Making Teacher Work Samples “Work” for Accreditation

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The purpose of a teacher education program is to develop preservice teachers into knowledgeable and skilled professionals who have a positive impact on student learning. Quality teaching produces student learning, thus the product of a quality teacher education program is a teacher candidate who has a positive effect on student learning. The National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) review process evaluates the quality of a teacher education program. To do this, teacher education programs provide evidence of quality through an assessment system that demonstrates that teacher candidates are prepared to become effective teachers who promote student learning. The NCATE accreditation process has periodically modified and changed the evidence necessary to demonstrate that programs are successfully developing preservice teachers (Butler, 2006). The accreditation process has steadily shifted from an emphasis on the process of educating preservice teachers through courses aligned with standards and the results from knowledge tests, to its current focus on the product of quality teaching. No longer is it enough to say that teacher candidates have the knowledge and skills; they must demonstrate their effectiveness by applying their knowledge, skills, and dispositions to implement meaningful experiences that contribute to student learning (Hacker, 2006). Teacher work samples (TWS) are a key assessment tool that teacher preparation programs can use to demonstrate the effectiveness of teacher candidates and to provide evidence toward accountability requirements.



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