Examining the Extremes: High and Low Performance on a Teaching Performance Assessment for Licensure

Spring 2015

Source: Teacher Education Quarterly, Vol. 42, No. 2, Spring 2015

(Reviewed by the Portal Team)

This study examines the correlation between supervisors' predictions and students' performance grades.
Specifically, the study addresses to the following questions:
(a) Do academic background factors correspond with high or low performance on the Performance Assessmnet for California Teachers (PACT)?
(b) In what specific areas on the PACT do high- and low-performing candidates excel and fail?
(c) To what extent do university supervisors accurately predict high and low performance on the PACT?
To what extent do candidates whom university supervisors predict will fail the PACT end up passing?

The authors used a subset of candidates from an earlier study, which included 337 candidates enrolled in a California public university’s teacher education program over a 2-year period (Sandholtz & Shea, 2012).
The subset includes candidates whose performance or predicted performance on the PACT placed them at the high or low end of the continuum of the larger group of candidates.
Before candidates’ performance assessments were scored, university supervisors predicted each of their advisees’ performance on the the Performance Assessmnet for California Teachers (PACT).
The supervisors’ role was to provide support and guidance for student teachers in their designated classrooms.

Data were collected through candidates’ records and included
(a) demographic and student teaching placement information,
(b) student transcripts,
(c) predicted scores for the PACT teaching event, and
(d) actual scores on the PACT teaching event.

The authors found a correlation between the high- and low-performing candidates’ grades in university course work and their scores on the performance assessment.
It was found that students who receive high grades in university courses likely possess strong literacy skills and analytical abilities.
These skills likely help teacher candidates in analyzing their teaching, communicating their reasoning in a written form, and providing evidence for their claims.

The authors also found an association for high and low performers between grades in methods courses in the credential program and scores on the PACT. This association may indicate a similarity between course assignments and elements of the performance assessment.

Supervisors' assessment predict whether candidates will qualify for a teaching credential.
However, the authors found differences between supervisor predictions and actual scores on the performance assessment.
The results reveal that the majority of candidates whose supervisors predicted failure did not fail, and the majority of candidates who did fail had been predicted to pass.
The authors argue that these findings suggest that identifying teacher candidates who are particularly effective or ineffective as classroom teachers is not as straightforward as they anticipated.

The authors conclude that the association between candidates’ grades in methods courses and their scores on the PACT, combined with the lack of association between candidates’ predicted and actual scores, suggests that the academic requirements of the assessment may be as important as the teaching segments.

The purpose of teaching performance assessments is to identify candidates who are not adequately qualified and prepared to be licensed teachers.
However, when candidates whom university supervisors predict will fail a summative performance assessment end up passing, the authors wonder what concerns about candidates’ qualifications are not being identified in the assessment.
In contrast, when candidates whom supervisors predict will pass the assessment end up failing, the authors wonder what weaknesses the assessment is capturing that the supervisors are not identifying.
Hence, the authors suggest using multiple measures to make summative judgments about teacher candidates, since that different measures may identify different candidates as lacking the necessary qualifications to be credentialed teachers.


Sandholtz, J. H., & Shea, L. (2012). Predicting performance: A comparison of university supervisors’ predictions and teacher candidates’ scores on a teaching performance assessment. Journal of Teacher Education, 63(1), 39-50.

Updated: Feb. 06, 2018