Western Kentucky University

Renaissance Teacher Work Samples Consortium

TWS at California State University, Fresno

    • Our use of Teacher Work Samples (TWS’s) in teacher preparation programs

      The TWS has been revised to reflect California’s Teacher Performance Expectations. Revised and re-named the Teaching Sample Project, it has become the cornerstone of the Fresno Assessment of Student Teachers (FAST), the only independently designed teacher performance assessment system to receive approval by the California Commission for Teacher Credentialing. The Teaching Sample Project is one of four assessment tools in FAST and is embedded into final student teaching in both the Multiple Subject and Single Subject Credential Programs.

    • How long CSU has been using TWS’s

      Fresno State was one of the eleven Renaissance institutions that developed and piloted the TWS beginning in 1998. Beginning with one cohort in the Multiple Subject Credential Program, the TWS has been piloted by ever-increasing credential cohort groups since its conception. Beginning July 1, 2009, it is required of all Fresno State students seeking a Multiple Subject or Single Subject California Preliminary Credential as part of a state-mandated teacher candidate assessment system. It is one of four performance assessments administered through student teaching over the course of students’ pre-service training.

    • How the TWS used at CSU compares to the RTWS

      We have maintained the original seven sections that reflect the professional standards. We have, however, revised the content (and/or wording) of six sections to reflect the California Teacher Performance Expectations (TPE’s) for which we are responsible. We have revised the directions to be much more specific and directive to teacher candidates and have extended the rubric to represent four qualitative levels of performance. Relative to specific sections, we have added a classroom management plan to “Students in Context.” To “Learning Outcomes” we have added a content analysis and re-titled that section to reflect the addition. The “Assessment of Student Learning” now mandates an in depth description of the pre-, post-, and formative assessments of just one learning goal and a description of adaptations for English learners and special needs students. “Design for Instruction” still includes a description of three lessons in the unit, but also requires students to address how the lessons are appropriate for English learners. “Instructional Decision Making” remained the same as the original TWS. “Analysis of Student Learning” requires the analysis of the performance of the whole group for the one goal and must report the percentage of students who met the criteria and the percentage of students who showed progress toward the goal. An item analysis is also required as students describe what students learned and how much. Students must analyze the performance of EL students and either gifted/talented students or students with IEPs in the same way as they analyzed whole group performance. Lastly, the “Reflection and Self-Evaluation” section requires students to not only reflect on the effectiveness of their instruction, but also on the influence of their own subject matter knowledge and personal biases on student learning.

    • How TWS is used as an evaluation tool

      Each of the seven TWS sections evaluates one or more California Teacher Performance Expectation. Each section is scored on a four-point rubric where a score of “1” is not passing while scores of 2, 3, or 4 represent qualitatively different levels of competency relative to the TPEs evaluated by that section. Students must pass each of the seven sections of the TWS with a score of “2” or better in order to be recommended to the Commission for a preliminary teaching credential. Students who fail to score at a competent level on any section may re-do that section to prove mastery.

    • How CSU achieves scoring reliability in judging performance on TWS’s

      Teaching Sample Projects are scored by trained and calibrated evaluators from the ranks of university faculty, administrators, and supervisors, and induction program directors from local school districts. As part of a two-year accountability cycle, 15% of the projects are double-scored. In addition to an analysis of inter-rater reliability, scores are analyzed for fairness based on race, gender, and self-reported English language proficiency.

    • How TWS’s have impacted teacher preparation programs at CSU

      Our success with the TWS was the impetus for developing our own teacher performance assessment system. We found that with thoughtful revision the Sample could evaluate California’s Teacher Performance Expectations while still maintaining the integrity of the original. It became the cornerstone of our evaluation system, the Fresno Assessment of Student Teachers (FAST). Our system is the only independent system approved by the California Commission for Teacher Credentialing.

The Teaching Sample Project (TWS) drives curriculum in teacher preparation. Syllabi have been adjusted to assure inclusion of the elements of the Project. Faculty and supervisors have attended workshops to find common understanding of Project components. For example, what are appropriate assessment adaptations for English learners? Data generated by the Teaching Sample Project has been analyzed, triangulated, and used to design program improvement efforts at the college, program, and course-alike levels. For example, a series of faculty seminars focused on English learners and students with special needs.

  • Contact Person

    Susan R. Macy, Assessment Coordinator smacy@csufresno.edu and Jeanie Behrend, primary trainer, TWS jeanb@csufresno.edu, Kremen School of Education and Human Development, California State University, Fresno.


The Fresno Assessment of Student Teachers (FAST) is a state-approved Teacher Performance Assessment (TPA) system designed for use at California State University, Fresno. FAST assesses the pedagogical competence of teacher candidates, including interns, with respect to the 13 Teaching Performance Expectations (TPEs).

The Renaissance Teacher Work Sample (TWS), developed through a Title II U.S. Department of Education grant in which Fresno State participated, is the cornerstone of the system. The TWS has been modified to align with the TPEs and is now referred to as the Teaching Sample Project.

FAST consists of four projects. Single Subject and Multiple Subject candidates complete the Comprehensive Lesson Plan Project and the Site Visitation Project during their initial student teaching placements. Candidates and interns complete the Teaching Sample Project and the Holistic Proficiency Project during final student teaching (including internship).

Each assessment evaluates multiple TPEs using a task-specific rubric. Each TPE is evaluated at least twice. Scores are reported to the candidate by TPE. This disaggregated reporting provides useful feedback to candidates, to induction programs, and to university personnel.


The FAST consists of the following four tasks:

  • Comprehensive Lesson Plan Project: This task assesses the candidate’s ability to analyze a lesson plan designed for all students in a classroom with a significant number of English learners. (TPEs 1 (Multiple Subject), 6, 7, 8, 9)
  • Site Visitation Project: This task assesses the candidate’s ability to plan and implement instruction. (TPEs 1 (Multiple Subject), 2, 4, 5, 11, 13)
  • Holistic Proficiency Project:This task assesses the candidate’s ability to perform, document, and reflect upon teaching responsibilities over an entire semester. (TPEs 1, 3, 5, 6, 10, 12)


  • Teaching Sample Project: This task assesses the candidate’s ability to plan, teach and reflect on a one- to four-week unit, to assess student learning related to the unit, and to document their teaching and their students’ learning. (TPEs 1, 2, 3, 4, 7, 8, 9, 10, 12, 13)

For more information on FAST, contact Dr. Susan Macy at smacy@csufresno.edu

 Last Modified 7/23/13