TWS at Western Kentucky University
Our use of Teacher Work Samples (TWS’s) in teacher preparation programs
Teacher work samples at WKU are tools for instruction and performance assessment. All teacher candidates are required to produce a work sample exhibit of their efforts to complete seven teaching tasks. Prior to their student teaching experience, instruction is provided in courses related to each of the tasks and mini-work samples are produced as requirements of courses.
How long WKU has been using TWS’s
WKU was one of the first of the Renaissance partner institutions to pilot TWS’s in 2001 and beginning fall of 2003, it became a requirement to produce a TWS that met high standards measured by rubrics for each teaching task.
How the TWS used at WKU compares to the RTWS
The TWS instrument is essentially the same as the 2002 RTWS prompt and rubric. WKU also requires candidates to complete teaching tasks in collaboration with parents and other professionals, managing their own professional development, leadership, and classroom teacher/student interaction during instruction.
How TWS is used as an evaluation tool
TWS’s are one component of the total evaluation package as described above. However, it is a very important component because pre- post- assessment data is used as evidence teacher graduates can produce learning with the students they teach.
How WKU achieves scoring reliability in judging performance on TWS’s
Once each year, about 30 school practitioners who work with student teachers, are brought to WKU’s campus for retraining along with teacher education faculty. TWS’s from the previous semester are blind scored by at least two people and these scores are compared to how the work samples were scored by teacher educators in student teaching. Scorer agreement is calculated and where faculty’s scorer drift exceeds .60, additional retraining for higher levels of agreement with standards is required.
How TWS’s have impacted teacher preparation programs at WKU
They have shifted the focus from teaching to candidates demonstrating they can produce student learning with an instructional unit they design, teach, assess learning, and for which they report the results. All pedagogy courses have been revised to align both the content and learning experiences to address the seven teaching processes required to produce a TWS. The processes of using student context data to design instruction, developing standards-based units of instruction, using pre-post- and formative assessments, analyzing student achievement data, and evaluating teaching and learning are addressed and emphasized to a much greater degree. Also TWS’s have provided a structure for greater agreement among teacher educators, school practitioners, and arts and science faculty about performance expectations of teacher candidates. Based on performance data from student teachers and first-year teachers, program faculty are placing more emphasis on developing learning objectives that address state content standards and developing student classroom assessments that are reasonably valid and measure the appropriate depth of knowledge levels.
The key contact person for TWS’s at WKU is Dr. Tabitha Daniel in the School of Teacher Education – e-mail:firstname.lastname@example.org, phone: 270-745-2157.