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Standard 17: Implementation of the Teaching Performance Assessment (TPA): Program Administration Processes

The TPA is implemented according to the requirements of the Commission-approved model selected by the program. One or more individuals responsible for implementing the TPA document the administration, scoring, and data reporting processes for all tasks/activities of the applicable TPA model in accordance with the requirements of the selected model. The program adopts a passing score standard and provides a rationale for establishing that passing standard. 

The California Commission on Teacher Credentialing approved the Fresno Assessment of Student Teachers (FAST) as a locally designed alternative performance assessment.  The CCTC-approved FAST is in compliance with SB2042 Standards of Quality and Effectiveness for Professional Teacher Preparation Programs.  The assessment design includes four complex pedagogical tasks, each accompanied by a multi-dimensional scoring scale, to evaluate the thirteen Teacher Performance Expectations (TPEs).  Each FAST task is embedded into a specific field experience within a sequential credential program [ See FAST Manual, p. 1 ]. This helps assure that TPE-related knowledge and skills have been taught and formatively assessed in coursework, and applied with feedback in fieldwork situations prior to being summatively assessed through FAST [ See SS Program TPE/Coursework Matrix].  

The successful implementation of the FAST system is ultimately the responsibility of the Dean of the Kremen School of Education and Human Development, (KSOEHD) in his role as Director of Teacher Education.  However, the system’s administration, scoring, and data reporting processes are assigned part-time to two FAST System Co-Coordinators who are responsible for the day-to-day operations of the system.  Both compensated, one coordinator takes responsibility for administration and scoring while the other provides expert data analysis and reporting.  A staff member is assigned part-time to provide logistical and data-entry support.

The activities of the Co-Coordinators are overseen by the Assessment Committee whose members include the Associate Dean of the KSOEHD, Single and Multiple Subject Credential Program Coordinators, the Directors of Fieldwork, and faculty and university supervisor representatives with expertise in data collection and analysis.  The committee meets at least annually to address implementation issues, to review the results of data analysis, and to recommend a plan to disseminate aggregated candidate performance data, including FAST data, for the purposes of program improvement. 

The original FAST tasks, rubrics, and passing standards have been maintained since their initial CCTC approval.  Each of the four tasks has a project-specific, four-point scoring rubric used to evaluate the project [See FAST Manual, p. i ].  The rubric levels are:

1 = Does not meet expectations

2 = Meets expectations

3 = Meets expectations at a high level

4 = Exceeds expectations

In three of the four tasks a score is generated for each separate TPE evaluated by that task [ See FAST Manual, p. 11 ].  In the fourth task, the Teaching Sample Project, a score is generated for each of seven TPE-related sections [ See FAST Manual, p. 16 ].  This discreet level of scoring enhances the specificity of candidate evaluation and of program improvement efforts.

The only instance in which holistic scores are used is for reporting annual scores to the CCTC (Their state-level data base design would not allow for 28 scores to be submitted for each student).  Subsequently, for CCTC-reporting purposes, we report students’ average scores for each task with the caveat that in order to pass, no individual TPE score shall be less than “2.”  We also provide a “total final score” to CCTC that is calculated by adding the average scores of the four tasks.  The passing total equals “8,” again with the footnote that no individual TPE score generated on any individual task can be less than a “2.” 

The rationale for the passing score of “2” on individual TPEs is reflective of the CCTC’s qualitative expectations for mastery of the TPE by a beginning teacher.  The task score assumes a passing score of “2” on all TPEs (sections) evaluated by the FAST task, and a total final score reflects the passing of all TPEs on all four tasks. 

The program maintains both program level and candidate level TPA data, including but not limited to individual and aggregated results of candidate performance, assessor calibration status, and assessor performance over time.  The program documents the use of these data not only for Commission reporting and/or accreditation purposes, but also for program improvement . The program assures that candidates understand the appropriate use of their performance data as well as privacy considerations relating to candidate data. 

All teacher candidates are required to subscribe to TaskStream, an electronic portfolio system, as part of their fieldwork [ See FAST Manual, p. 53 and EHD155a syllabus].  Candidates’ scores on all FAST performance assessments are maintained on that system allowing students access through their personal Directed Response Folio.  Besides being accessible by the candidate him/herself, access to this information is restricted to the candidate’s current supervisor, the TaskStream Manager/FAST Co-Coordinator, and the staff person responsible for data entry.

