Teaching standards update reflects changes in students, technology and ELLs

An update of Californias landmark standards for the teaching profession comes forward next week before the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing featuring proposed revisions related to changing student demographics, new technology and greater accountability demands.

Born out of struggles to keep new teachers in the profession during the late 1980s and early 1990s, the California Standards for the Teaching Profession were among the first in the nation aimed not only at providing a method for communicating common goals to new teachers but also for setting expectations for veteran teachers as they move ahead in their careers.

The revision of the original 1997 standards includes new emphasis on English learners and the growing diversity of the states student population. Theres also an appreciation of how new technology has changed the classroom experience. And theres recognition that assessment of student performance is increasingly a focal point of community expectation.

Still, the standards at their core are viewed as a vehicle for teachers to talk to one another and to their school administrators about their profession.

It provides a common language for talking about teaching practices for teachers, for mentors and for principals, said Terry Janicki, consultant working on the update for the CTC.

If we have standards for students, then its also important to have standards for teachers, too, he said.

The major thrust of the standards is to help define and direct teacher preparation. But Janicki said that the majority of school districts in the state use the CSTP, in one way or another, to help perform annual teacher evaluations.

He said the standards form the basis for the formative assessment system used with beginning teachers which is designed to measure the knowledge, skills and abilities needed to be successful in the classroom. Theres also an accompanying resource that details how a successful teacher performs as a beginning practitioner through advanced stages of teacher development.

Although reaching out to Californias diverse student population was a tenet of the original standards, the updated version reflects almost a decade of learning about the challenge. Weve learned a lot about it and we know a lot more about how teaching is done properly, Janicki said.

The same is true about technology, he noted. Ten years ago there was technology used in the classroom but not nearly as much as today, he explained. We have a much better sense of how to talk about using technology in the service of student learning than we did.

The new standards also reflect changes demanded by elected officials and the voters for better student performance. Teachers today, he explained, are doing a lot more assessment and the standards reflect the need for teachers to be continuously thinking about that.

To read the proposed CSTP update visit: