As part of its continuing efforts to provide California and the nation with teachers fully prepared for the educational challenges of the 21st century, the Gevirtz Graduate School of Education at UC Santa Barbara hosted the first Performance Assessment for California Teachers (PACT) Implementation Conference on May 4. This conference, which brought together representatives from teacher programs from all UC campuses, Stanford University, the University of Southern California, and several California State Universities, discussed the development of PACT assessments that are intended to improve teacher education program quality, measure and promote equitable instructional practices, and strengthen teaching and student performance. Tine Sloan, Acting Director of the Teacher Education Program at the Gevirtz School, says, “UCSB and others have been heavily involved in developing and piloting PACT for several years. This conference allowed constituents to share strategies and outcomes related to its implementation. I am hearing that not only were the sessions valuable to members of institutions who are new to PACT, but to those who are ready to take next steps in using PACT data for program improvement.”
PACT was developed by a consortium of UCs, Stanford, and Mills College in response to SB 2042, which called for new credential requirements for California teachers. Currently in pilot testing and review, if PACT is implemented it will be a required benchmark for teacher credentialing. The creators of PACT designed a system centered on a Teaching Event, for which candidates plan a series of integrated lessons, videotape their instruction, analyze student work, and reflect on their teaching. The 60 attendees of the conference took part in workshops and roundtable discussions that included sessions entitled “Linking Coursework and the Teaching Event,” “How the Teaching Event Has Changed Teaching and Assessment in Coursework,” and “Implementing PACT: What Matters for Beginning Teachers’ Learning and Performance.”
Ruth Chung, a conference participant from Stanford University who wrote a dissertation examining PACT, discussed how the Teaching Events were particularly useful in helping student teachers link theory to practice. She said, “It gives candidates an opportunity to go through an entire teaching cycle in an authentic way – otherwise their classroom experiences often come in pieces. It also provides them with a chance to perform guided reflection on their teaching.” Chung and those in her session agreed that PACT could be not only an evaluative tool but also a powerful way to prepare candidates to be even better teachers.
[For photos of the conference contact George Yatchisin at 805 893 5789.]