At the program level, an Excel database is maintained for Single Subject and for Multiple Subject Credential Programs by a designated staff person.  This database includes:

  • All CCTC-required demographic data on each teacher candidate,
  • Both TPE- or section-specific scores as well as the holistic score earned on each assessment (including the scores for any re-takes),
  • The name of the scorer(s),
  • Any double-scores that were generated from that candidate’s performance assessments, and
  • A total score at the point of completion of the four FAST tasks. 

These data are used for the purposes of the evaluation of individual candidate’s performance, for program improvement, to plot scorer performance over time, and to meet annual CCTC reporting requirements.

The FAST Coordinator maintains a separate scorer database.  The database contains a list of scorers who have been trained to score each of the four tasks along with the date of their most recent training and calibration.  The FAST coordinator compares the list each semester to those who are eligible or required to score each task based on their University assignment to determine who must attend a formal scorer training prior to scoring that particular task. 

FAST is an important source of student performance data used by the KSOEHD for program improvement.  Coupled with exit and graduate survey data and anecdotal data from faculty and supervisors, FAST data informs practice at the course level.  Because each course is responsible for certain TPEs and scores are aggregated by TPE, programs are able to evaluate candidates’ performance relative to their designated TPE responsibilities and to recommend improvement at the delivery level.  For example, several years ago FAST scores for TPE 7, Teaching English Learners, were aggregately lower than desired.  When results were triangulated with those Graduate and Supervisor Surveys generated by the CSU Chancellor’s Office that indicated many (although not the majority of) graduates after one year of employment and their supervisors did not feel the graduate had been adequately prepared by Fresno State to teach English Learners, program improvement efforts were clearly warranted.  In response the Single Subject Credential Program Coordinator met with all Single Subject credential faculty to discuss actions across courses to address the strategies most effective with English learners and to revise syllabi to put more emphasis on teaching English learners and to expand candidates’ repertoire of EL strategies.  The Single Subject Program will be analyzing candidates’ FAST performances relative to TPE 7 on an on-going basis along with graduates’ and their supervisor’s perceptions of preparation by the program relative to TPE 7 through the CSU Chancellor’s Survey. Additionally, in response to 2009-2010 FAST data, the Single Subject Credential program offered a half-day institute for master teachers on teaching candidates about professional ethics (TPE12); continued to require candidates to attend student teaching workshops on differentiating instruction for more advanced students (TPE6); and required teacher candidates to attend a newly developed seminar on conflict management and offered candidates the opportunity to participate as Conflict Management Mentors on middle school and high school campuses (TPE 11).

Teacher candidates are informed of the use of their performance data as well as privacy considerations relating to candidate data through the Intended Use Policy printed in the FAST Manual available to every candidate electronically through TaskStream [ See FAST Manual, p. 61 ].  The policy, along with all others dealing with FAST [ See FAST Manual, p. 62 ], is reviewed by the FAST Coordinator or by the Program Coordinator at program orientations at the onset of candidates’ teacher preparation program. 

The program establishes and consistently uses appropriate measures to ensure the security of all TPA materials, including all print, online, video candidate, and assessor materials. The program also consistently uses appropriate measures and maintains documentation to assure the privacy of the candidate, the K-12 students, the school site and school district, and other adults involved in the TPA process.

The FAST system was designed with security in mind.  In the Single Subject Program three of the four tasks are submitted on TaskStream for scoring.  Only the candidate and the scorer see the response to the task.  The other assessment is scored in a controlled setting after which all candidate-generated work is returned to the candidate via his/her fieldwork supervisor. 

At the task level, three of the four projects are conducted with real students in actual classroom settings; a fourth project deals with hypothetical students in a hypothetical classroom.  In the three assessments based on actual teaching performance, as an extra safeguard, the assessment directions call for candidates to avoid the identification of specific schools, districts, and master teachers (“K-12 students, the school site and school district, and other adults involved in the TPA process”) in their written reports [ See FAST Manual, pp. 10, 17, 42 ]. Those written admonitions will be verbally stressed when reviewing the FAST Manual documents during Program and FAST Orientations.  Specific students are identified only when necessary and then, only by first name or pseudonyms. Written documents are stored in each candidate’s TaskStream Directed Response Folio and not available to anyone other than the candidate, the scorer, and the FAST Coordinator.  No FAST task requires videotaping or online dissemination. 

Assessor materials are held by the FAST Coordinator and are only used in scoring and in training and calibration sessions.  All materials are collected after use.  They are not available electronically.  Admonitions for candidate confidentiality are built into every scorer-training module. Because all scorers are either employees of California State University, Fresno, or partnering K-12 school districts, such admonitions are recognized as serious and compelling.

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