Collaborating for Success: How to Use the PPAT™ Assessment to Support Teacher Candidates Video

People in this video:

Moderator:
Saroja Barnes, Director of Educator Preparation Initiative, CCSSO

Panelists:
Tyler Wells, Assistant Professor and Chair of Clinical Studies at Wilmington University, DE
Deborah Poston, Assistant Professor, Clinical Placement Coordinator, RETAIN Mentoring Coordinator at Newberry College, SC
Cathy Owens-Oliver, Client Relations Director, ETS

Transcript Body

On-screen: [PRAXIS® Performance Assessment for Teachers: “Collaborating for Success: How to Use PPAT to Support Teacher Candidates”; September 22, 2015 at 11:30 a.m. ET]

Saroja Barnes: Good day and welcome everyone. I want to introduce you to our session today, “Collaborating for Success: How to Use PPAT to Support Teacher Candidates.” My name is Saroja Barnes and I’m the Director of Educator Preparation Initiative at the Council of Chief State School Officers, and I’ll be serving as the moderator for our discussion today. It’s so amazing how technology brings us all so closer together and that we’ve got viewers, people participating, from far and wide.

I’d like to take a minute to introduce briefly our panelists today before we get started. Dr. Cathy Owens-Oliver currently works at ETS as Client Relations Director in the Teacher Licensure and Certification Division. Earlier in her career she served as a high school English teacher as adjunct faculty at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Gilford Technical Community College, and North Carolina A&T State University, and as a Regional Professional Development Coach for the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction. She earned her Doctorate in Education Leadership Management and Policy at Seton Hall University where her dissertation addressed the impact of teacher testing on the minority teacher candidate pool. She holds National Board Certification in Early Adolescence English Language Arts and Teacher Certification in North Carolina, Michigan, and New Jersey.

Deborah Poston started her career in 1985 in education after graduating from Winthrop University in South Carolina. She received her Master’s Degree from the University of South Carolina in Elementary Education and earned National Board Certification in 2009. Over the course of her teaching career, Miss Poston has worked with gifted and talented students, special education students, self-contained classrooms, teen teaching settings, and grade levels K through 8 in both rural and suburban schools. Miss Poston currently serves as the Clinical Experiences Coordinator for Newbury College Department of Education, and is the RETAIN Center of Excellence Mentoring Coordinator and supervises teacher candidates in the field during their internship.

Tyler Wells, to my left, earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood Education and Master’s Degree in School Leadership from Wilmington University in Delaware. Mr. Wells has served as a kindergarten teacher in Delaware as well as in Chester, Pennsylvania, and is currently the Chair of the Clinical Studies Department in the College of Education at Wilmington University where he supervises the clinical and field experiences for all undergraduate and graduate teacher candidates.

We’re going to kick off this webinar with a brief video that offers a teacher’s perspective on the need for and use of performance assessments. Then we’ll hear some prepared remarks from each of our panelists followed by a panel discussion. We’ll use the last 10 to 15 minutes for Q&A but please feel free, as Mihir pointed out earlier, to submit your questions at any time during the hour.

On-screen: [PRAXIS: Erin Sponaugle, 2014 West Virginia, Teacher of the Year]

We absolutely have to have assessment for beginning teachers before they enter the profession and are given the keys to their very first classroom.

On-screen: [PRAXIS: Ryan Devlin, 2014 Pennsylvania, Teacher of the Year]

I think the assessments that we really need to take a look at in the teaching profession are ones that are more hands-on where students are having the opportunity to actually be a teacher.

On-screen: [PRAXIS: Karyn Dickerson, 2014 North Carolina, Teacher of the Year]

It’s not just putting pen to paper, answering multiple choice questions or maybe writing an essay or two. But how can you prove it and document it? How can you demonstrate it?

On-screen: [PRAXIS: Jemelleh Coes, 2014 Georgia, Teacher of the Year]

There has to be a practical or performance assessment when assessing whether or not a teacher is ready for licensure.

On-screen: [PRAXIS: PPAT PRAXIS® Performance Assessment for Teachers]

On-screen: [PRAXIS: Luke Foley, 2014 Vermont Teacher of the Year]

What I would love to see from assessments is maybe a wider variety with a lot of applications and sort of using those to identify patterns or trends, challenges and weaknesses. And really using that as a conversation starter as opposed to an end-all, be-all measurement.

On-screen: [PRAXIS: Karyn Dickerson, 2014 North Carolina, Teacher of the Year]

Looking at how they teach a model lesson and having them write a rationale for why they made those choices. Having them document how they would help a student grow.

On-screen: [PRAXIS: Holly Bloodworth, 2014 Kentucky, Teacher of the Year]

I think we need to give them the tools to be able to get the content knowledge across to someone else.

On-screen: [PRAXIS: Ryan Devlin, 2014 Pennsylvania, Teacher of the Year]

Those student teaching experiences can be critical in terms of being your first opportunity to see what teaching’s all about and to get a mentor along the way that’s a cooperating teacher that can help you out is also very very important.

On-screen: [PRAXIS: Jeff Baxter, 2014 Kansas, Teacher of the Year]

They need more practice in a natural classroom with close mentor supervision by accomplished teachers.

On-screen: [PRAXIS: Tim Smith, 2014 California, Teacher of the Year]

We can’t put those student teachers in a classroom and forget about them or maybe evaluate them once a semester. We need to give them constant feedback.

