Educator Resources

Memos to the Field

THE STATE EDUCATION DEPARTMENT THE STATE EDUCATION DEPARTMENT / THE UNIVERSITY OF THE NEW YORK / ALBANY, NY 12234

Deputy Commissioner
Office of Higher Education
Rm 977, Education Building Annex
Albany, New York 12234

Date: November 17, 2010
To:

Deans of Teacher Education Programs
Deans of School Leadership Education Programs
Members of the Professional Standards and Practices Board for Teaching
Members of NYSATE and NYACTE

From:

Joseph Frey                               

Subject: New Teacher & School Building Leader Performance-Based Assessment for Initial Certification

I write to update you on two of the initiatives that were a part of the Board of Regents actions to transform teaching and school leadership.  These initiatives include developing New York State Teaching Standards and creating new teacher and school building leader performance-based assessments as a requirement for Initial certification.  The New York State Education Department (NYSED), assisted by the Evaluation Systems Group of Pearson (Evaluation Systems), began work on both of these initiatives in 2009. 

            During the spring and summer of 2010, the Department established workgroups/committees representing teachers, principals, superintendents of schools, school boards, higher education partners, and other stakeholders to assist in the implementation of these initiatives. In the spring, the Teaching Standards Workgroup was established to develop the preliminary draft of New York State Teaching Standards.  Separate exam development committees (one for teachers and one for school building leaders) were established in the summer as part of the process to develop the performance based assessments for teachers and school building leaders. The draft NYS Teaching Standards are serving as a foundation for the development of the teacher performance-based assessments, as are the Interstate School Leaders Licensure Consortium (ISLLC) Standards, for school building leaders.  

            The performance-based exam development committees met in July 2010 to develop the design and content specifications for the new assessments and in August 2010 to review proposed assessment materials and preliminary scoring rubrics.  Evaluation Systems is currently piloting the first iteration of these new performance-based assessments. The attached Question and Answer (Q & A) document outlines the process and current status of the work on the new Performance Assessments for Initial Certification.

            We are seeking faculty and their students to participate in field testing of these new assessments in the spring of 2011.  Colleges and universities that wish to participate in the field test should contact Karen DeWitts, Manager of Program Education and Communication, Evaluation Systems Group of Pearson at (413) 256-2832 or karen.dewitts@pearson.com.

            The new teacher performance-based assessments will be implemented by the spring of 2012 for testing the graduates of the Clinically Rich Teacher Preparation Pilot programs. 

            Graduates of existing, approved teacher and school building leader preparation programs will be required to pass the new assessments beginning in May 2013.  For the most part, students who are currently full-time sophomores in approved teacher preparation programs will be the first traditional program cohort required to pass the new assessments.

            Thank you for your cooperation.  We look forward to working with you and the Evaluation Systems Group of Pearson over the next year in developing these new performance-based assessments.  Further questions on the assessments may be addressed to Robert Bentley, Assistant Commissioner, Office of Teaching Initiatives at rbentley@mail.nysed.gov.  

cc:        Valerie Grey
Robert Bentley
Allison Armour-Garb
Barbara Meinert
Paula Nassif, Evaluation Systems Group at Pearson
Marty B. Karlin, Evaluation Systems Group at Pearson
Jeanne Clayton, Evaluation Systems Group at Pearson
Karen DeWitts, Evaluation Systems Group at Pearson

 

 

November 2010

New York State Teacher Certification Examinations (NYSTCE)
Performance Assessments for Teachers and School Building Leaders

Questions and Answers

In the late fall of 2009, the New York State Board of Regents approved a number of initiatives designed to transform teaching and school leadership.  These initiatives include developing New York State Teaching Standards and creating new teacher and school building leader performance-based assessments as a requirement for Initial certification.  The New York State Education Department (NYSED), assisted by the Evaluation Systems Group of Pearson, began work on both of these initiatives in 2009.  The teaching standards are currently under review and a preliminary version has been presented to the Board of Regents for discussion.  This document focuses on the new performance-based assessments.

The development of the performance assessments entails the sustained involvement of committees of New York State educators.  The committees are composed of broadly representative sets of practicing public school teachers and administrators and higher education faculty.  Members of the committees were selected by NYSED.  The committees met in July 2010 to review the design and content specifications for the new assessments and in August 2010 to review proposed assessment materials and preliminary scoring rubrics.  They will continue to meet over the next year to review and refine assessment materials and scoring rubrics, leading to the implementation of the assessments in early 2012.

What is the design of the assessments?
The assessments are being designed to evaluate teacher and school building leader practice based skills.  They will be a component of the New York State Teacher Certification Examinations (NYSTCE), which also include rigorous content examinations.  Candidates for each assessment will complete a number of tasks that demonstrate their pedagogical or leadership skills and will submit those tasks in a portfolio format.  The NYS Teaching Standards served as a foundation for the development of the teacher assessments, as did the the Interstate School Leaders Licensure Consortium (ISLLC) Standards, for school building leaders.  The development process is designed to result in assessments that are aligned with the appropriate standards and are valid, reliable, and free from bias.

