A Balancing Act: Dilemmas of Implementing a High-Stakes Performance Assessment

Ira Lit, Rachel Lotan
The New Educator
Publication year: 

Dilemmas abound in the design, implementation, analysis, and interpretation of the outcomes of a summative performance assessment of teaching when used for licensing, for individual and program evaluation, and for accountability purposes. In this article, we explore the impact of the Performance Assessment for California Teachers (PACT) on the Stanford Teacher Education Program (STEP). Specifically, we explore ways in which this high-stakes assessment influences programmatic priorities and drives structural and curricular decisions that might or might not be at odds with the conceptual frame and stated mission of the program. We highlight two thorny dilemmas that have challenged our program in the implementation of the PACT Teaching Event—a high-stakes performance assessment for teachers—and our attempts to manage these dilemmas “satisficingly.”