Teacher Performance Assessments

Discussion in 'General Education' started by bbcbbc, Apr 10, 2010.

  1. bbcbbc

    bbcbbc Rookie

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    In California, students in a teacher credential program must pass four Teacher Performance Assessments (TPA's) during each module of a credential program. Teaching candidates get three chances to pass each of the four TPA's. If a candidate cannot pass one of the TPA's in three attempts, then he/she cannot teach in California. Ever! :(

    Does anyone else think that this is ridiculous? :dizzy:

    Whether a person can teach or not should not be based on one assessment (i.e., not passing one of the four TPA's will prohibit a person from teaching in California). That is like saying that one test should determine whether a high school student can graduate from high school. Whether a person can teach or not should be based on a body of work, not one piece of work. I wonder why the state of California is in such dire straits! Hmmm... ;)
     
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2010
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  3. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Welcome back, bbcbbc. Can you tell us a little more about the situation?
     
  4. bbcbbc

    bbcbbc Rookie

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    Thank you! :)

    From my understanding, Teacher Performance Assessments (TPA's)are a recent development (i.e., within the last few years) in California.

    My view is that if a person has a passion to teach, then whether or not he/she can pass one assessment per teaching credential program module is ridiculous! Whether a person can teach or not should be based on a body of work. For example, if I was on the NCAA Tournament Selection Committee, then I would not base my selection of an at-large team on one game. I would base it on the team's body of work throughout the season. Similarly, I would base a teacher credential candidate's ability to teach based on his/her class attendance, coursework, and professionalism throughout the entire teacher education program, as opposed to passing one TPA per module.

    It is not logical to disqualify potentially great teachers because of this ridiculous state requirement! Californians need to speak up! Change is needed! :help:
     
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2010
  5. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Hm. Is it the case that you or someone you care about is having trouble with the TPA?
     
  6. bbcbbc

    bbcbbc Rookie

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    Yes, TeacherGroupie, you are on the right track... :)

    Forgive me for not being able to disclose exactly who is having an issue with Teacher Performance Assessments. However, even if the undisclosed individual was not having an issue with the TPA's, then I would still think that this state requirement is ludicrous! It just does not make sense to disqualify people who have a desire to truly help young people and have the ability to do it because of not being able to pass a TPA. :dizzy:

    Just for the record, the individual in question got A's in two of his/her classes for the Master's Degree in Education last quarter.
     
  7. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Aficionado

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    I have never heard of the TPAs!!! Is this something brand new in California? I have been credentialed since 2005 & I had to take CBEST, CSET, and RICA.
     
  8. bbcbbc

    bbcbbc Rookie

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    Yes, YoungTeacherGuy. It is my understanding that TPA's came into existence after you were credentialed. I think that they have been around for the last two or three years...
     
  9. CFClassroom

    CFClassroom Connoisseur

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    We have something very much like that in MA. Although I don't think there is a limit to the number of times you can take the test. Sounds like a frustrating situation.

    FWIW, my former aid was having trouble with the tests for content area and spent a lot of time on the Brain Pop website and said it helped a lot!
     
  10. swansong1

    swansong1 Maven

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    The situation you are discussing is not just in CA. In our state, students do not graduate if they fail one part of the state assessment. They have numerous chances to take it, but, regardless of whether they were an honors student or not, if they fail a part of the test, they don't graduate.
     
  11. KinderCowgirl

    KinderCowgirl Phenom

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    Here we have 2 parts of the test and you can take it as many times as you have to. Our local paper printed an article a few years back about how many times some teachers had to take the test and there was a search engine on their website where you could look up a specific teacher and see how many attempts they made and their scores. There were some teachers who were teaching at the time, when they got certified they had to take the test 10 or 15 times-but they were still teaching.

    Don't you even have unlimited attempts at the bar exam for law?
     
  12. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Phenom

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    Kentucky has KTIP, which is the Kentucky Teacher Internship Program. It's for first-year teachers. They have to pass multiple parts throughout the year. They work one-on-one with a mentor who spends close to 100 hours both in-class and outside of class working on the job-related tasks.

    If an intern doesn't pass the internship the first year, they can try another year IF they can find someone to hire them.
     
