7 Ways edTPA Can Transform the Teaching Profession

Imagine an orchestra warming up for a performance. Every musician has a job, a specialty: tuba, timpani, and violin. The conductor taps his wand, and the orchestra starts.

But somewhere, in the brass section, there is a failure. The third trumpet is out of key, and the fourth trumpet starts playing music from the wrong page. The music falls apart.

Imagine an orchestra warming up for a performance. Every musician has a job, a specialty: tuba, timpani, and violin. The conductor taps his wand, and the orchestra starts.

But somewhere, in the brass section, there is a failure. The third trumpet is out of key, and the fourth trumpet starts playing music from the wrong page. The music falls apart.

The conductor asks, “Who messed up the music?” Fingers are pointed. It was the third trumpet. Oh, and the fourth. Fire the trumpets!

On the way out of the concert hall, the fourth trumpet says, “How did that happen?” The third trumpet replies, “I don’t know. I’ve been studying trumpet for a long time—four years, in fact. I have a major in music theory. I’ve even played small concerts with my mentor—but, I’ve never played in concert with others.”

The fourth asks, “Didn’t you take tests to become a trumpeter?”

The third responds, “Yes, but they were paper and pencil. I never had to choose a piece of music, figure out how to play it, and then perform it for an audience. Not even for myself.” The fourth replies, “Me either.”

Now, imagine this orchestra is a school. Picture new teachers on the first day of class—enthusiastic college graduates and accomplished career changers—who have never actually taught before. Or, imagine graduates from traditional teacher education programs whose clinical experiences provided them with limited feedback or placed them in schools where teacher candidates were begrudgingly taken on.

Unfortunately, these scenarios are a reality for many new teachers. In the past, there has never been a reliable, performance-based way to evaluate whether a teacher is prepared to enter the classroom. But now there is: edTPA.

What is edTPA?

In full operation since 2013, edTPA is an educative assessment developed by some of education’s finest: the Stanford Center for Assessment, Learning, and Equity (SCALE) and the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE). But unlike other teacher assessments, edTPA requires candidates to teach and evaluate their own practice before entering the profession.

edTPA stands to transform teaching by providing a fair assessment of candidates’ readiness for the job from day one. The assessment focuses on effective teaching behaviors such as intentionality in planning, student-centered instruction, use of assessment to inform practice, and reflection. But instead of simply evaluating what candidates know about teaching, edTPA looks deeper to analyze candidates’ understanding of their own context and what they are able to do.

7 ways edTPA could change the profession

1. It pushes candidates to reflect on their practice. To pass edTPA, candidates must be able to understand students, curriculum, pedagogy, and assessment in order to make decisions. But to a degree never seen in teacher licensing before, candidates must also explain why they made those decisions—in such a way that other professionals can understand their logic and judge it reasonable (not good or bad).

There are no right or wrong answers on edTPA. There is only context, instruction, assessment, and explanation. To me, this is much more closely aligned with the reality of teaching than previous standardized assessments such as the Praxis. Most importantly, it puts analysis of practice in the mind of the teacher candidate before they enter the profession.

2. It raises the rigor of licensure requirements. edTPA could finally put to rest arguments over traditional or alternative educator preparation by raising the bar for anyone who seeks to enter the classroom. In fact, this bar is so high that some candidates may actually fail the assessment the first time. However, failing edTPA does not make candidates ineligible for certification. It simply means they have not yet achieved the level of competence students deserve from any teacher. Like National Board certification, candidates can retake edTPA.

This means that quick-stop, six-week teacher preparation programs and career switching will not constitute enough background experience for most teacher candidates to pass the assessment. It also means that schools of education will not be obliged to allow students who have attended college for four or five years to become certified simply because they have done their seat time and not failed any classes. Simply put, edTPA is raising the profile and rigor of the profession by making it a requirement that candidates can actually teach well.

3. It makes teacher prep about the candidate—not the institution. edTPA shifts the focus of teacher preparation from the institution’s processes to the teacher candidate’s practice. If candidates don’t pass the assessment, it may mean that the institution hasn’t focused enough on helping candidates master the key areas of teaching: planning, instruction and assessment.

