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Teacher Testing Alternative Funded


UC Riverside Receives Federal Grant to Integrate Technology and Performance-Based New Teacher Assessment

Project Galileo to Put Teacher Portfolios and Assessment on the Internet, Proposed Alternative to State-Mandated Teacher Performance Assessment

(October 25, 2002)

RIVERSIDE, Calif. — Oct. 25, 2002 — The U.S. Department of Education has awarded the University of California, Riverside a $470,000 grant to develop and pilot a Web-Based electronic professional development portfolio that integrates new teacher testing with a database for tracking teachers’ professional progress. The new system, dubbed the Galileo System for Teacher Assessment and Reflection (G*STAR), addresses a state-mandated teacher performance test slated to go into effect in 2003.

The new state-testing regimen will affect every college student seeking a teaching credential beginning this year. G*STAR will provide an alternative to a state-developed new teacher performance test, now required at the end of a teacher preparation program. The U.S. Department of Education’s Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education supports the three-year grant’s two parts.

First, the G*STAR project will allow teacher credentialing students to create electronic portfolios highlighting their projects, lesson plans and assessment reports of their work as they progress through their programs. The electronic portfolios, with assessment and progress reports, will be stored on a central server, and will be transferable to compact disks, which new teachers can take to job interviews and into their two-year state-mandated induction programs. New teachers can build on these electronic archives as they progress through their induction programs, and throughout their careers.

Secondly, the grant will fund the development of an Internet-based assessment system to link the students with faculty advisers at the colleges and universities where they are enrolled in credentialing programs, and with supervisors at the schools where they are doing their student teaching. The running discussions and ongoing assessments will allow students to see where their professional strengths and challenges lie on a continuous and timely progression, according to Linda Scott-Hendrick, director of teacher induction programs at UC Riverside.

Scott-Hendrick is co-principal investigator of the grant with Robert Calfee, dean of the Graduate School of Education at UC Riverside. The pilot project is expected to become an alternative to proposed state exam, known as the Teacher Performance Assessment, given to teacher candidates at the end of their formal university course work.

The Galileo program is expected to provide a more valid sense of a new teacher’s subject knowledge and ability to teach than the state-administered test because it tracks teacher development over an extended period of time. The goal is to quickly train highly qualified educators while satisfying the state’s voracious need for teachers.

Research shows that there are no greater factors influencing student achievement than the knowledge and effectiveness of their teachers. Yet only Los Angeles has a greater problem hiring qualified teachers than do Riverside and San Bernardino counties. The California Basic Education Data System figures for 2000 show that 55 percent of the state’s newly hired teachers hold emergency permits. That figure for the region covering Riverside, San Bernardino Inyo and Mono counties is 57 percent.

General planning for the development of a system like the Galileo program began early in 2002 at a meeting of scholars and teacher educators from seven UC campuses, Stanford University, and Mills College. Designers aimed for a system with proven value in assessing various facets of teaching effectiveness. The UC Office of the President has provided funding for this effort, as have several private foundation sources. Project leaders are also working closely with Athena Waite, director of teacher education at UC Riverside, and with several community colleges.

Prior to receiving the federal grant, the first stages of the Galileo Project were completed by the technical staff at UC Riverside. Portions of the project have been successfully tested in the Perris Union High School and Moreno Valley Unified school districts this year. If successful in its pilot period, the Galileo project will expand to other UCs, to community colleges and to several California State University campuses.

The University of California, Riverside (www.ucr.edu) is a doctoral research university, a living laboratory for groundbreaking exploration of issues critical to Inland Southern California, the state and communities around the world. Reflecting California's diverse culture, UCR's enrollment has exceeded 21,000 students. The campus opened a medical school in 2013 and has reached the heart of the Coachella Valley by way of the UCR Palm Desert Center. The campus has an annual statewide economic impact of more than $1 billion.

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