On-screen: [PRAXIS: Provides ongoing feedback throughout the clinical experience; promotes close collaboration with faculty and cooperating teacher; allows teacher candidates to demonstrate what they know and what they can do in a real-world classroom]

On-screen: [PRAXIS: PPAT PRAXIS® Performance Assessment for Teachers; for more information visit ets.org/ppat]

Saroja Barnes: I think the video is a great way to set up our conversation that we’re going to have today, because one of the things the video really highlights, well first off is the perspective and voice of practicing teachers, and those teachers that we consider excellent – national state teachers of the year. And one of the things they talked about in that video is something that our panelists will talk more about, and that is the importance of being able to assess readiness to be in classrooms through performance, as opposed to some written assessment or multiple choice assessment of their understanding. But before we get into this in more detail, and for some of you who have some limited understanding about the PPAT, Cathy is going to talk to us a little bit more and give us a brief overview of the assessment. Cathy.

Cathy Owens-Oliver: Sure, thank you. PPAT has four main components or tasks that a candidate must complete. The first one is on the knowledge of students and the learning environment in which they have to show how they pay attention to who the students are in that building, who the teachers are, how they interact with each other, whether or not the administrator’s an instruction leader or building manager, and any other contextual factors from a school community that would contribute to their instructional decision making.

Task two is focused on their ability to collect and analyze data around student learning to inform the candidate's instructional decision-making as well. Task three is what I like to refer to as good old-fashioned instructional design. They have to show that they can both create and deliver a good instructional plan and unit of study. And task three requires them to also incorporate the appropriate use of technology.

The last piece is task four, which is the holistic piece that pulls the entire cycle of teaching together and it requires that they both implement instruction around ways that accommodate the needs of individual learners, and it also requires them to include a video of up to 15 minutes.

Now one additional piece is, not a part of the four tasks, is the Professional Growth Plan. That is a learning tool to help them think carefully through what they're learning about themselves as a practitioner as they're completing the assessment. But it also allows them to think through what are some of the things they may need to work on when they enter into the profession.

While all of the pieces are done and submitted separately during the student teaching semester or whenever the clinical experience takes place, they do fit together nicely because they were developed sequentially to allow the candidate to see their own growth as they move from one task to the next, as well as their supervising faculty and the cooperating teacher.

So that's just a brief explanation of how it's all put together. It may be completed in the fall or the spring semester of the clinical experience. And PPAT is also very conducive to some nontraditional clinical experience models including those who are entering teaching through an alternate route.

Saroja Barnes: Thank you, Cathy, for giving us that overview. Now I'm going to ask each of our panelists to share with us a little more about themselves and their experience with performance assessment, including PPAT. Deborah, is it okay if we start with you?

Deborah Poston: Certainly. I am at Newbury College in South Carolina. I actually started with the PPAT as part of the National Development Team. So I've been with PPAT from the beginning. I am a scoring leader so I'm able to rate as well. And my students at the college that I am at, we have participated in all of the pilots. So I feel like I know it pretty well.

Saroja Barnes: Wonderful, thank you Deborah. And Tyler?

Tyler Wells: Sure, thank you. As stated I'm at Wilmington University and Chair the Office of Clinical Studies. And our level of connection with PPAT stems from three categories; at the state level, new mandates for the state of Delaware, curriculum and/or candidate performance. And the last category really revolving around professional development, the faculty and our instructors. And so within the state level really looking at how PPAT and other assessments will be used for licensure and certification; giving IHEs a voice at the table, so to speak. And then within the two main areas, categories of curriculum and revision of curriculum, and professional development of faculty, I've taken a very strong role within our own college and department as to how we are integrating PPAT into our candidates' eventual licensure and certification.

Saroja Barnes: Wonderful. Happy to have you both here today for our conversation. I'm going to go ahead and start with some questions for our panelists. And so the first question, how is PPAT different from what's already being used to evaluate teacher candidates based on student performance? Tyler, I'll start with you.

Tyler Wells: Sure. Well it's interesting on our end. Our curriculum revision, so to speak, and it does align to our teacher evaluation system, DPAS, in Delaware, Delaware Performance Appraisal System. And the PPAT in terms of its alignment with DPAS and Charlotte Danielson's framework for teaching, it's actually similar for us as to the pathway that we've chosen within Wilmington University to align to all those respective components and pieces. So knowing that it actually aligns to DPAS and teacher evaluation and how we've embedded that within our clinical practice, it actually is very similar to what we need to do to make sure that our candidates are fully prepared.

Saroja Barnes: Deborah, do you want to respond?

Deborah Poston: It's the same thing for us. We actually work with our State standards, the ADEPT program in South Carolina, and they, it starts at the preservice level. And the PPAT has kind of blended right in there to what we used to do as a unit work sample. It's showing the data collection and what you do with that baseline data; how are your students performing and achieving? It's aligned very nicely because we work with those standards. They're ready for that next step when they become teachers. So it's been very nice to have a different piece than just; we had a unit work sample which was a very tiny segment of their student teaching semester, which now it kind of grows and builds as when we are using the PPAT system.

Tyler Wells: And if I could add, I think looking at the PPAT aligned to these things, it's more authentic in nature. It is performance-based rather than writing particular papers or responses or things to their experience. These are based on the actual practice within the classroom.

