skip to main content skip to footer

Formative Studies of Praxis III: Classroom Performance Assessments- An Overview

Camp, Roberta; Danielson, Charlotte; Jones, Jacqueline; Knapp, Joan E.; Lehman, Penny; Mandinach, Ellen B.; Morris, Lori V.; Myford, Carol M.; Reynolds, Anne; Sims-Gunzenhauser, Alice; Sjostrom, Barbara; Villegas, Ana Maria
Publication Year:
Report Number:
ETS Research Report
Document Type:
Page Count:
Subject/Key Words:
Beginning Teachers, Classroom Observation Techniques, Performance Assessment, Praxis, Program Evaluation, Teacher Evaluation


This report describes a series of formative studies that were conducted in support of the development of the Praxis III® test. The research efforts were targeted in three broad areas: (a) field testing of the various data-collection instruments; (b) examination of the processes and strategies involved in retrieving, coding, and evaluating teacher performance data; and (c) analysis of how the performance assessment addresses issues of diversity in teaching and learning. The overarching goal of these studies was to identify strengths of the performance assessment system as well as aspects that needed further refinement. The studies were conducted in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and Dover, Delaware during November and December 1991. Trained assessors working in pairs carried out an assessment cycle in which they observed a candidate teaching a lesson, interviewed the candidate before and after the observation, and reviewed several documents the candidate had completed. A total of 18 candidates were evaluated. The assessors took notes during the interviews and observations, and then coded the. From their coded notes, assessors selected pieces of evidence to include on a Record-of- Evidence form, a document that provides a rationale for each rating. Assessors weighed the evidence they obtained for each criterion and used a scoring rule to assign a rating on the criterion. When the assessors had finished rating candidates, they met as a group to evaluate the assessment system. The assessors completed questionnaires and work sheets and engaged in small- and large-group discussions to share their reactions to using the assessment system. These activities and the records of evidence provided the data for the formative studies. This overview document highlights the major findings from each of the formative studies and discusses the implications of those findings for the Praxis III assessment system. The last section of the paper describes how the developers used the results of the formative evaluation to guide them in making a number of informed changes in Praxis III, that is, in revising the domain descriptions, criterion descriptions, and accompanying scoring rules. Changes were made in the data-collection instruments and in the assessor training program, and new procedural guidelines for carrying out Praxis III assessments were instituted. (250pp.)

Read More