  13. chicagoturtle

    chicagoturtle Fanatic

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    I don't think so-
    In Illinois they recently passed a law saying that you could only take the Basic Skills Test Three times-
    Many people were taking it many many times and still not passing it.
    We have many many many immigrants here where English is not their first language. I'm not sure who was having trouble passing, but that could be part of the problem for some of the teachers.
    I heard all the statistics and worried about it and even had my principal tutor me in Math to brush up. It was a LONG test- but luckily I passed it on the first try and 48 hours after getting out of the ER for that matter.
     
  14. heavens54

    heavens54 Connoisseur

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    I just graduated from a teacher program in CA in December and took all four of the TPA assessments. The TPA is a way for a future teacher to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the teaching process. In my program, all the aspects of the assessment was covered by our reading, our reflections and other componants of the program. Our program prepared us well for the assessments, is what I found. The TPA was the opportunity to demonstrate putting it all together. I didn't find it incredibly difficult to pass them.

    Which TPA and what part is this person having difficulty with? Sometimes it is in the instructions where I got frustrated, not the actual assessment itself.
     
  15. Grover

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    I don't think the problem is with how many times people take the test, it's whether the test is an appropriate measure of teaching ability (or whatever). If in fact passing the test demonstrates teaching aptitude and not passing it demonstrates an inability to teach (at that moment), there's no reason not let people take the test again, or to look down on those that require more than one attempt. Most tests, however, are looked upon as being measures of general intelligence, whether that is what they were designed for or not, so people who need more than one chance to pass are seen as less intelligent. If that's actually what the test is supposed to measure (and by 'supposed' I mean the real reason the test is given), then it makes sense to give people only one shot. Personally, I think we are headed toward a place in which the operating 'intelligence test' will be measuring a candidate's desire to work in a profession with no respect, no job security, low pay, poor working conditions and unrealistic performance requirements that directly effect remuneration. Thinking this is okay will be the only job qualification necessary.
     
  16. Mrs. K.

    Mrs. K. Enthusiast

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    My current student teacher is finishing her TPAs. It seems like they're designed to shake out the people who might not be able to hack the stresses and demands of the job. When I hear about folks who had to take the CBEST several times, I shudder - I'm definitely not a math person, but with just a little review, I had no trouble passing the math section. Personally, I think three tries is quite fair.
     
  17. FourSquare

    FourSquare Fanatic

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    I'm sorry, but if you have to take the Basic Skills Test more than twice, you've got a problem. I can see allowing a second try in case you were sick or something, but it's just not that hard. Take it. Fail it. Organize yourself with what you didn't understand and STUDY.

    I wouldn't want a lawyer who had to take the bar 20 times. I understand being flexible because we're all human beings, but we have to set the standard SOMEWHERE.
     
  18. Marci07

    Marci07 Devotee

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    In my own experience, English is the not the most common problem. Sadly to say, it is passing the 8th grade level math portion of the test. During the time I was going to college, 2003-2005, many, many classmates couldn't pass the math classes including college algebra and math for elementary teachers. We have a lot of adults going to college with a math proficiency no higher than 5th grade. How in the world can this happen? I have no clue but I witnessed it on many many occassions.

    I'm an immigrant, English is a second language for me, I passed the English portion of the test at the first try.
     
  19. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    The reading comprehension and writing skills tasks can be problematic for native speakers as well, in fact. The big issue is by no means always the skills themselves, however, which is why I'm unwilling to pull the plug after the second attempt.
     
  20. HeatherY

    HeatherY Habitué

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    Apr 11, 2010

    Is it a test now? I graduated in 07 from Cal Poly SLO. We used TPA's on our lesson plans. There were like 12 and you had to select one or more and show in the lesson how you were using it. They were like: student engagement, motivational strategies, etc...It wasn't a big deal. It's in a test form now? How does that work? Is it like the RICA where you design instruction in the test?
     
  21. bbcbbc

    bbcbbc Rookie

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    The TPA's are in case study format:

    1. They present background information on two to four cases, such as academic content standards, learning goals, class description, student description, etc...

    2. They ask questions based on the background information.

    3. They are graded on a scale of 1 to 4.

    4. 1 and 2 are not passing.

    5. 3 and 4 are passing.

    One of the problems with the TPA's is that they are a subjective measure of a teacher candidate's ability (i.e., a state assessor grades it). If the state of California is going to disqualify teacher candidates based on an assessment, then the assessment should be objective, not subjective.
     
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2010

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