Saroja Barnes: Absolutely. And so just to continue on that vein, what additional insights or information, Tyler, have you, your colleagues, your students been able to glean from using PPAT that perhaps aren't revealed through these other forms of evaluation?

Tyler Wells: Well I think that question actually aligns to some of the revisions in curriculum that we've made. Looking at gap analysis between PPAT requirements and the state licensure requirements and our own curriculum, we identified that candidates within the pilot last semester and moving forward with our own revisions, our candidates were not strong in the analytic component, the review, the analyzing of their performance, their teaching and so forth. And that was something that we needed to revise. And without, I think, moving forward with PPAT and some of these other changes for licensure and cert, we really wouldn't have recognized that. And I think that that has played a large role as to not only changes in clinical practice but systemic changes within our program as well addressing the need for more effective analytic writing and reflected practice.

Deborah Poston: I would agree. We do a lot of reflecting and this kind of encourages the reflecting as I guess at a deeper level. They are actually saying how, what they did and how well it has fit with the students. Another thing that I, we have actually changed a little bit of our curriculum from the three pilots, we always tell our students to know their students as the teacher. But that, the task, one, kind of gave us insight to, you know, we really never did ask them to specifically find out about their students. So it's kind of a practice that we're going to try to do earlier to get them used to finding out exactly who they have in their classrooms and how they're teaching them.

Saroja Barnes: One of the things that came out in the introductory video that the teachers talked about was the importance of the higher ed based faculty working with candidates to partner and work sort of collaboratively with mentor teachers. And so I'd be interested in hearing from both of you all how you see the use of PPAT perhaps supporting or encouraging that collaboration between what some would call the Ivory Tower and the folks on the ground doing the real work. Tyler, you and I had some conversations earlier about this.

Tyler Wells: I think our focus within Wilmington University and the College of Ed is that one, we're rather nimble in terms of our approach so we can adapt to the needs that are clearly apparent through our candidate-base and our mentor teachers. So our focus right now over the next year for implementation in Fall of 2016 was to focus in on our professional development of faculty, instructors, and also then to reach out to our mentor teachers who are out in the field, identifying high quality cooperating teachers connected to the mission and vision of the University, so that we could then provide them with specific seminars and workshops that are connected to implementation of PPAT.

And the other side of this is viewing the experience, the immersion, if you will, of our candidates, in nontraditional type of environments. So it does require a lot of footwork, if you will, connecting to LEAs at the district level, superintendents, creating collaborative partnerships, to the extent of where we have this past semester and the year semester before piloted a year-long residency, a clinical residency. And these individual mentor teachers are adjuncts of the university. And as such, then they fully integrate all of the aspects of the clinical practice and data collection and everything that's connected to, not just PPAT but our own mechanisms for tracking our candidates' performance.

Saroja Barnes: Sure. Deborah, would you like to respond?

Deborah Poston: Well because we're aligned with our state standards, and they actually, we have to assess them on those State standards, where the PPAT came in like almost seamlessly, the State now is requiring student learning objectives being more, having the teachers being more accountable and they're actually starting with those first-year teachers. So our students working on their task are of course collaborating with their mentor teachers. And my mentor teachers that talk with me and the student teachers are saying, “This is the same, we're doing the same things.” So they actually are working together. And they seem, they almost seem excited about it that they actually know what they're doing and will know what they're doing next year when they get their first job.

Saroja Barnes: That's wonderful. So let me ask you another question about PPAT in comparison to another performance assessment that is being used, and that's edTPA. There have been a lot of similarities drawn between the two. I know you have some familiarity with the other one as well, but they also had some clear differences. And so I wonder, based on your experiences working with PPAT and your understanding of edTPA, what do you see as some of the key differences that make PPAT unique?

Deborah Poston: I do not know a lot about edTPA. We have had some faculty coming in from other universities that have used it and they feel like while they compare many of the same things, most of them are saying that PPAT seems to be a little more user-friendly, or sequential, which they see; I like that factor of it where you can, you kind of focus on one thing at a time and that seems to me still the rigor that you need, but also kind of a teaching moment too because they are still in there, you know, the educational setting during student teaching.

Tyler Wells: And I would say that knowing that I think PPAT is really aligned to Danielson's work and framework, it's aligned to who we are as a state within teacher evaluation, that is different I think between PPAT and edTPA. I also think that there is a seamless integration obviously in terms of systems, because it is really focused on data decisions and data-driven decisions, that the majority of obviously our candidates are utilizing ETS for Praxis I or II, or Praxis Core and II, whether it's content specific and so it just seems a natural step together as a system as well to engage in PPAT.

Saroja Barnes: And so that actually is a nice segue to another question I wanted to ask you in relation to the sort of changing landscape around education policies within teacher preparation. It's been said that standardized teaching can never produce high levels for all students. In what ways, again, based on your experiences, do you see PPAT addressing say differentiated instruction? How does the assessment help teacher educators like yourself assess the candidate's ability to tailor their practice to promote student learning and understanding?

Tyler Wells: I think this goes back to being an authentic assessment, and those tasks, especially tasks 2 and 3 where we're looking at if its baseline data, to focus students, our candidates now are much more aligned to the assessment process. Assessment of students in the classroom and their work being done. It aligns also to Delaware's goal setting and achievement, value achievement, our value-added achievement data. So I think that when you're looking at performance-based or authentic assessment, I think that responds to that particular question.

