Panel Paper: From the Clinical Experience to the Classroom: Assessing the Predictive Validity of the Massachusetts Candidate Assessment of Performance

Thursday, November 7, 2019
Plaza Building: Concourse Level, Governor's Square 17 (Sheraton Denver Downtown)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Bingjie Chen1, James Cowan1, Dan Goldhaber2 and Roddy Theobald1, (1)American Institutes for Research, (2)University of Washington

Background: One of the most pressing questions facing state education systems is how to ensure that prospective teachers have adequate teaching competence before they have classroom responsibilities of their own. While nearly every state in the country requires candidates to pass licensure tests of their basic skills and/or subject-specific knowledge as a requirement for licensure, states are increasingly adopting additional assessments of candidate teaching skills. In Massachusetts, for example, the state has developed the Candidate Assessment of Performance (CAP), a practice-based assessment of teaching skills akin to the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) assessments. The CAP is typically taken during a candidate’s preservice student teaching placement and requires teachers to demonstrate evidence of effective classroom practice. Passing the CAP became a requirement for teacher preparation program completion in Massachusetts in the 2016-17 school year.

The CAP is an example of an authentic or portfolio-based assessment that, like the widely-adopted edTPA and NBPTS assessments, is intended to measure more accurately the authentic skills important for classroom teaching than traditional licensure tests. In theory, candidate scores on the CAP will allow the state to provide nuanced and timely feedback about the specific skills and competencies of individual candidates to the candidates themselves and their teacher preparation programs to drive candidate professional development and teacher preparation program improvement. But for the CAP to function as conceived, the information that candidates, programs, and the state receive from the CAP should be predictive of how candidates will perform once they enter the state’s teaching workforce.

Purpose: In this paper we describe research testing the ability of CAP performance to predict future teacher performance on summative district evaluations. This study builds on prior work on the predictive validity of other preservice requirements, but is among the first studies to evaluate the predictive validity of a state-development preservice performance assessment or consider teacher performance evaluations as an inservice outcome. Massachusetts provides an ideal setting for this study given that the alignment of the CAP with the state’s Professional Standards for Teaching is explicitly intended to prepare teacher candidates for the evaluation process and teaching standards they will experience as educators in Massachusetts.

Findings: We find that candidates’ performance on the CAP is highly predictive of their inservice performance evaluations the following year. This is true both of the summative CAP scores that are used to determine employment eligibility and, to a somewhat greater extent, of the formative CAP scores that are used to provide feedback to candidates and programs during a candidate’s student teaching placement. These relationships hold whether comparisons are made within or across teacher preparation providers, when the sample is limited to candidates with no prior teaching experience, and when models control for teachers’ classroom characteristics or candidate scores on the state’s other traditional licensure tests.

Significance: The study’s findings provide strong evidence that, as intended, the CAP is a signal of candidates’ teaching skills as reflected in their performance under the state’s educator evaluation system once they enter the state’s teaching workforce.