Secondary Student Teachers' Perceptions of the Teacher Work Sample: A Survey

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With today's emphasis on accountability and accreditation in teacher preparation programs, student teachers are being asked to complete new exit assessments that demonstrate what their middle and high school students learn from their instruction. We are beginning to learn more about how such assessments may strengthen teacher preparation programs.

The teacher work sample is one of several of these exit assessments being implemented in teacher preparation programs in the U.S.. It has gained attention because it is a standards-based, authentic assessment that reflects the complexity of teaching as well as the importance of knowing and meeting each student’s needs. In the teacher work sample student teachers select one class of middle or high school students during their student teaching assignment and study what their students learn over the course of a three-week unit that student teachers plan, implement, and assess. They complete a narrative, report data, analyze student learning, and finally draw conclusions about steps they can take to improve their teaching.

Teacher educators use data describing their impact on student learning from student teachers' completed teacher work samples as evidence of the quality of their programs for national accreditation. Yet, many teacher educators are more interested in determining whether having student teachers complete the teacher work sample does more than provide these one-time data. Is it possible that the teacher work sample may, in fact, add value to the student teaching semester and the teacher preparation program overall by preparing student teachers with the toolkit necessary to engage in lifelong teacher renewal?

This study explores that question and focuses on two years of data on secondary student teachers' perceptions at one university that implemented the Teacher Work Sample in 2006. Findings suggest student teachers do experience important new learning that may lead to lifelong teacher renewal as they complete the teacher work sample. On the downside, however, findings also convey student teachers' dissatisfaction that can derail the teacher work sample process.

Results may be of interest to scholars and educators engaged in research about or implementation of teacher work sample methodology. This presentation will describe how, internally, attention to student teacher perceptions has helped one university to improve its teacher work sample process. All in all, the survey data suggest teacher education programs can become more effective if they implement Teacher Work Samples as exit assessments during student teaching, provided that they analyze student teachers’ feedback and modify the scope and process of the teacher work sample accordingly.


Keywords: Teacher Renewal, Teacher Education Assessment, Student Teaching Assessment, Teacher Work Sample, Student Teaching Semester
Stream: Curriculum and Pedagogy; Student Learning, Learner Experiences, Learner Diversity
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , Secondary Student Teachers’ Perceptions of the Teacher Work Sample


Dr. Marilyn Jean Taylor

Assistant Professor, Institute for Teacher Education
College of Education, University of Hawaii at Manoa

Honolulu, Hawaii, USA

Marilyn Taylor has her doctorate from University of Denver, with emphasis in curriculum and instruction. She has worked in secondary education and teacher education for more than thirty years, with positions in middle and high school as language arts teacher, in central office administration as curriculum director, in higher education as professor, accreditation coordinator, grant principal investigator, and dean of education. Her lifelong passion is to contribute to greater equity in schools and she participated actively in the National Coalition for Equity in Education. She has published and co-published on the topics multicultural teacher education, equity in education, gender issues in schools, multicultural language arts curriculum, and school-university partnerships. New interests include case study research and assessment in teacher education.

Ref: L08P0385