Tyler Wells: I don't know if that aligns to....

Deborah Poston: Different, well we teach them how to accommodate and we give those normal things that are needed for accommodation. If they come in with those real, the weighted pencil for a certain child with a muscular problem, those very clear things that we never probably tell them about, but they're actually seeing and being able to accommodate or modify an assessment or focus on those students, it's actually helped us at the institution think of other ways we can teach them the accommodations and the differentiation. So it's real.

Tyler Wells: The process does create purposeful conversations between the mentor teacher and the candidate and the supervisors at hand, it really does, to look at those specific areas.

Deborah Poston: Because then they're thinking.

Tyler Wells: Right.

Deborah Poston: The students, teachers are going, we don't really have an IEP, but we have this child that – and you're like. So they're actually thinking about it so it becomes more authentic for them as well.

Saroja Barnes: You know one of the things that I'm resonating with that I hear from both of you is just the power of the data that's generated say from the candidate work to drive change in your programs, in your curriculum, you know, sort of the way you do business in teacher ed, but also inform the candidate as they move into the classroom as a new teacher, and the mentor teachers that they're working with as well. At CCSSO where I'm working, we've been working with states to support educator preparation reforms through our network for transforming educator preparation. And our network has been focused on ed prep reform through three policy levers – through licensure, through program approval, and through data collection reporting and analysis. So I wonder, again from your perspective having experience using PPAT, what do you see as the potential of the use of PPAT in ed prep programs in your states, and for that matter, across the country, in advancing not just educator preparation reform, but ensuring that teachers are learner-ready on day one? What do you see as the potential?

Deborah Poston: It's, I guess it's real. When they go out there and they're actually working with students, not just the students on paper in their earlier classes where they create a lesson plan for 21 students and they have different needs and they tell you how they're going to do it, it's actually doing it, and I think that's important, and I think they will be ready. I think it makes us more accountable too as how we're going to prepare them. And definitely other than taking it, it's so much better than just taking a test, it just makes it, once again, I hate to keep using the same word, it's real. It's real for them; it's real for their students. The mentor teachers are seeing much better the quality that was coming out of the learning for everyone.

Tyler Wells: And as you know, Delaware just joined that network.

Saroja Barnes: Yes.

Tyler Wells: And so on our end in terms of Senate Bill 51 and Regulation 290 that's really focusing on IHEs and teacher prep, within our own system we're revolving on licensure and certification, student performance, even upcoming scorecards that will be reported by the state of Delaware on all IHEs in the state of Delaware, absolutely I think PPAT absolutely aligns to those three areas. And it also aligns to our responsibility as a teacher prep program to track the performance of our candidates and to identify how well they're doing out in the field, leading us out in the field, and what they're doing and how well they're doing, and what areas that we can do. Because I think this is what PPAT does for us, it takes us; it gives us an opportunity for us to reflect on what we're doing within the institute, the college, and how we're preparing our candidates.

Saroja Barnes: That's great, thank you all so much for sharing. I think we want to give an opportunity as well to our audience. We don't have anything coming in yet? I heard people, too, as Mihir extended the invitation to chat him up and send some questions to us for our panelists. If not, I've got tons of questions. I've got lots of material. All right.

So another question that I'm curious about, about the tangible benefits, right? And so we talked, I think we've talked really broadly and generally about our students as a whole and what we see as some of the benefits. But I would love for you to share even a real case study, an example, of your work with a cohort or a student, and the benefits you saw of using PPAT; again, the student work that's generated and how it helped you to move that student forward to prepare them for day one.

Deborah Poston: In the pilot phase as we were, we were, of course, taking the data, or the task as well, we would go through it with them and talk to them about how, what they were actually going to be focusing on. So it gave us a time to sit with our candidates. I can tell you the first pilot and the second one, they did not care to do this. This was new to them and change, of course, is hard, but I have had several come back to me at their first year teaching, and would say, “I am the only new teacher at this school that did not have to revise their long-range plan, and I think it's because of PPAT.” I'm like, ‘there'.

And this semester we have, we are implementing it, and so we go through like an orientation, here's task one, it's what we're going to be doing. And they are, I think I said this before, they're very excited because they feel like they're doing some of the same things their mentor teacher's doing now with the new SLOs that they're having to do for their licensure. So I actually think it's; that's been building a better relationship with all of the people involved.

Saroja Barnes: Deborah, I'm going to probe you a little bit more on this. I know that you work, you supervise, right, all of these students, and so you probably have close relationships, working relationships, with some of the administrators in the schools.

Saroja Barnes: Have you heard from your administrator? What do the administrators where your students are, what have they said? How much do they know about what's happening with this performance assessment?

Deborah Poston: They of course know that we're involved in it. They haven't really talked to me directly. They do talk with the mentor teacher and have mentioned what's involved in this. But I think they're again saying it aligns so well with what they are doing in the classroom. I've even had student teachers say, “So we don't have to create something different for this?” I'm like, “Okay, let's think about this again.” And then all of a sudden that light bulb will come on. “Oh, it's what we're doing already.” So that's kind of nice. But administrators have stopped me and discussed the quality of our candidates and I do think a lot of it is the rigor that we're putting with it and I think PPAT is part of that.

Saroja Barnes: Nice, thank you. Tyler, do you want to comment?

