sis of a videotaped lesson. Portfolios are reviewed by teams of teachers and principals who pose questions on teaching practices to candidates. Readiness for student teaching is judged on the basis of the portfolio as well as performance during the questioning session.

Students at Alverno College are required to meet the licensing requirements of the state of Wisconsin, which currently include a basic skills test and endorsement from the institution conferring the teaching degrees. Beginning in 2004, Wisconsin will require all teacher candidates to compile portfolios that demonstrate their performance in relation to the state’s teaching standards. Candidates who pass the portfolio review will be granted provisional licenses to teach for three to five years while pursuing professional development goals related to the standards.

Alverno routinely conducts internal and external reviews of its assessment instruments and practices in light of its curriculum goals and students’ performance. In addition, research has examined the extent to which Alverno graduates consider themselves prepared for teaching; research has also looked at their job satisfaction and retention in the field and employers’ perceptions of their qualifications (Zeichner, 2000). Research on Alverno’s program is documented and widely distributed and is published in professional journals.


To conclude this chapter, the committee focuses on what can be learned from a comparison of the design principles underlying the assessments reviewed here. In each of the cases involving prospective or beginning teachers, there is consistent attention to the following features that the committee considers important components of a sound licensure systems:

  • There is a coherent statement about the qualities of teaching valued by the institution or agency.

  • There is a means for providing evidence of a teacher’s actual performance with his or her students in a classroom (either through videotapes and artifacts or direct observations).

  • There is a coherent system of assessments that, taken together, cover a broad range of teaching qualities, including evidence about basic skills, content and/or pedagogical knowledge, and teaching performance. The assessments are staged at relevant points in time across a prospective teacher’s preparation and beginning teaching experiences.

  • There is sustained attention to the professional development and support of prospective or beginning teachers integrated with the qualities and practices covered by the assessments. Support systems draw on the capabilities of experienced teachers, thereby supporting professional development for experienced teachers as well as beginning teachers.

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