The purpose of our overall research agenda is to develop and evaluate a methodology for the assessment of teachers in which experienced teachers, serving as judges, engage in dialogue to integrate multiple sources of evidence about a candidate to reach a sound conclusion. The project that provides the venue for this research agenda is the Interstate New Teacher Assessment and Support Consortium (INTASC), which is developing a portfolio assessment system to assist participating states in making a decision about teacher licensure. To develop the theoretical foundation necessary to support and evaluate such dialogic and integrative assessment practices, we turn, in part, to the tradition of philosophical hermeneutics, as a complement to psychometrics. In this article, we characterize and assess the processes in which judges, trying out an integrative approach to portfolio evaluation for the first time, engage as they collaboratively construct and document their conclusions, and we locate this work in the larger research agenda. The premise of this project, which is being carefully evaluated in the course of inquiry, is that these integrative practices cannot only lead to an epistemologically sound evaluation of teaching but also promote an ongoing professional dialogue of critical reflection on teaching practice.
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