Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Teaching Performance Assessment?

A teaching performance assessment is an assessment that requires candidates to demonstrate through their performance with K-12 students that they have mastered the knowledge, skills and abilities required of a beginning teacher, as exemplified in California’s Teaching Performance Expectations (TPEs).

What are the Performance Tasks of the CAl TPA?

  • The tasks of the CalTPA collectively measure the attributes of the Teaching Performance Expectations.
  • Each CalTPA task measures a number of TPEs, with most TPEs being measured by more than one task.
  • All of the CalTPA tasks are designed so that candidates can practice them repeatedly within the teacher preparation program. (PSC 7A-4 November-December 2006)
  • Task 1 may be completed without candidates basing their responses on the needs of actual K-12 students, while Tasks 2 through 4 require interaction with K-12 California students.
  • All tasks require written responses to given prompts, and Task 4 requires a videotape of an actual classroom teaching experience.

What is the Purpose of the CAl TPA?

  • To assure that all candidates recommended for a preliminary multiple or single subject teaching credential demonstrate a satisfactory level of mastery of the California Teaching Performance Expectations (TPEs);
  • To assure that multiple and single subject teacher preparation programs are preparing teacher candidates to pass the teaching performance assessment
  • To meet the requirements specified in SB 1209 (Chap. 517, Statutes of 2006) concerning the statewide implementation of a teaching performance assessment

How Many Teaching Performance Assessments Are There?

Within each current TPA model, there are four tasks that candidates must complete satisfactorily to demonstrate mastery of the Teaching Performance Expectations.

Who has to Take a Teaching Performance Assessment?

All multiple and single subject credential candidates in Commission-approved teacher preparation programs must meet the teaching performance assessment requirement starting in July, 2008, as per SB 1209 (Chap. 517, Statutes of 2006)

Why do I have to do Teacher Performance Assessments?

The California Teaching Performance Assessment (CalTPA) is an assessment of a candidate's ability to demonstrate competency of the Teaching Performance Expectations (TPEs). The results of the candidates' performance during the various tasks of the CA TPA can help provide formative assessment information to candidates for improving the quality of their teaching, and assists candidates to focus on those aspects of teaching in which they may need further development or support. The CalTPA must be successfully completed as one of the requirements for earning a California preliminary teaching credential from any institution.

Who Has to Offer a Teaching Performance Assessment?

All Commission-approved multiple and single subject teacher preparation programs must offer a teaching performance assessment that is embedded within the program for all candidates starting in July, 2008 as per SB 1209 (Chap. 517, Statutes of 2006).

What are the Teaching Performance Expectations?

The Teaching Performance Expectations represent the range of knowledge, skills and abilities expected of a beginning teacher. There are thirteen TPEs. A listing of the TPEs is provided in Attachment A.

What is the relationship between the Teaching Performance Expectations and the California Standards for the Teaching Profession (CSTP)?

  • The CSTP, developed in 1997, were originally validated to be applicable to all teachers, including experienced teachers.
  • California’s adopted thirteen Teaching Performance Expectations (TPEs), are based on and aligned with the California Standards for the Teaching Profession, but they provide validated expectations applicable specifically to a beginning teacher level.
  • The teaching performance assessment used within multiple and single subject teacher preparation programs is designed to cover the knowledge, skills and abilities specified in the TPEs.

Who Administers and Who Scores the Teaching Performance Assessment?

  • Teacher preparation programs are responsible for implementing the TPAs within the credential program.
  • Scorers are trained by state-level trainers and are typically:
    • Faculty
    • K-12 teachers, supervisors, support providers, administrator
    • Retired faculty, teachers, and other education professionals

How will my Teacher Performance Assessments be scored?

  • Each of the four TPA tasks is scored according to a task-specific rubric that specifies standards of performance on that task and describes characteristics of candidate performance at each of the four score levels.
  • The candidate’s performance is rated as a 1, 2, 3, or 4 based on the scoring rubric, with 1 being the lowest possible score and 4 being the highest.
  • In order to pass the CalTPA, a candidate must have an overall score of 12 on all four tasks taken as a whole, but no individual task may have a score of less than 2.
  • Candidates may retake each task until a passing score is earned.Each Teacher Performance Assessment is scored on the same point system. (see table below)

Key Score Level Criteria

  • LEVEL 4 Appropriate, relevant, accurate, and clear or detailed
  • LEVEL 3 Appropriate, relevant, or accurate
  • LEVEL 2 Minimal, limited, cursory, inconsistent, and/or ambiguous
  • LEVEL 1 Inappropriate, irrelevant, inaccurate or missing

How are the Results of the Teaching Performance Assessment Used?

  • As formative information for use by the candidate;
  • As one basis for the recommendation of a candidate for a credential;
  • As evidence of program effectiveness;
  • As formative information for use in an induction program.

What is the Current Status of the CAl TPA?

  • The CalTPA was used on a voluntary basis by teacher preparation programs until it became required in July 2008.
  • Feedback on the CalTPA continues to be provided to the Commission by those programs using this particular model.
  • Based on the feedback provided by users in the field, the CalTPA continues to evolve in order to meet the needs of the field for a valid, reliable and useful assessment of candidate performance relative to the TPEs.
  • As per SB 1209 (Chap. 517, Statutes of 2006), the Governor and the Legislature require all programs to implement a teaching performance assessment as a mandate; this assessment is no longer voluntary on the part of multiple and single subject teacher preparation programs.
  • The Commission, in collaboration with the field, continues to look at ways to streamline the teaching performance assessment to maximize the benefit to candidates and to programs while meeting the requirements of SB 1209.