Commission on Teacher Credentialing makes progress on key initiatives

A packed agenda at the Oct. 12–14 California Commission on Teacher Credentialing meeting saw the adoption of two milestone markers on the road to replacing the Reading Instruction Competence Assessment (RICA) and establishing a new credential for PK-3 teachers. The meeting also saw approval of the first annual report to the Legislature on teacher misassignments as well as determination of cut scores for revised assessments.

Literacy Teaching Performance Expectations and standards

At the August meeting, commissioners took part in a lengthy discussion about the development of draft Literacy Program Standards and Teacher Performance Expectations (TPEs) for Multiple Subject, Single Subject (MS/SS), Education –Specialist (Mild to Moderate Support Needs and Extensive Support Needs) and the proposed PK-3 Early Childhood Education Specialist Instruction credentials — pursuant to Senate Bill 488. Since the August meeting, CTC staff conducted further field reviews and addressed many comments related to dyslexia and multilingual learner students.

SB 488 will eliminate the RICA and instead require preparation programs to incorporate evidence-based means of teaching foundational literacy skills (like print concepts, phonological awareness, phonics and fluency); tiered supports; ongoing diagnostic techniques and early intervention; alignment with the State Board of Education’s English Language Arts/English Language Development (ELA/ELD) Framework; the incorporation of the California Dyslexia Guidelines and more.

Commissioners praised staff for reviewing and bringing together thousands of pages of guidance. “It has been synthesized and distilled into this beautiful tapestry that is presented to us today,” said Commissioner Danette Brown. “As a reading specialist, this document reflects the work I’m doing every single day — and that’s exciting.”

The Literacy Program Standards and TPEs were adopted by the commission. Included in the adoption is that all commission-approved MS/SS and Education Specialist credentials should transition to the new literacy standards by July 1, 2024; all new PK-3 ECE credentials to be approved beginning in 2023 must demonstrate alignment to the new literacy standards and TPEs; and all new MS/SS or Education Specialist programs must demonstrate alignment to the new literacy standards and TPEs.  The commission is also directing staff to continue the development of program standards and TPEs for the Preliminary Education Specialist: Early Childhood Special Education, Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing, and Visual Impairment credentials.

Next steps include beginning work on designing the Literacy Performance Assessment and disseminating information and technical assistance to preparation programs about meeting updated standards and TPEs. By July 2025, the performance assessment should be operational.

PK-3 Early Childhood Education Specialist Instruction Credential

Another item years in the making, the preparation program preconditions, program standards and TPEs for the PK-3 ECE Specialist Instruction Credential were adopted. These elements will create new sections 80067.1, 80067.2, and 80067.3 respectively of Title 5 of the California Code of Regulations. This work is responsive both to the direction provided by the state’s Master Plan for Early Learning and Care and to the need for additional ECE teachers to support the statewide universal transitional kindergarten implementation.

The proposed new PK-3 ECE Specialist Credential is specifically designed and purposefully intended to meet this new demand. This new credentialing structure is intended to help meet the unprecedented need for qualified ECE teachers representing a diverse workforce that reflects the children and families/guardians they serve in PK-grade 3. This new credential will provide accelerated pathways for current Multiple Subject Credential as well as Child Development Teacher Permit (CDP) holders with a bachelor’s degree to earn the credential and begin serving as quickly as possible in PK/TK settings.

Teacher misassignments

Staff presented the first annual teacher assignment monitoring report, as directed by Assembly Bill 1219, to the commission. Previous to the enactment of that legislation, teacher assignment monitoring occurred in a four-year cycle, with results being reported at the end of that cycle. AB 1219 implemented an annual assignment monitoring requirement and charged the CTC with the creation and implementation of an assignment monitoring system. With the passage of AB 1219, all California’s public local educational agencies must conduct educator assignment monitoring on an annual basis through the California Statewide Assignment Accountability System (CalSAAS).

In total, there were 30,958 misassignments identified during the 2020–21 monitoring cycle. Almost half of these represent assignments where an educator was placed in a position they were not authorized for and are noted solely as “Misassigned.” However, 18 percent, or 5,650, were noted as “Corrected MA,” which are assignments that were identified as misassignments by an LEA and were ultimately corrected prior to the commencement of monitoring.

The majority of misassignments were found at high schools (14,923), followed by middle schools (6,138) and elementary schools (5,136). More than half of the state’s misassignments are found in general education classrooms (about 17,000), and almost one-fifth are found in English language development settings (5,560). Career technical education and special education settings are closer to 10 percent (3,873 and 3,236 misassignments respectively).

The system is interactive, giving LEAs an opportunity to flag and explain miscategorized misassignments, which 97 percent of LEAs did.

While misassignment numbers can seem high, commissioner and CSBA President Dr. Susan Heredia hoped that the data would be useful in garnering more support from the Legislature and looking at teacher preparation and recruitment practices.

“We have the data and I think it’s the leverage that we need in order to go to the Legislature and say, here is the situation, here’s the data, here’s our evidence,” Heredia said. “But I also think there’s such an urgency, because when you look at the groups of students where there are misassignments, these are the very students that we’re trying to uplift. These are the students that we keep saying we’re working to make sure that there’s access, that there’s equity — and we’ve got to make sure that they have access to well-prepared teachers. Our efforts to lift these students up can potentially be diminished without the people with the right credentials in front of them.”

The commission passed the motion to submit the report to the Legislature, as required by law.

CDE staff will be holding office hours on Thursdays at 9 a.m. to answer questions about the new Teacher Assignment Monitoring Outcomes data and report.

In other commission news:

  • In commission news, CTC Executive Director Mary Vixie Sandy won a prestigious education award, the 2022 James A. Kelly Award for Advancing Accomplished Teaching. Previous recipients include former presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama and California State Board of Education President Linda Darling-Hammond. Chair Tine Sloan announced she would be stepping down from the commission following the December meeting.
  • The Division of Professional Practices (DPP) presented its annual report monitoring the moral fitness and professional conduct of credential applicants and holders. The commission has authority to discipline an applicant or holder for fitness-related misconduct. In FY 2021–22 DPP opened 4,994 cases or an average of 416 cases per month, which meets the normal range of 400–500 cases opened per month. In comparison to the previous four fiscal years, DPP opened an average of 4,942 cases per fiscal year or an average of 412 cases per month.
  • Cut scores for the revised California Subject Examinations for Teachers, Multiple Subjects, Subtest III (CSET: MS, Subtest III) were adopted. After a lengthy discussion on the small sample size of the test group, a standard error of measurement (SEM) of -2 was adopted, with direction for staff to return in a year’s time to update the commission and re-evaluate the SEM.
  • The commission adopted passing standards for the Education Specialist edTPA Performance Assessment.

The CTC will meet next in December.