One of the most critical factors to students’ learning and success in school, and beyond, is the skill and effectiveness of their teachers. The standards by which educators practice their profession reflect this importance and complexity. In Washington State, there are separate sets of standards for teachers to follow depending on the age and (dis)ability status of their students. These standards overlap; and negotiating the challenge of upholding all of these many and varied standards has been a challenge not only for preservice educators, but also for school-based mentors and educator preparation program providers. If there are misalignments among sets of teacher standards this can challenge teachers’ ability to be prepared, to be effective, and could negatively impact students’ learning and development. Members of the Washington State CEEDAR collaborative addressed this challenge by analyzing the state-approved teacher standards for general educators, special educators, and early childhood educators to understand gaps and overlaps and to create a guidance resource to help teachers, mentors, and educator preparation program providers.
The team gathered and reviewed the general educator standards -Interstate Teacher Assessment and Support Consortium (InTASC) standards developed by the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO); the special education endorsement competencies approved Washington State Professional Educator Standards Board (PESB), and the early childhood education endorsement standards – National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). The goal of this synthesis was to create a set of common understandings and practices to support pre-service and novice educators in the form of an organized standards alignment grid for use by educator preparation program providers when designing courses, by mentor teachers when support teacher candidates, as well as school and district leaders when guiding novice teachers.
This effort has resulted in an analysis grid that can be used by educator preparation program providers, mentors of novice teachers, or educators themselves. The grid shows seven key areas of practice held in common by all three sets of standards – Family and Community Engagement, Differentiation and Responsiveness, Planning, Instruction Calibrated by Informal Assessment, Formal Assessment, Subject Matter Content, and Professionalism. The grid simplifies the complex work of teaching by focusing on what these sets of standards have in common in ways that can assist the shared work of preparing and mentoring teachers. The authors of this resource are currently working to expand the grid to include High Leverage Practices (HLPs), which in combination with the analysis grid can make the resource even more useful and applicable across teaching and learning settings