TWS at Western Washington University
Our use of Teacher Work Samples (TWS’s) in teacher preparation programs
We are using the TWS as a capstone program assessment in the Elementary Education Department (ELED). The ELED TWS is completed during the second quarter of a three quarter internship.
How long WWU has been using TWS’s
Since Fall 2007
How the TWS used at WWU compares to the RTWS
I have sent a copy of our current handbook. We have used many of the RTWS materials, but adapted them for our own context.
How TWS is used as an evaluation tool
Our rubrics for evaluation are included in the handbook. The TWS is supported and evaluated within an ELED courses taken by candidates during the second quarter of their three-quarter internship. In order to proceed into the full-time third quarter, interns must demonstrate a defined minimum level of competency, as measured by the TWS rubrics.
Data from the rubric scoresheets is input into the college’s assessment database. The data are analyzed and used for program evaluation and improvement.
How WWU achieves scoring reliability in judging performance on TWS’s
We have not yet adequately determined the reliability of our TWS, but are currently engaged in an effort to do so. We recently formed a TWS reliability study group, composed of two of the three instructors who are typically involved in evaluating TWS, along with four teachers from a local school district. Our intention is to follow up on the reliability study session held during June 2009, with further comparative TWS evaluations and analysis aimed at first determining the reliability of our evaluation, and then improving it.
How TWS’s have impacted teacher preparation programs at WWU
It is first of all, a powerful learning experience for our teacher candidates, and a way for our program to ensure that they meet essential teaching competencies. We are also analyzing and using TWS data for program improvement. A number of courses were modified when TWS data indicated a pattern of weakness in particular teaching skills among our interns. We are also backing TWS rubrics into earlier program coursework so that our candidates become familiar with those descriptors and so that we are able to gather longitudinal data on candidates’ development (or lack thereof).
Another impact is related to the state of Washington’s new emphasis on collecting P-12 student-based evidence of learning as a requirement for teacher licensure. We have found that the TWS is an excellent vehicle for gathering evidence of the impact of our interns on student learning. In 2008, the Elementary Education Department was chosen by Washington’s Professional Educators Standards Board (PESB) for a pilot program grant to identify strategies for supporting teaching candidates in gathering and analyzing student-based evidence of learning. As part of our work on that grant, we developed a student-based evidence rubric that has been incorporated into our TWS handbook and we rewrote some of our TWS task statements to ensure that interns include individual student work samples in their TWS and engage in detailed analysis of those artifacts.
The key contact for information on WWU’s TWS is Joanne Carney, firstname.lastname@example.org