Innovative educator assessment policy for a rigorous and equitable credentialing system
Washington maintains an educator assessment system to ensure students learn from highly effective educators. While the assessment system has helped set high standards for beginning teachers, there has been growing concern about using assessments as a singular measure for candidates’ knowledge and performance.
Almost two decades after the implementation of the statewide assessment system, it is clear that current assessment requirements have become a gatekeeper into the educator profession, and limit the opportunities for candidates to demonstrate their strengths and unique cultural assets. As a result, PESB has prioritized investing in and creating a range of initiatives to innovate the current assessment system.
Our state cannot afford to lose potential teachers who could bring a range of strengths and skills to the classroom, but are unable to become certified as a result of a one-size-fits-all assessment policy. While assessments are an important step in the preparation of educators, a one-size-fits-all policy acts as a gatekeeper, especially for bilingual candidates and candidates of color.
Educator assessment system workgroup
PESB convened an educator assessment system (EAS) workgroup in 2019 to develop recommendations to create a culturally responsive and coherent assessment system ensuring a properly credentialed and diverse teaching workforce. The workgroup reviewed data on testing trends and feedback for both content knowledge and performance assessments. In their recommendations, the workgroup expressed the need for a system that acknowledges candidate differences and maintains high-standards for beginning teachers. Rather than using a singular measure, the workgroup recommends creating a more holistic, community approach that assesses the skills and attributes of a good teacher using multiple measures of evidence. Their recommendations, along with PESB’s response, are found in this report.