Making Teacher Work Samples Work at the University of Northern Colorado

Melissa Parker, Christina Sinclair

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Teacher Work Samples (TWS) can be viewed in terms of a product and a process. As a product, the TWS measures a teacher candidate’s (TC’s) ability to promote student achievement, documents that TCs have met minimum national standards, and validates teacher education programs. It (1) is real in that it replicates actual teaching, (2) is naturalistic as it occurs in classrooms with children, (3) provides meaning by mirroring the important aspects of teaching, and (4) helps teachers to reflect on practice. Teacher candidates engage in observable, job-related behaviors that serve as predictors of criterion performance. As it leads to a product that measures a TC’s ability to promote student achievement, the process of using TWS broadens and deepens the thinking of TCs. This article describes both the process and the product of TWS methodology as used at the University of Northern Colorado (UNC). As required by state and university mandate, we have used TWS methodology for nine years as an assessment item for our K-12 physical education TCs. During that time we have learned as much about the process as TCs did about the product. This article describes the product of a TWS in terms of its components, followed by a discussion of the process of TWS development with TCs, the rubric used to provide feedback, and the pitfalls and highlights of our experience.

Original languageUndefined/Unknown
JournalFaculty Publications
StatePublished - Jan 1 2010

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