Standard 18: Implementation of the Teaching Performance Assessment (TPA): Candidate Preparation and Support

The teacher preparation program assures that each candidate receives clear and accurate information about the nature of the pedagogical tasks within the Commission-approved teaching performance assessment model selected by the program, the passing score standard adopted by the program, and the opportunities available within the program to prepare for completing the TPA tasks/activities. The program assures that candidates understand that all responses to the TPA that are submitted for scoring must represent the candidate’s own unaided work. 

Teacher candidates are required to register for TaskStream in a scheduled registration session prior to beginning their first fieldwork placement [ See FAST Manual, p. 53 ].  The FAST Manual is electronically stored on that electronic portfolio for easy candidate access.  Included in the Manual is information regarding the passing score standard and the high-stakes nature of the FAST assessments [ See FAST Manual, p. i ], the alignment of FAST assessments with TPEs and fieldwork requirements [ See FAST Manual, p. 1 ], the protocols and scoring rubrics for each of the four FAST tasks [ See FAST Manual, pp. 3, 9, 15 & 39 ], TaskStream directions [ See FAST Manual, p. 55 ], FAST policies and procedures [ See FAST Manual, p. 61 ], and the full text for the thirteen TPEs [ See FAST Manual, Appendix A ].  In addition to the electronic version, students may purchase the Manual at the University Bookstore for a nominal fee.  Students in the Single Subject Credential Program are introduced to all elements of the FAST Manual during their mandatory initial program orientation at the beginning of their first semester.  Prior to beginning their final student teaching placements, Single Subject Program candidates are again oriented by the FAST Coordinator to the FAST assessment tasks required in final student teaching.

Several documents in the FAST Manual have been revised to assure candidate’s understanding that the tasks must represent their own unaided work.  Those written admonitions will be verbally stressed when reviewing the FAST Manual documents during Program and FAST Orientations [ See FAST Manual, pp. 3, 9, 15, 39, & 61 ] 

The program assures that candidates understand and follow the appropriate policies and procedures to protect the privacy and confidentiality of the K-12 students, teachers, school sites, school districts, adults, and others who are involved in any of the components of the TPA tasks/activities. 

At the task level, assessment directions call for candidates to avoid the identification of specific schools, districts, and master teachers in their written reports [ See FAST Manual, p. 17 ].  This directive is given in writing for each assessment and reviewed when the assessment is reviewed by the supervisor in fieldwork seminars and when students are oriented to the assessments by the FAST Coordinator.  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 are not available to anyone other than the candidate, the scorer, KSOEHD Administration on a need-to-know basis, and the FAST Coordinator.  No FAST task requires videotaping or online dissemination.

The program provides timely formative feedback information to candidates on their performance on the TPA. The teacher preparation program provides opportunities for candidates who are not successful on the assessment to receive remedial assistance with respect to the TPEs, and to retake the task/activity up to the specified number of times established by the program.  The program only recommends candidates who have met the passing score on the TPA for a preliminary teaching credential.

Discreet feedback information is provided to candidates on their performance on the TPA tasks.  For three of the four projects, candidates earn a score for each TPE evaluated by that complex task; in the Teaching Sample Project candidates earn a score for each of seven sections, each of which evaluates from one to three TPEs.  For example, the Comprehensive Lesson Plan Project evaluates TPE6B, Developmentally Appropriate Teaching Practices in Grades 4-8; TPE 7, Teaching English Learners; TPE 8, Learning about Students; and TPE 9, Instructional Planning.  Students earn a separate score for each of those TPEs.  In the form of a rubric, the score for each TPE refers to a very specific qualitative descriptor for that TPE at that level of performance. By using the numeric score as a reference to the appropriate descriptor on the task-specific rubric, candidates’ performances are qualitatively described.  If a candidate earns a non-passing score of “1” on any TPE, the scorer provides a written explanation of why the candidate failed that section.  Feedback is not only specific, but timely. Candidates are informed of their scores via TaskStream within two weeks of having submitted their work for evaluation. 

If a candidate fails any section of any TPA, remediation is recommended prior to re-submission of the Project.  In the case of the Comprehensive Lesson Plan Project, the candidate is sent a letter via email informing him/her of a failing score, inviting them to retrieve the original test, and providing guidance as to where a candidate might go for assistance in preparing to re-take the test [See Sp11, SS CLPP Re-Take Letter] .  In the case of the other three tasks, the candidate’s fieldwork supervisor who scored the Project is responsible for discussing the reasons for the failure and providing resources for remediation.  If the student fails to earn a passing score on the failed section a second time, the candidate must request “Special Consideration” from the Dean of the Department of Education/Director of Teacher Education [ See FAST Non-Passing Score Procedure, FAST Manual, p. 65 ].  If granted a third opportunity to complete the task, a formal remediation plan is written by the FAST Assessment Coordinator that involves meeting with named faculty.

All FAST assessment tasks are embedded in a fieldwork course [ See FAST Manual, p. 1].  As part of the course syllabus, candidates are made aware of the FAST requirement for that specific fieldwork course as well as the timeline for submitting the assessment for evaluation [ See EHD155A Syllabus].  Candidates must earn a passing score on all TPEs/sections evaluated by the particular assessment in order to pass that fieldwork course; they must successfully pass that fieldwork course in order to advance in the program.  That means that students all assessments must be scored in a timely manner prior to the end of the semester so that if a student were to fail any section, he/she could receive remediation and re-take that non-passed section up to two times before grades are posted for the semester.  The alignment of the FAST tasks with fieldwork and ultimately grades, provides the proper pressure on both candidate and scorer to maintain the Program timeline in meeting submission and scorer responsibilities.

Alignment with passing required fieldwork experiences provides an important gate-keeping status to the FAST assessments.  In the Single Subject Program one must pass all parts of the Comprehensive Lesson Plan Project and the Site Visitation Project during initial student teaching in order to move on to final student teaching.  In final student teaching candidates must successfully pass all parts of the Holistic Proficiency Project and the Teaching Sample Project in order to earn credit for final student teaching, a requirement for applying for a preliminary teaching credential.  As a special precaution, students print a FAST Report from TaskStream that provides proof of passing each TPE or section evaluated by each of the four tasks and attaches it to their application for a preliminary teaching credential [See Preliminary Credential Application Directions].  Without that printout, our Credential Analyst will not process their application. 

The program provides formative assessment information and performance assessment results to candidates who successfully complete the TPA in a manner that is usable by the induction program as one basis for the individual induction plan. 

The Director of Field Placement has worked successfully with local BTSA Directors to design a reporting system of FAST data.  First, districts are aware that if Fresno State recent graduates present themselves as applicants holding a Preliminary California Teaching Credential they have passed all required TPAs.  Second, each applicant has access through TaskStream to his/her scores for each TPE evaluated by each FAST assessment.  Third, each graduate completes with his/her supervisor a Professional Development Plan for BTSA Induction that identifies a self-selected California Standard for the Teaching Profession on which to focus the initial phase of his/her induction period.  More specifically, the graduating candidate and his/her supervisor identify two professional growth goals based on the Standards. This form is completed and signed at the final evaluation meeting in final student teaching and is intended to be presented by the graduate to the hiring district [ See Professional Development Plan for BTSA Induction].

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