Some critics have expressed concern that edTPA will force instructors to “teach to the test” like PK-12 professionals have often had to do. But unlike standardized tests, there are no right or wrong answers on edTPA—only reasonable responses. Stanford University, which developed and owns the assessment, notes that “no one on edTPA’s development team at Stanford (or nationally) supports the idea of reducing a teaching assessment to items that do not fundamentally reflect the complexity of teaching itself… This is why the assessment requires real artifacts from teaching—lesson plans, video and student work samples—in order to show the complexity of the local teaching context and the way the candidate responds to real students when trying to teach them important content in a real setting.”

4. It puts assessment in the hands of the teacher. edTPA strengthens teachers’ roles as decision makers about assessments—as opposed to administrators of assessments. Candidates must gather and interpret both quantitative and qualitative data about their students and demonstrate competency in using assessments to measure student outcomes. Teachers prepared to take assessment into their own hands could actually weaken the current testing regime by changing the narrative on assessment and explaining why it must be more nuanced and individualized than existing standardized tests.

5. It empowers students. By emphasizing the importance of assessment and requiring candidates to provide both quantitative and qualitative evidence of learning, edTPA encourages teachers to use multiple measures of student success. In turn, this pushes candidates to tailor their instruction and assessment to students, giving them a greater voice in their own learning. This is a new and powerful change that will make future teachers better able to employ and design tests—and more aware of and responsive to the needs of their students.

6. It levels the playing field for teachers of color and teachers in diverse classrooms. By taking credentialing power away from traditional assessments, edTPA could strengthen certification opportunities for teachers of color (who have historically struggled on such assessments) and create a more level playing field where performance is the measure of success.

Because it is intentionally designed to be responsive to local contexts and diverse classrooms, edTPA makes learning context specific. Teacher candidates who have experienced the crushing reality of historical and political racism (and whose schools continue to struggle against this reality) would not be judged against teachers who do not work with those same challenges (which include low-income students, limited access to technology, and high numbers of English Language Learners). Instead, teachers are evaluated within their own context, local curriculum, and level of preparation for their specific classroom and students.

7. It honors the complexity of the profession. edTPA, much like the process of National Board certification, is designed to be an evaluation of teaching practice, not just knowledge. As someone who has completed the National Board process, I can attest that participation in an educative assessment is one of the most powerful professional development activities I have ever done. An assessment like this is not just about what candidates know when they start the test—it’s also about what they learn while experiencing the assessment. This mirrors the process that teachers engage in everyday: we plan, instruct, assess, and learn—then come back the next day with new ideas and improvements. We are transformed by the experience of constantly learning, adapting, and refining our practice.

While these are all great potential benefits of edTPA, the assessment continues to be refined with significant input from educators using the assessment. Andrea Whittaker of SCALE notes that the development, refinements, and research on edTPA impact are ongoing. The directions and rubric language within edTPA continue to be clarified in order to help teacher candidates understand and demonstrate their teaching ability. SCALE is especially focused on helping teacher candidates in diverse classrooms demonstrate their competency.

SCALE is working hard to engage and support teachers and teacher education institutions with an assessment that honors the complexity of teaching. But this work relies on the experts—teachers. In this vein, I urge all educators to participate in discussing edTPA. Join the national conversation taking place on Twitter by using the #edTPA hashtag. You can also email those involved with edTPA, letting them know what you’ve learned from the assessment, sharing your ideas about its educative implementation, and how it can better meet your needs.

Finally, remember that rejecting good ideas because of misconceptions or unfair policy is not the path to strengthening the profession—engagement is. There was a time when the NBPTS assessment was rejected by many because it attacked the status quo and identified accomplished, as opposed to effective, teachers.

Do we want a profession that rebuffs every attempt at improved accountability, deeper engagement, and critical participation? Or do we want one that challenges the status quo and shows that teachers are made, not born?

John M. Holland, Ph.D. has dedicated his career to serving the neediest and youngest school children as a National Board Certified Teacher of three and four year-olds in Richmond, Virginia’s toughest neighborhoods. Currently he writes about pre-K issues on the CTQ blog “The Learning Studio” and his personal blog Emergent Learner. His research interests include educational policy, teacher leadership, creativity, and 21st-century learning. He is a coauthor of TEACHING 2030

Photo used with permission via D. Mitchell Photography.

