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Teacher Performance Assessment

Discipline-Specific Terms for Teacher Candidates

All PreK-12 teacher candidates are expected to recognize and use the following concepts fluently in their reflections  collected by the Teaching Performance Assessment (TPA) during student teaching. Each Professional Education Program course introduces and reinforces the use of this ‘language of the profession’.

Academic language
The instructional language needed to participate in learning and assessment tasks.  It includes key vocabulary or phrases for the concepts being taught and the linguistic features that enable students to understand or produce the oral and/or written texts in the learning segment.
Means to “break apart” and examine the pieces, trends, or patterns.  Analysis depends on the interpretations the candidate makes of experience and examines why the elements or events of that experience are the way they are.  Analysis must include an interpretation of the evidence submitted and conclusions based on evidence.  It shows the scorer the thought processes the candidate used to arrive at the conclusions made about the learning segment.  Analysis is called for when a prompt uses words such as how, why, or in what way(s). 
Evidence teachers or students collect of students’ knowledge, thinking, or learning in order to evaluate what students understand at a given point in time, for the purpose of promoting student learning.  Informal assessments include student questions and responses and self-monitoring during instruction as well as teacher observations of students as they work.  Formal assessments may include, but are not limited to rubrics, quizzes, homework assignments, lab reports, papers, journals, and projects.
Curriculum Content
The student learning that is expected to occur, including various areas of knowledge, e.g., fact, concepts, procedures, methods of inquiry and making judgments, as well as behavior and values.
Learning Objectives
The student learning outcomes achieved by the end of the lesson.
Learning Targets
Learning Targets define academic success, “what we want students to know and be able to do.”  (Stiggins, 2001)  They are generally written in student-friendly language so the learner can articulate and demonstrate understanding
Lesson Plan.
A plan for student learning.  Learning segments may include several lesson plans in order to address several related objectives.
Meta-cognitive retrospection conducted by the candidate on one’s own experience and knowledge.  Tells what the candidate infers from the analysis of impact on student learning through planning, instruction, and assessment.
A strategy of instructional support to allow students to do a task that they cannot yet do independently.  As with scaffolding for buildings under construction, the support provides temporary assistance to students and is removed or gradually reduced as students learn to do the task by themselves.
Student Academic Content Standards
A set of knowledge, skills, and abilities intended for students to learn by the end of a particular grade, grade level, or course. Student academic content standards are usually published by the state department of education to guide curriculum and instruction in public schools.
Student-Based Evidence
Show the student’s clear and detailed understanding of their own progress towards the learning target.  Student-based evidence includes “Student Voice” and student work.
Student Voice.
Feedback from students regarding their own learning, including the student’s analysis of the content, as well as reflection on and articulation of the learning process.  Student voice may also be accompanied by student work; however, student voice is the metacognitive process—not the work.