student academic content standards to specific teaching methods and instructional approaches appropriate to the particular discipline (CalTPA handbook, 2009). The second task is designed instruction this five-step written task requires the candidates to make connections with what the teacher knows about the class and instructional planning. For example when planning a lesson the teacher has to keep in mind the whole class and focus on specific students like an English language learner or a special needs student. The third task is assessing learning; this task is a six-step written task that allows the candidate to demonstrate his or her ability to design developmentally appropriate activities. And the last task is culminating teaching experience which is a six-step written and video recorded task. The candidate designs a standards based lesson for a class and teaches that lesson to the students while being video recorded. The TPA is a formative and summative assessment.
The role of the California legislative process in the improvement of teaching performance

The California Legislative had a major role in improving the teaching performance of the teacher candidates. California wanted teachers that were well prepared and knew what they should be teaching so they implemented the TPAs. Legislation strengthens the requirement that the TPAs should be completed and passed in order to receive a preliminary credential.

The need for teaching performance assessments for California teacher candidates

There is a need for teaching performance assessments for California teacher candidates because it will show that California students have well prepared and effective teachers in every classroom. Teachers will meet the highest professional standards and positively impact his or her students learning once the TPAs are completed and passed.

The development of teaching performance assessments for California teacher candidates

The teaching performance assessment (TPA) was developed over a two year period. The California Commission on Teacher Credentialing and Educational Testing Services developed the CalTPAs to show evidence of teaching competence and to provide professional development to teachers. The development of the teaching performance assessment will allow states and teacher preparation programs to share a common framework for defining, and measuring a set of core teaching skills that form a valid vision of teacher competence
The relationship between No Child Left Behind and the need for the CalTPAs

No Child Left Behind (NCLB) and the CalTPAs are similar in some ways. Both programs were developed to improve teacher and student knowledge and make sure that every classroom had a well prepared and effective teacher. No Child Left Behind Act was developed in 2001; this program was developed to improve the performance of U.S. schools that set high standards and measurable goals that will improve individual outcomes in education. Congress set certain provisions of the act that included the quality of education; here the CalTPAs and No Child Left Behind have similarities. One provision of the Act was that it required schools to use ‚Äúscientifically based research‚ÄĚ practices in the classroom. As with the CalTPAs candidates are required to show their knowledge and use appropriate practices when teaching. Both NCLB and CalTPAs want to make sure that the practices being used in the classroom have been proven to work and that they are developmentally appropriate. Another provision with the No Child Left Behind Act was that schools receive funding to provide resources for improving teacher quality. According to the California Department of Education teachers who are appropriately credentialed, have a deep understanding of the content they teach and have been trained in a variety of instructional strategies are in the best position to aid California students in reaching academic proficiency. With the CalTPAs candidates are required to show he or she has knowledge and is trained in a variety of instructional strategies before receiving a teaching credential.

Since the bill passed requiring teacher candidates to pass a teaching performance assessment many candidates have become well prepared and knowledgeable in the subject matter when entering the teaching field. With the CalTPAs implemented students will have the opportunity to attend a school with an effective and experienced teacher.

California Department of Education
CalTPA Handbook