Tyler Wells: Well we haven't fully implemented PPAT until Fall 2016.

Saroja Barnes: That's right.

Tyler Wells:   But I can speak to the level of professional development that's I think required and connected to faculty and instructors and mentor teachers. I mean we're taking this, we've worked on it for the past year with our faculty internally, curriculum revisions, instructors, in preparation for Fall 2016 implementation, and it reaches back to those candidates who are just entering into their first clinical experiences really connecting to who they are as candidates and what to expect. To the very specific kind of conversations and seminars and workshops that we'll be providing to our mentor teachers over the course of this year, to the level where we're inviting each semester this Fall and Spring approximately 300 mentor teachers from the state of Delaware so that we can have those open clear conversations as what this is and how it should be implemented and the role and responsibility of the mentor teacher in that capacity.

And then, of course, at the State level, talking to administrators, directors of instruction and so forth, and building level principals, because it does filter down to exactly what you're saying, which is, the administrators, these building level supervisors, principals, are very much wanting to know how it operates and what it is and in what capacity will it alter our candidates. And from what we're experiencing so far before implementation is that our candidates are much more prepared and they're much more aligned to what I think the expectations are for teachers today.

Saroja Barnes: Yeah. Do we have any questions?

Online Question: So we do have one question online here. How will the candidate get feedback in enough time to use it for grading purposes? For example, student teaching here ends two weeks before conferral of degree and license recommendation. What is the timeline for PPAT?

Saroja Barnes: That's a good question. I wonder if that is not necessarily best answered by; do you want to?

Cathy Owens-Oliver: Sure. We were very intentional about taking into consideration the various calendars, that's different student teaching models, and how the K12 calendar rolls out across states and different school districts. So while we do have a calendar in place right now, we understand that there may be some flexibilities necessary, based on extenuating circumstances different states and schools don't begin school at the same time, or they observe holidays in different ways, the weather, we take all of that into consideration.

But, we do have it set up so that candidates are able to get all of the information in well before the end of the semester so that they still have time for our resubmission process. As they are submitting tasks along the way rather than everything just at the end, they're getting feedback within two weeks of each submission deadline. So once the deadline for each task is posted or once they've submitted for that deadline, then they will get feedback on each task within a couple of weeks of that deadline.

We have that backed into the calendar in such a way that enough time is left at the very end for them to do two things. One, to refer back to the score feedback that they've been getting so they'll know in advance whether or not they even need to resubmit, and if so, what parts? And then number two, to pull upon the artifacts and evidence they've been collecting throughout the entire semester and use some of that in order to create the new task for resubmission. So we build that in in enough time so that they can complete all four components and get feedback on each of the tasks after submission deadlines, make decisions about whether or not they're going to resubmit, and have enough time to resubmit before the end of the semester, because we recognize that faculty have to get their grades in and prepare everything for graduation. But in some ways I have to say that it's a sliding calendar sometimes because what works at Wilmington University may be a slightly different calendar from Newbury in South Carolina.

Saroja Barnes: That's right, thank you Cathy. We have some more questions?

Online Question: There's another question here, let me just pull it up. Any challenges that you encountered in securing district/school/classroom permission for the video component associated with task four?

Saroja Barnes: That's a really good question and I know that comes up all the time. You want to go first Deborah?

Deborah Poston: Well our districts were, most of our districts have an agreement in place and we were using that the first pilot; I think they now have to have a permission slip that comes directly from the PPAT. But we have not encountered any district that would not allow us to use it. If there are students in the class that cannot be filmed or photographed, they're just taken out during the video processing and they're, maybe their entries aren't added to the task.

Tyler Wells: And we haven't implemented yet, but, however, we're the same type of scenario where each district has their own video permission or authority slip and we have our own. And I know PPAT, ETS, has theirs. So I would say that that fully covers the reality issue of it all. And for us right now we're undertaking within our preclinical instructions and working in professional development with our candidates teaching them how to actually videotape, and then also working with faculty as well so that they're understanding the use of technology so that the recording is of quality and useful for PPAT.

Saroja Barnes: Great, thank you. Any more questions?

Online Question: So a few more questions. Let me just pull it up here. This question is regarding certification and reciprocity. What happens when a candidate completes PPAT and then applies for cert and edTPA state? Will he/she need to complete the edTPA as well?

Saroja Barnes: I don't know that any of us really are positioned to answer that. Do you want to?

Cathy Owens-Oliver: Sure. I will say that that is a state policy decision so we neither dictate or determine how PPAT or any teacher performance assessment is used across states, but states will have to, just like with videoing, states will have to make a determination about what their reciprocity regulations are and how they will be implemented.

Saroja Barnes: That's right, yeah. I will say on behalf of CCSSO, one of the things we've been really interested in doing is looking for ways to promote and support regular transferability of licenses across states. We're moving away from this language of reciprocity. I think it is not inclusive enough of the real issue, and the real issue is we have a problem in relation to the equitable distribution of effective teachers across our nation, and that sometimes these state borders and boundaries and rules that lock them in can get in the way. And so tied to that will be a conversation with our chiefs and with states around performance assessments, all sorts of, you know, licensure requirements. So I imagine that that will be an ongoing conversation and one that we'll all be paying close attention to.

