Commission on Teacher Credentialing makes move to improve teacher assessment experience

Action items at the Dec. 7-8 meeting of the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC) included options to improve teaching performance assessments and a request to adjust the accreditation cycle for the new literacy instruction requirement. The meeting also featured several end-of-the-year reports including the accreditation of new programs, a report card for current teacher preparation programs, the 2021 Classified School Employee Teacher Credentialing Program, and cohort four of the 2018 Teacher Residency Grant Program.

Improving teaching assessments

Following California’s continuous improvement model, the CTC engages in ongoing research to study teaching performance assessments (TPAs) to build validity and ensure reliable scoring. In response to reports from the field that TPAs are barring otherwise qualified candidates from being recommended for a credential, commission staff recommended adoption of a secondary passing standard for the CalTPA and edTPA models. The secondary passing standard would allow program sponsors to recommend candidates for a preliminary credential who score within -1 Standard Error of Measurement (SEM) if the program sponsor has evidence from additional measures that the candidate has demonstrated competency in the seven teaching performance expectation (TPE) domains.

If a preparation program determines, based on the multiple measures of candidate performance it has collected, that a candidate who scored within one SEM should be recommended for a preliminary credential, then the program would document the measures used to determine that the candidate has demonstrated proficiency in each of the seven TPE domains and is therefore classroom ready. The teacher preparation program must commit to work with the candidate to develop an individual development plan to inform areas for continued support during induction.

Public comment from the California Teachers Association, California Federation of Teachers, California Faculty Association and other teacher-centered organizations supported the proposal, with some sharing anecdotes about the lack of embedding of the TPAs and the experiences of stressed candidates who say the assessments have affected their mental health negatively and act as a barrier to the teaching profession. Many of the organizations called for the elimination of TPAs.

Other callers, many of them reading advocates, opposed the proposal and said it was lowering standards before they even have a chance to be measured. Senate Bill 488 requires all teaching programs to align their TPEs to the new Literacy Standards and their corresponding TPEs prior to taking the new literacy performance assessment beginning on July 1, 2025.

Commissioners discussed how the requirement might be applied retroactively, who would be qualified to decide what alternative measures were applied and what those standards would be, and the value of TPAs as well as their fairness to candidates.

Commissioner Danette Brown related the change to others the commission has put in place in recent years. “I see this as potentially bringing it into alignment with what we have done with other assessments in that it doesn’t to me seem like lowering standards; it seems like allowing flexible means to satisfy the requirement,” she said. “For example, we have different ways you can show basic skills competence now. Some are assessment-based and some are course-based or you can mix and match. There are multiple ways to demonstrate that you have met the standard, and I see this item as bringing this particular assessment into alignment with that philosophy that there are many ways that we can demonstrate candidate proficiency.”

The commission voted to adopt the -1 SEM passing standard for candidates enrolled in approved preparation programs moving forward, with the expectation that the program will provide further evidence of teacher readiness. CTC commissioners gave the staff direction to form a workgroup that would look at issues discussed at the meeting, including making the new passing standard retroactive to candidates since 2018.

New literacy certification

To fulfill the requirements of SB 488, teacher preparation programs must ensure alignment with the state’s new Literacy Standards and their corresponding TPEs, as mentioned above. The certification process is also an important step in ensuring quality reading and literacy instruction in teacher preparation, according to a staff presentation, and conducting a quality review to certify 236 programs with literacy instruction will be intensive, especially on top of regular accreditation activities, and will require workload adjustments for staff. Staff asked the commission to approve a delay of one year for all accreditation activities except programs in the current program and common standards review.

The commission approved the adjustment with direction to staff to explore avenues for programs that currently would like to stay on track with the original schedule.

Annual reports

Several annual reports were presented to the CTC, including the first year of data for the California Classified School Employee Teacher Credentialing Program. The 2021–22 state budget appropriated $125 million in one-time funds, available through June 30, 2026, to expand the existing grant program. The report showed a struggle to find candidates in some areas, which was of concern to the commission. Staff cautioned this was just the first year of data, and they expected larger numbers as the program gains momentum.


  • Local educational agencies supported 2,063 participants, of whommore than 72 percent made sufficient annual progress, as defined by the LEA, towards earning their degree or preliminary teaching credential.
  • 51 participants completed the program and earned a preliminary credential representing 2.5 percent of total enrollees. The majority of completers earned a credential in special education with about 55 percent followed by multiple subject holders at 28 percent.
  • Nearly 65 percent of completers were offered a position to stay and teach with their LEA and about 53 percent of the total completers committed to teaching with the LEA.
  • , All of the 27 completers committed to teaching at their LEA are teaching in a locally defined teacher shortage area.
  • Overall, close to 90 percent of participants reported their ethnicity/race, and 64 percent of participants belonged to an underrepresented group. The largest group of participants are Hispanic or Latinx at 43 percent.

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