Academic journal article Journal of Teacher Education

Predicting Performance: A Comparison of University Supervisors' Predictions and Teacher Candidates' Scores on a Teaching Performance Assessment

Academic journal article Journal of Teacher Education

Predicting Performance: A Comparison of University Supervisors' Predictions and Teacher Candidates' Scores on a Teaching Performance Assessment

Article excerpt

The assessment of teaching practice continues to be a significant issue for teacher education programs. Federal legislation requires that graduates' performance on licensing tests be included in evaluations of schools of education (Darling-Hammond, 2006), and legislation in California requires that teacher certification programs implement a performance assessment to evaluate candidates' mastery of specified teaching performance expectations (California Commission on Teacher Credentialing [CCTC], 2006). The implementation of performance assessments has prompted a range of concerns. Some concerns center on the difficulty of defining teaching and the reliability of performance assessments, but teacher educators also argue that the assessments limit the richness of their programs and harm the nature of relationships essential for learning (Snyder, 2009). A key concern across programs is the cost, which, combined with a lack of funding (Guaglianone, Payne, Kinsey, & Chiero, 2009; Porter, Youngs, & Odden, 2001), leads teacher educators to question whether resources could be better spent in other ways (Snyder, 2009). Some question whether performance assessments provide information beyond what university supervisors gain through their formative evaluations and classroom observations of candidates. Our aim in this research is to explore the extent to which supervisors' perspectives about candidates' performance correspond with outcomes from summative performance assessments. The study specifically examines the relationship between university supervisors' predictions and teacher candidates' performance on a summative assessment based on a capstone teaching event, part of the Performance Assessment for California Teachers (PACT). The study addresses the following questions: (a) To what extent do university supervisors accurately predict candidates' total scores on a performance-based teaching assessment'? (b) On which questions and categories of the assessment do university supervisors most accurately predict their candidates' scores? and (c) Do university supervisors predict scores more accurately for highand low-performing candidates'?

Theoretical Framework

The theoretical framework for this study draws from research establishing the complex nature of teaching and, consequently, the challenges of assessing teaching practices. In contrast to process-product research in which effective teaching could be attributed to discrete, observable teaching performances operating independent of time and place (Shulman, 1986), conceptions of effective teaching now recognize the complex, changing situations and often competing demands that teachers face (Darling-Hammond & Sykes, 1999; National Board for Professional Teaching Standards [NBPTS], 1999; Richardson & Placier, 2001). The core activities of teaching occur in real time, involve social and intellectual interactions, and are shaped by the students in the environment, thus increasing the complexity of the task (Leinhardt, 2001). The racial, cultural, social, and linguistic backgrounds of students shape the context in ways that require teachers to adopt a more expansive view of pedagogy. For students to experience equal educational opportunities, teachers need to conceptualize learning as a cultural process (Lee, 2007). Rather than a singular focus on student achievement, culturally relevant teachers take a more holistic approach that considers issues of moral, ethical, and personal development (Ladson-Billings, 1994, 1995). In these complex contexts, teachers must exercise professional judgment in making decisions, and their decisions are inextricably linked to the specific content and the particular students being taught. The unique, often problematic, situations that arise preclude formulaic solutions (NBPTS, 1999).

Teachers draw on specialized expertise in making decisions about their work. Expertise, considered to be applied formal knowledge (Brint, 1994), is a defining characteristic of professions and a foundation for professional judgment. …

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