Cathy Owens-Oliver: Yeah. We have received feedback from various states about the value and the opportunity of PPAT being used perhaps in the first semester of the first year of teaching, when a candidate becomes teacher of record and perhaps in the program that they came from, particularly in a state where it's a high import state, so lots of teachers are coming in from somewhere else. And so a few states have said to us they like the possibility of PPAT being used for candidates from other states, even if it means in their first year of teaching. And that's a good thing because of its connection to professional growth, and so long as they have a mentor in that building to work with them through each one of the pieces, they can still get PPAT done in a real live environment, not just a clinical experience.

Saroja Barnes: Thank you Cathy. Another question?

Online Question: So going down the list here. Are assessors evaluating students PPATs in the same states, or how are evaluators matched portfolios?

Cathy Owens-Oliver: Sure. So the way scoring is set up we have each task and PPAT scored by at least two different reviewers who have been trained and they are not in the same area as that teacher candidate. So no student is going to be evaluated by their own faculty at their university. We do have a psychometric process in place where we ensure that you know Tyler and Deb will not be scoring their own students. That is a benefit both for the faculty and for the candidate, because the candidate gets that expert input from someone else not just their own faculty. And then also the faculty gets good unbiased feedback from their experts across the field who are able to see different patterns and trends in the students' performance.

Another benefit is that the scoring is distributed. So there are two different people scoring each test. So any individual candidate is getting feedback from up to nine people, because you have the six who are doing tasks 2, 3, and 4, and then if they choose to resubmit, then it's also scored again by someone else. By the time the candidate finds out that they are unsuccessful or not on the right track, lots of experts across the field have given input into that decision, and I think that plays well both for your program and for your students.

Saroja Barnes: Okay. All right. And so while the questions are coming in, I would love to continue to probe you guys a little bit more about your experiences with PPAT. So talk to me about working with your faculty and the experience as you're introducing a new performance assessment in your programs. I'm sure that not all the faculty were, that you are working with, your colleagues, were as eager as perhaps you all were to put this in place and test it out. What were some of those experiences like and how did you work through maybe some resistance that you may have faced?

Tyler Wells: Please, ladies first.

Deborah Poston: Change is hard and we had some: why are we changing? The state hasn't said, and we would back that up with: this is a great opportunity for us to learn from it being scored elsewhere or to see how maybe our program is in line, or maybe needs to be improved. So we approached it that way. And then the final thing was our state is probably going to have, we do not have in place where we have to do a performance assessment, but it's coming. And we hopefully will be ahead of the game and already having done it several semesters. But change is hard. And, yes, they did ask a lot of questions and kind of buck it a little bit, but they're okay now, they're on board, and they see the importance of having outside sources rating as well, because it becomes a little more reliable, and it definitely makes us accountable as well as our students.

Saroja Barnes: Right. It's not just that, you know, my students are ready because I said so.

Deborah Poston: Exactly.

Saroja Barnes: But there's some professional consensus around that decision.

Deborah Poston: Exactly.

Saroja Barnes: Yeah.

Tyler Wells: And I think it relates to your previous question, it shows the value of the examination. Granted, yes, we are one state which requires license and certification connected to an exit performance assessment. And so absolutely we have to go down that pathway. But we had already started down that pathway when Senate Bill 51 was signed into law in 2013. However, I agree, change is difficult. But I think the connection between, or showing the relevance between the assessment, how it's authentic, how it improves the instructional process, how it connects to our candidate performance out in the field, I think most if not all of our faculty and instructors who are connected to the clinical experience agreed that the change was worthwhile.

It takes time. It doesn't happen overnight obviously. I think it involves a very structured approach to your faculty in terms of professional development. It has to be, I think, in our experience at the University, very systematic. You bring things to those pieces and parts that are connected to the examination so everyone is on the same page. And I will say that has been the most difficult component is ensuring everyone is on the same page. But I think when you have approached it in that light, that it is relevant, that it is connected to do an authentic assessment. It absolutely does hold value.

Deborah Poston: That's right. Yeah, it's good.

Saroja Barnes: Good. Question from the audience?

Online Question: One question here. What is PPAT's retake policy?

Saroja Barnes: Okay.

Cathy Owens-Oliver: So PPAT allows for resubmission process. If candidates are unsuccessful in completing the test 2, 3, or 4, then they have the opportunity to resubmit at a cost of $85. That cost only is incurred if they choose to resubmit, and that is if they have been unsuccessful on the other three parts. And it is up to them if they want to resubmit one part or all three parts, it's all for that same fee. So it's a one-time fee and then they determine whether or not they need to submit one task or two or all three of them based on having been unsuccessful. And we don't allow them to resubmit because you know they want to just be stellar or get a perfect performance. But the focus is really on looking at the feedback that they've received along the way changing their practice. Not just redoing the task in order to get a higher score, but changing their practice and then resubmitting it in ways that show more about their development.

Saroja Barnes: That's good to know. And so another comparison between edTPA and PPAT that I wanted to ask you all a little bit about has to do with the sort of context specificity of the assessment. So edTPA, you know, you don't know too much stuff, it comes, it's sort of subject specific. But the one thing I understand about PPAT is it's not necessarily content-specific. And so I wondered, in your experiences again, how are you ensuring, let's say, that this performance assessment that's probably a really good way of understanding candidate's pedagogical knowledge, that the content is strong as well as they demonstrate that?