How will candidates’ portfolio work be assessed?
Candidates will manage and submit work through an electronic portfolio system.  The system will support formative assessment for New York State preparation programs as well as summative assessment for Initial state certification.  The formative components of the system will allow candidates to upload submissions for review and comment by authorized faculty at New York preparation programs, and candidates may refine their work based on faculty input.  When candidates complete this work on each portfolio task, they will submit the task for the NYS summative assessment leading to Initial New York State certification. 

How will faculty provide input to candidates during the formative phase of the assessment?
The electronic portfolio management system will facilitate the interchange of information between candidates and their faculty advisors. As candidates complete each part of the assessment, they will be able to submit it to authorized faculty and request feedback.  This will allow faculty to provide constructive feedback in a timely and continuous manner.  Candidates will be able to revise their work as needed, and the system will enable them to easily manage their work as they refine it. For tasks that involve submission of video-recordings, faculty reviewers will be able to tag their comments to specific times on the video, and candidates will be able to access the specific times as they review the faculty comments about the video.  This will facilitate the identification of specific occurrences of strengths and weaknesses in the candidate’s video-recorded performance.

What are the assessment tasks as currently defined?
The assessment tasks are currently under development and are subject to change, based on feedback that will be received from New York educators, educator candidates, and other stakeholders who will be involved in reviews and tryouts of the assessments. Examples of tasks under consideration for the teacher assessment and currently being pilot tested include the following:

  • Create a lesson plan, video-record the lesson, and reflect on the outcomes
  • Develop or select an assessment, administer it, analyze the results, and plan instruction based on the results
  • Analyze and reflect on collaboration and communication with colleagues and families, and on feedback received regarding one’s teaching practice

Examples of tasks under consideration for the school building leader assessment and currently being pilot tested include the following:

  • Analyze student achievement data, develop an improvement plan, and analyze and reflect on the plan;
  • Video-record meetings with a teacher before and after a classroom observation, and reflect on the experience;
  • Develop a plan to expand family or community involvement, and analyze and reflect on the plan; and,
  • Identify a critical issue in the school, develop action steps to address the issue, and reflect on implications.

Candidates will be given detailed instructions about requirements of the submissions in their portfolio work, guidelines for providing evidence of their teaching or leadership skills, and the criteria on which their submissions will be evaluated.

What are the next steps in the process?
The assessment materials are currently being pilot tested with student teachers and school building leader interns who have clinical placements in New York State public schools.  In early 2011, the test development committees will convene to incorporate revisions based on the results of the pilot tests.  The revised assessment materials will be field tested with a larger number of institutions, faculty, and student participants in the spring of 2011.  In the summer of 2011, the committees will meet to incorporate revisions based on the results of the field test.  The assessments will be finalized and implemented in early 2012.

How will the assessments be scored?
The assessments will be scored by qualified and trained New York State educators, using rubrics that are based on the New York State Teaching Standards (teacher assessment) or the Interstate School Leaders Licensure Consortium (ISLLC) Standards (school building leader assessment).  Candidates who are unsuccessful on any task of the assessment will receive feedback on performance criteria tied to the relevant standards, indicating specific weaknesses in their submission.  Results will be reported to candidates, New York State preparation programs, and the New York State Education Department.

Will there be support materials for candidates and faculty advisors?
Yes. Candidates will be provided with complete information to allow them to do their best, including assessment instructions and guidelines, the criteria on which their submissions will be scored, and examples of high-scoring submissions.  Faculty will be provided with instructions, standards, and guidelines on how to work with teacher and school building leader candidates to assist them in developing the knowledge and skills required to successfully complete the assessment and be successful practitioners.

Will permission forms be needed for videotaping?
Schools and school districts in New York State have procedures in place for protecting students and adults regarding video-recording.  To comply with the rules and procedures of the cooperating school and the requirements of the assessment, candidates will need to obtain permission forms from parents/guardians, students, and/or school personnel before videotaping.

What are the technology requirements for using the electronic portfolio?
The electronic portfolio system is designed to accommodate standard digital video and document file formats.  Candidates and faculty will need to have high speed Internet access to accommodate uploading and downloading the videos.

How can I be involved in the field test in spring 2011?
The New York State Education Department will be seeking faculty and their students to participate in field test in the spring of 2011.  To participate in the field test, please contact Karen DeWitts, Manager of Program Education and Communication, Evaluation Systems Group of Pearson at (413) 256-2832 or karen.dewitts@pearson.com. 

Disclaimer: The information on this page is current as of the date of the memo and may be superceded by newer information.

Last Updated: January 28, 2011