Assessing Professional Knowledge : California

Delivering Well Prepared Teachers Policy

Goal

The state should use a licensing test to verify that all new teachers meet its professional standards.

Meets
Suggested Citation:
National Council on Teacher Quality. (2011). Assessing Professional Knowledge : California results. State Teacher Policy Database. [Data set].
Retrieved from: https://www.nctq.org/yearbook/state/CA-Assessing-Professional-Knowledge--6

Analysis of California's policies

California requires all new teachers to pass a pedagogy test based on its standards.

California requires all elementary and secondary school teachers to pass its own Teaching Performance Assessment, designed to measure "the knowledge, skills, and abilities required of a beginning teacher in California public schools."

Citation

Recommendations for California

Ensure that performance assessments provide a meaningful measure of new teachers' knowledge and skills.
Although California is commended for requiring all new teachers to pass a pedagogy test, the state should continue to collect data about the validity of the Teaching Performance Assessment. Additional research is needed to determine how the TPA compares to other teacher tests as well as whether the test's scores are predictive of student achievement.

State response to our analysis

California recognized the factual accuracy of this analysis.

Research rationale

For evidence of the importance of pedagogy tests in improving student achievement, see C. Clotfelter, H.Ladd and J.Vigdor, "How and Why Do Teacher Credentials Matter for Student Achievement?"  Working Paper 2, Calder Institute (2007).

For further information regarding the use of performance assessments and the Teacher Performance Assessment Consortium (TPAC) in California and other states see L. Darling-Hammond, "Evaluating Teacher Effectiveness: How Teacher Performance Assessments Can Measure and Improve Teaching" Center for American Progress (2010). 

For a perspectives on the issues with teaching dispositions, see W. Damon, "Personality Test: The dispositional dispute in teacher preparation today and what to do about it" in Arresting Insights in Education Vol.2 No. 3 (2005);  J. Gershman, "'Disposition' Emerges as Issue at Brooklyn College," New York Sun, May 2005.

For evidence on the low passing scores required by states on pedagogy tests, see the U.S. Department of Education's Secretary's Seventh Annual Report on Teacher Quality (2010). Also see K. Walsh "A Candidate-Centered Model for Teacher Preparation and Licensure" in A Qualified Teacher in Every Classroom (Hess, Rotherham and Walsh, eds.) (2004)