Tyler Wells: Well we haven't had, we haven't implemented it as of yet, but looking back into our structure, I think that aligns to the conversations and the practice that occurs in the classroom with a mentor teacher, which then goes back to the necessity to create a very close connection with your, the faculty and the mentor, the cooperating teachers, the collaborative partnerships that exist. I mean that's where the conversations and the focus on content really should be as well, it's in the classroom. And so I know that for us at the University and the College of Ed we're really focusing on that end goal of implementation and ensuring that respective content-specific conversations, ensuring that to that level where the mentor teacher and the candidate and the supervisor are all communicating about that area together.

Saroja Wells: That's right, good. Deborah.

Deborah Poston: That's the same thing I would say. When we initiate the task for them at first, our PE teacher, our music professor on the college level are there to help provide those examples that elementary, or we have secondary; they come in and they help us and we have those conversations. And then, of course, they go out into the field and you have the mentor teachers who are right there in it, on the ground with it, and that is important, those conversations between all of us. I think that's what's nice about the PPAT. They're all doing the same task in their content, and so I've watched during seminar time our student teachers, they come together, they're talking to each other. Even the music teacher said, “Oh, and I did this,” and the PE teacher's suggesting, I don't know, the conversations coming together and seeing that the tasks are all the same as they make it content-specific.

Saroja Barnes: That's right they make it content-specific. Cathy, maybe you can address too. I know one of the questions that came up when edTPA was launched was about the scorers and who the scorers are, what their credentials are. Can you talk a little bit about that?

Cathy Owens-Oliver: Sure. So in addition to the training that I mentioned earlier to ensure that informed experts are rating each task, we also match the rater with the content and grade level. So no physics instructor is going to be scoring say a third grade task for English Language Arts. Not saying that they couldn't, but we make sure that the task that they're reading is related to their own content as the rater. So that's really important and the grade level. We also have built into the process an opportunity to defer. So if I as a former English teacher were scoring a performance and let's say I had spent most of my time only teaching 10th grade World Literature and I saw a performance in some other area, even still within my content, if I felt a bias, if I felt a lack of information or for whatever reason that I didn't feel that I was the appropriate person to score, then I'd be able to defer. So we also allow raters an opportunity to defer a performance when they know that it doesn't match their content.

I also think it's important to point out that PPAT is by no means content agnostic. In the development phase we took into consideration you know over 80 content knowledge exams that are offered through the practice program. And we thought through whether or not we needed to have 80 different portfolios based on all those content areas. But I would say even with that 80 someone would be left out. One of the actual performances that we use sometimes for training is a piece from a student who is a career and tech ed student who is actually teaching a class in sports and entertainment management.

So if the questions themselves and the actual portfolio were limited to what we thought were basic constructs in career in tech ed, we may not have included what was seen in that performance. So I think that's an important distinction. And the final piece is that each task within the portfolio requires the candidate to speak to their state and national content standards. So they do have to explain what is going to come through in their instruction, what they're looking for in student learning, even in terms of content. So I just need to clarify that it's very much content embedded and not content agnostic.

Saroja Barnes: Thank you for doing that, I appreciate that.

Online Question: So one question here asking, how are you working with school districts?

Saroja Barnes: How are you working with school districts?

Deborah Poston: Very carefully.

Tyler Wells: Yeah. Well Delaware is unique. We're quite small and so 19 school districts in all. It still does require that type of footwork, that type of connection beyond an email and a phone call. It is a visit to the district, it's a visit with district personnel, it's a direct communication as to what's required, what necessitates a collaborative partnership down to those minute details of memorandums of understanding and things like that. And we're lucky I would suppose to say in the state of Delaware as to the form and nature of the districts and how closely connected the districts are in terms of personnel and meetings and things like that.

So it is a little easier I would say than larger states. However, it's still there, the basic premise is still there. It's making connections, identifying the need, communicating it effectively, and then reaching out and for us as well, since we're nationally accredited through CAEP, it's attaining the on-target levels of collaborative partnerships and not just making placements. It's really working through the process of identifying a high quality cooperating teacher and making sure that that individual knows exactly what the expectations are. Faculty and instructors directly aligned to what the expectations, not just the PPAT but also our own programs, and there are various steps in both, absolutely. So it did help that we're smaller, I will give that, but it still is the same amount of footwork necessary.

Deborah Poston: I must be lucky because we have wonderful mentors in districts that we work with. It is the footwork getting the things ready and establishing the relationship at the district level first, and then as they, we send them what is required. We also send, they will be administering or working with the PPAT, so it's kind of all put out in front, and they're welcomed down and learn with them. And, again, it's very much aligned to what they're doing in their classroom anyway. So it's like I said.

Online Question: So we have another question here online. Are there plans to have the PPAT replace any other tests that candidates are expected to take currently?

Saroja Barnes: You know that's interesting, that question, because that was on my mind. I thought about when we introduced new assessments, back to my sort of resistance particularly among faculty. It's always, oh, I'm adding on another thing. And so I would be interested in your programs if you had to, or remove something. Sort of use this to replace something, or thinking about it as you're getting ready to implement, or not. Maybe you needed this, there was a gap that needed to be filled.

Tyler Wells: I don't think it actually, in our view, it doesn't add anything else. It's they're already doing these things. They should be looking at the contextual background, they should be looking at the demographics of the classroom and the building and engaging in thoughtful process towards designing instruction and so forth. And in terms of instruction, classroom environment and management. These are things that they're naturally doing during student teaching or during their clinical experience. I think what the confusion is and the concern is, is you're absolutely right, I have these set of assessments that are required for program approval maybe at the state level or x, y, and z, and we have data collection points that we need to obtain, and now we have one more thing.

