General academic knowledge is currently exemplified through academic transcripts (e.g., grades) or basic academic skills examinations. The mean Grade Point Average (GPA) at the point of graduation is commonly used as a measure of general academic performance. Most states also mandate general knowledge examinations in areas such as reading, writing, and mathematics such as Praxis, National Evaluation Series (NES) or a state-developed exam. These types of tests have been in use for the longest and remain the dominant form of teacher testing (Gitomer & Zisk, 2015). The rationale for using such tests rests on the argument that these types of knowledge are a logical minimum competency prerequisite for competent teaching (Gitomer & Zisk, 2015). Research seeking a relationship between scores on these tests and student outcomes has been inconsistent and has only found modest correlations (National Research Council, 2001).
Measures of teaching
practice and dispositions
Surveys are a commonly used tool to measure teaching quality and can serve as a source of data for CAEP accreditation. Surveys may be completed by the teacher, supervisor, or P-12 students. Surveys are relatively quick and easy to administer; however, this self-report data must always be contextualized. For example, teachers may perceive themselves to be highly effective, and additional measures such as observation and supervisor or student ratings can confirm that these perceptions are valid. Conversely, first-year teachers may be comparing their effectiveness against veterans or other standards and perceive themselves to be ineffective, while the supervisor may feel they are demonstrating highly effective teaching for a beginning educator.
Observations require a peer, supervisor (e.g., principal or mentor), or teacher educator to visit a teacher's classroom to make judgements about the quality of teaching practice. In some cases, these observations are guided by rubrics, rating scales, or checklists, which can strongly influence the features of teaching that contribute to the description of quality. Observation measures can be an authentic way to look at teaching since they are actually situated in a teacher’s context. However, observations can be problematic when the rubric, rating scale, or checklist focuses on superficial rather than core aspects of teaching, or if the observer is unfamiliar with key aspects of the classroom.
Performance assessments, such as edTPA, can be used to provide a more complex view of teaching practice than surveys or observations. Standardized rubrics and efforts to attend to each teaching context have the advantage of capturing instances of teaching practice in common ways for multiple teacher candidates. However, producing the range of evidence necessary for completing these performance assessments is time-intensive for teachers. Additionally, because the assessment only captures a single instance of practice, it may miss some aspects of the
day-to-day work of teaching.