Teacher Performance Assessment, Interstate Teacher Assessment and Support Consortium, State and Local Initiatives Highlighted

CHICAGO – Nov. 22, 2011 – As improving educator effectiveness tops the national dialogue on accelerating the achievement of U.S. students, more than 120 education leaders from around the country gathered in Chicago recently to discuss innovative new initiatives and practices in teacher preparation and evaluation.

The two-day conference, “Preparing Effective Teachers for Tomorrow’s Schools,” hosted by the Evaluation Systems group of Pearson, put the spotlight on educator effectiveness from the perspective of state education agencies, school district leaders, classroom teachers, faculty and administrators from colleges and universities and leaders from national education organizations, such as the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) as well as the U.S. Department of Education. Conference participants came from 26 states and the District of Columbia.

Dr. Yong Zhao, the director of the Center for Advanced Technology in Education at the University of Oregon, emphasized his belief that our teacher workforce must be prepared to compete globally as well as teach internationally. He emphasized that while globalization presents great challenges, it also provides a great opportunity to rethink education worldwide.

Woven throughout the sessions was the impact that the new Stanford Teacher Performance Assessment (TPA) and the Interstate Teacher Assessment and Support Consortium (InTASC) Guidelines will have on achieving the goal that all students are taught by an effective teacher. Jennifer Wallace, executive director of the Washington Professional Educator Standards Board, described her state’s implementation of the TPA in what she described as a “short accelerated timeline.” Wallace reported that the state was already changing their teacher preparation curricula to support the adoption of the TPA.

Stanford University’s Dr. Ray Pecheone, one of the developers of the TPA, provided a national overview of this new performance-based assessment, its development and implementation. Critical to the success of TPA, he said, is understanding that “human capital development is more than a policy issue – it is a learning framework.”

Assistant U.S. Secretary of Education Dr. Alexa Posny provided participants with an overview of the commitment of the department to improving teacher effectiveness. She described national initiatives that address the challenge using a framework of accountability, alignment, recruitment and retention.

Also providing a national perspective, Dr. James Cibulka, president of NCATE, updated attendees on the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP), the consolidation of NCATE and the Teacher Education Accreditation Council into a single accreditor for reform, innovation and research in educator preparation, and how this organization will leverage efforts, such as the TPA, to drive education reform.

Two top state education leaders provided a view of their state initiatives to improve teacher effectiveness. Indiana’s Superintendent of Public Instruction Dr. Tony Bennett described outlining how his state is implementing “accountability-driven reform.” He said Indiana’s approach has been to set high expectations at the state level, but allow local schools and districts to determine how they are going to meet those expectations. Bennett said, “Local leaders can be innovative and respond to their students’ needs, but they will be held accountable for achievement.”

Kentucky’s Commissioner of Education Dr. Terry Holliday described his state’s pioneering efforts to improve teacher effectiveness. Developed in collaboration with teachers, the state’s new teacher evaluation program now provides a continuous loop of feedback for all state teachers as they are faced with the challenge of implementing the new Common Core State Standards in their classrooms. The state “sunsetted” all of its master of education programs, making colleges and universities develop new programs that draw the connection between teacher preparation and student achievement. To date, there are 12 Teacher Leader master degree programs in Kentucky that are mapped to the state’s new rubric for teacher effectiveness.

Pat Deklotz, superintendent of the School District of Kettle Moraine in Wales, Wis., and her colleague Magee Elementary School teacher Terry Kaldhusdal, immersed participants in a classroom where a highly effective teacher engages students in guiding their own learning with a multimedia presentation. Kaldhusdal, the 2007 Wisconsin State Teacher of the Year, said, “Teaching today is like a 1950s television. It needs to be more like virtual reality.”

In closing remarks, New Hampshire’s Commissioner of Education Dr. Virginia Barry highlighted the themes of the conferences, ranging from accountability at all levels of education to personalization of learning for students and teachers. Summarizing the discussions of teacher recruitment and retention, Barry concluded that to ensure continued improvement in teacher effectiveness, colleges and universities must rethink their teacher preparation programs and recruitment strategies to reflect today’s emphasis on using data to inform instruction and initiatives, such as the Common Core State Standards.

In addition, other education leaders who presented at the conference included:

 Peter Auffant, Collegiate Academy Principal, Chicago International Charter School – Longwood Campus, Chicago
 Manuel Cox, Academy Teacher, American High School, Miami
 Diana Greene, Deputy Superintendent, Marion County Public Schools, Ocala, Fla.
 Terrence Janicki, Administrator, Professional Services Division, Commission on Teacher Credentialing, Sacramento, Calif.
 Carlene Kirkpatrick, Education Program Specialist, Division of Teacher and Leader Effectiveness, Georgia Department of Education, Atlanta
 Robert Lee, Director, Chicago Teacher Education Pipeline Programs and Partnerships, Illinois State University, Chicago
 Antoinette Mitchell, Deputy Assistant Superintendent, Office of the State Superintendent of Education, Washington, D.C.
 Carlos Nelson, Executive Director, Greater Auburn Gresham Development Corporation, Chicago
 Rachel Perveiler, Special Education Teacher, William F. Finkl Academy, Chicago
 Marcy Singer-Gabella, Professor of Practice and Associate Chair for Teacher Education, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tenn.
 Rick Stiggins, Executive Director, Pearson Assessment Training Institute, Portland, Ore.
 Linda Tomlinson, Assistant State Superintendent, Illinois State Board of Education, Springfield, Ill.

About Pearson
Pearson, the world’s leading learning company, has global reach and market-leading businesses in education, business information and consumer publishing (NYSE: PSO). For more information about the Assessment & Information group of Pearson, visit http://www.pearsonassessments.com/.

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