And I will say that in our experience the requirements, the tasks, 1, 2, 3, and 4 that are aligned to PPAT, or a part of PPAT, are aligned to what we were doing anyway naturally in terms of less an observation, formal observation, conferences with mentor teachers and so forth. It was just, all it really comes down to I think is just informing that this is just an alternate step, just one additional step that candidates must need to complete during the work that they would be already doing. And I don't know if that aligns to the same thing that you're.

Deborah Poston: We actually, it took the place of our unit work sample because it is the same. PPAT just goes throughout the semester and it's actually probably a little more rigorous, so it helped us in the long run. And I don't know about it taking the place of another test that would be the only thing. It adds another expense but we felt like it was worth it because it also gives us the reliability of being rated outside of our system, you know, when we know the student, oh, they had a bad day. No, is it good, is it not good, and how can we help them improve?

Cathy Owens-Oliver: States and educator preparation programs have been saying to us that PPAT is a way to capture the performance piece, the application of content knowledge, the application of knowledge and skills around pedagogy and practice. So that being said, they haven't communicated to us that they see it replacing any other content knowledge exams. Because I think no performance assessment with 2 tests, 3 tests, 12 tests will cover any given teacher candidate's entire depth and breadth of content knowledge. So while it does include them showing that in their lessons, states have let us know that they still want to capture whether or not their candidates just know the content knowledge and then use PPAT to determine how they apply that content knowledge.

That being said though, we also have another exam that is used solely to assess pedagogical skills in terms of just basic principles of teaching and learning. There has been some discussion around whether or not states would continue to use that one exam in addition to other content knowledge exams. But all of this remains a state policy decision, and so states will have to determine whether they think any exam is a replication of something else, or whether they fit nicely, like you said Tyler, building upon what we're already expecting candidates to know and be able to do.

Saroja Barnes: Thank you.

Online Question: Great. So one final question here and I know there's some folks online that we didn't get to, I just posted our email, ppat@ets.org, so feel free to send your questions to us and we'll be happy to respond. One final question: what is the predictive value of the PPAT with student achievements/success gain?

Saroja Barnes: Wow, I think that's a hard question to answer right now because in order to get that predictive validity data you need to have candidates who've taken it and gone out, as we know. So I think to answer it we would be, it would be conjecture at this point. But I think there is some value in your perspective given your work with students on PPAT. So if you were going to predict how well they're going to do, right, as they enter the profession having exited your program whether it was through a pilot or not, what do you think?

Tyler Wells: Well maybe I shouldn't answer it because I'm biased in nature. Maybe I; I joke. I look at it this way. For us, uniquely the state of Delaware, we're in a position where through Senate Bill 51 we have to track our candidates upon graduation, at the point of licensure employment. We have to track them for five years after they graduate. And aligning not only teacher evaluation but in PPAT into our curriculum, our point of view, our perspective, is absolutely our candidates will be much more prepared to engage in practice day one. I don't know if I could go as far as to say they're day one ready, which is the key term in our state at the moment.

However, I will say that we're confident though that our candidates are getting more experience in those areas such as assessment, assessment of students, student achievement data, goal setting, things like that, that I think previously we weren't, we were addressing, we just didn't do it well enough to connect to what the expectations are in the public school systems or in the school systems.

Deborah Poston: I agree. We have gone through several changes in our department with becoming more rigorous and applying more things. And the surveys and stuff come back and we know what we need to change or how, and we talk about it and we make those measures. We are having a very successful hire rate since we started using this and doing some other things with assessment, and we feel like it's the, we've upped, or ramped up our program. And I think this is one of the reasons, or one of the ways that we have the PPAT.

Saroja Barnes: That's right. And as folks who work in educator preparation in your state, it is going to take the states to collaborate with the EPPs, the movement, this is where we're going, to be able to collect that data, so we will be able to tie some of these assessments, performance-based included, in the programs to the performance of the students in the classrooms of those teachers, and it will take time to get there. Cathy, did you want to make any comments about; I mean some of your research is around.

Cathy Owens-Oliver: Sure. Yeah, I think that, I mean I agree totally with what you said earlier. One of the good things about the future is that PPAT lends itself to I think really great longitudinal studies down the road about how teacher candidates are being prepared and how they are faring in the classroom. So as you said, right now we don't have that information, but I think we'll be able to gather some really rich data down the road, particularly from each of the different pieces – task 2, task 3, task 4 – individualizing instruction around the two focus students' needs and that kind of thing. And it may really give us a lot of predictive value that we may not have seen yet. We'll just have to wait and see.

Saroja Barnes: That's right, yeah. And that's a great question to ask. I'm glad it was asked. So I want to thank our panelists for being here today and having this conversation with us sharing your experiences. I hope that the participants on the webinar today were able to get more information about PPAT as a result, and that it sparked more questions that will come through and we'll be able to get back to you and answer them. Cathy, thank you as well for joining us. And thank you to our participants on the webinar for asking wonderful questions.

On-screen: [PRAXIS: To learn more about PPAT: Visit www.ets.org/ppa; Email ppat@ets.org]

END OF WEBINAR