Needless to say, many of you — like teachers throughout the state — may have genuine concerns and anxiety about NMTEACH for any number of reasons. The TSAS, however, was designed as an anonymous, personal, self-assessment, and therefore we believe that your responses are potentially the most honest and accurate appraisals of your own personal capabilities on each element associated with NMTEACH. Taken collectively, we believe that your results are the best holistic picture we could have of where your school, and in fact the district, stands in regards to each of the NMTEACH-related elements.
Relationship to NMTEACH
The Teacher Self-Assessment Scales (TSAS) instrument is related to and derived from the state NMTEACH Educator Effectiveness System. The primary reason for selecting the NMTEACH content is based on the fact that NMTEACH is a teacher assessment measure adopted by the state education agency and required of schools, and therefore teachers and administrators will gradually become more and more familiar with its framework and content.
Aligning to the same framework and content therefore avoids overburdening schools with yet another assessment system. The TSAS approaches the NMTEACH content from a different set of foundational and methodological premises, and based on a different set of uses. While they differ in this regard, the intention is that the two systems should be seen as inter-related and supportive of one another.
The primary differences between the NMTEACH and TSAS include the following:
- NMTEACH items are based on five-point qualitative rubric, and the TSAS items are based on a quantitative scale of 1 to 100, the difference being a qualitative assessment of where teachers are in a snapshot (NMTEACH) versus a numerical measure of how far along they may be on a roadmap or in a journey (TSAS);
- NMTEACH is designed to guide administrator assessments of individual teacher quality and performance, while TSAS is designed to guide teachers in self-assessing their personal and collective capabilities to perform designated functions and tasks aligned with the NMTEACH criteria; and,
- NMTEACH is based on complex array of domains, strands, elements, and aspects; while TSAS focuses on just the "Highly Effective" aspect of each element and deconstructs it so that it is simpler to understand and is also self-reflective. For example, NMTEACH presents the aspect from an observational standpoint, while TSAS presents it from a self-reflective standpoint. To briefly illustrate this point, consider the following versions of the same aspect, Item 1A. Demonstrating knowledge of content, presented below:
- NMTEACH: " Teacher’s plans reflect extensive knowledge of the content in core areas. Teacher‘s instructional plans incorporate research and resources related to the NM adopted standards."
- TSAS: I feel confident that I can demonstrate to observers that…
- My teacher plans reflect my extensive knowledge of the content in core
- my instructional plans incorporate research and resources related to the NM adopted standards.
In addition to being self-reflective, the TSAS adaptation of NMTEACH is participant anonymous to ensure a non-intimidating, personalized process; is very quick and easy for teachers to self-administer online (taking about five minutes of their time); and, is analyzed in various aggregate forms to provide a collective overview of a school's ever-changing collective teacher efficacy (i,e. teachers' personal assessments of their own personal capabilities to perform designated tasks — in this case, the NMTEACH aspects — at greater levels and to persist and grow in the face of difficulties. For seminal overviews of the self- efficacy construct and Social Cognitive Theory, see Bandura, 1977, 1986, and 2006. For an excellent, succinct overview of teacher efficacy research, see Protheroe, 2008.
The TSAS can serve several purposes, including support for…
- looking beyond individuals and assessing for school- and district-level gaps in strengths and needs;
- stimulating a school or program-wide conversation about current status and capacity building;
- developing a shared understanding of the 'highly-effective' aspect of the NMTEACH rubrics;
- informing the process of customizing professional development for specific schools and programs; and/or,
- individual teachers can construct a personal summary for themselves and use it to help focus their professional development plan (PDP), which in New Mexico is due to the principal on the 40th day of each school year.
The TSAS, therefore, is more than an assessment or evaluation measure because its primary purpose is to serve teachers and administrators as a stimulus for differentiating and focusing the content and processes of both external technical assistance and internal (self-regulatory) professional learning. The result of all-of-the-above, therefore, suggests that the TSAS could be used in support of the supreme purpose of teaching: to consistently generate and apply new strategies and action for improving the teaching-learning process.