The assessment problem

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 To date, states have not invested in the kinds of assessments that will allow us to determine if new teachers are qualified to teach according to NCATE and INTASC standards.

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Almost all states assess prospective teachers, but most are still not using true performance measures which get my essay help for college students. Even though there are almost 600 different teacher tests being used today to assess novices, the best that can be said is that some pass muster at measuring a minimum level of basic skills and content knowledge. All are inexpensive to administer (e.g., the current PRAXIS II costs only $70). However, according to a recent National Academy of Sciences (NAS) report, even the relatively well-developed tests are not designed to test all of the competencies relevant to beginning practice, and states use a variety of unclear methods to set their passing scores on the teacher tests. None of them distinguish moderately qualified from highly qualified teachers.

“As long as federal guidelines place a premium on defining teacher quality solely by measuring subject matter competence, we will continue to experience a flood of new teachers who may know their subjects, but don’t know much else about teaching and learning.”

There is promising news on the horizon, however. NCATE is working with the Education Testing Service to revise the current PRAXIS (teacher) tests to be consistent with the new content and pedagogical standards that all new teachers are expected to meet. INTASC is creating a Test of Teaching Knowledge — a constructed response, paper-and-pencil test that will assess a beginning teacher’s professional knowledge in areas such as child development, theories of teaching and learning, diagnostic skills, the role of student background in the learning process, and other foundational knowledge and skills essential to the profession of teaching. This test, now under development, is estimated to cost $300 per candidate.

 

In addition, INTASC is creating a more complex set of performance assessments for novices to demonstrate their ability to design, implement, and assess lessons that work for diverse students. The prototype can be found in Connecticut, whose portfolio assessment system (a mini-National Board-type program) provides rich information about novices and has been shown to weed out weak candidates and develop good ones. The system costs about $800 per candidate, but it is seen as a cost-effective tool given the state’s lower teacher turnover and higher student achievement.

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