  • Dwight Manning

    Mr. Holland’s Opus

    It appears that “Mr. Holland’s Opus” introduces several flawed assumptions. Many musical terms are misued and the scenario corresponds with the 5-week TFA technical “training” NOT any traditional teacher preparation programs I’ve observed. Furthermore, the edTPA does not add additional classroom experience for candidates in traditional teacher preparation programs as implied by this poorly attuned editorial, but rather the edTPA is completed during and concurrent with traditional student teaching or internship placements. It is indeed a pity and a gross injustice that TFA “trainees” and others in alternative programs are exempt from the edTPA. This demographic and their students would clearly benefit from the 7 points described here in Mr. Holland’s Opus.

    • JohnHolland

      Snark just makes me nicer 🙂

      Dear Dr. Manning,

      I was not aware of your critique here. For some reason I didn’t recieve your comments. I apologize. Here are my responses to your critique.

      It appears that “Mr. Holland’s Opus” introduces several flawed assumptions. Many musical terms are misued and the scenario corresponds with the 5-week TFA technical “training” NOT any traditional teacher preparation programs I’ve observed.

      Sadly, it does correspond to some that I have observed which is why the Kindergarten teacher across the hall from my Head Start classroom quit after 3 weeks this September.

      Furthermore, the edTPA does not add additional classroom experience for candidates in traditional teacher preparation programs as implied by this poorly attuned editorial, but rather the edTPA is completed during and concurrent with traditional student teaching or internship placements.

      Yes, and I think this is flawed. Candidates should be able to complete the edTPA over a MUCH longer period of time, perhaps mirroring the the National Board’s NBCT process.

      It is indeed a pity and a gross injustice that TFA “trainees” and others in alternative programs are exempt from the edTPA. This demographic and their students would clearly benefit from the 7 points described here in Mr. Holland’s Opus.

      I totally agree that TFA should not be exempt for completing the edTPA before practicing. In fact, this is one of the ways the profession could be lifted up by this process. Those who are grossly unprepared would not be able to teach. I hope when we meet someday we can talk about this and all the other ways we would like to see teaching lifted up in our country. I think we actually agree on more than you think.

  • KimWorth

    edTPA

    I am excited about edTPA. As a NBCT, I love that the mental constructs of accomplished teaching are inherent in the edTPA process.  As a part of my plans for my own charter school, I am hoping to partner with a college that uses edTPA and to hire graduates who successful compelete the program providing a pipeline for them from college to novice to teacher leader.

  • Al Schademan

    edTPA

    We have been using the Performance Assessment for CA Teachers (PACT) at CSU Chico for about 4 years. It is similar to the edTPA and was developed by the same organization at Stanford.  After having over 1,000 of our student teachers go through PACT, here is how I would respond to your points above.     

    1.     We have always pushed our students to reflect upon their practice both in their practicums and in their classes, so PACT is only in addition to these efforts.  Also, the reflection in PACT/edTPA is not necessarily authentic.  Students often teach their units and their reflections are merely written to meet the rubric.  They are often written long after their events are taught. 

    2.     We have always had a very rigorous program.  A full semester of prereqs, two semesters of coursework and practicum placements with multiple measures of student performance.  PACT has not raised our standards, but it has greatly increased the stress levels of your students, as the PACT is so huge. 

    3.     I would argue that the PACT/edTPA are making teaching about the performance assessment, and not about institutions or about student teachers.  Not passing the PACT reflects less on the quality of our program, and much more on the ability of a student to navigate the logistics of this overly huge assessment: twelve rubrics along with seemingly endless questions that ask students to write extensively about 3-5 lessons.  In my methods classes, my students are obsessed with the logistics of PACT (filming, permission slips, interpretation of rubrics and the endless questions in the handbook, how to answer a particular question).  Due to the high stakes nature of the assessment, they are much less interested in implementing the innovative methods that I am trying to teach them in my methods classes.   Teaching is not about interpreting rubircs and answering question after question about your teaching.      

    4.     PACT/edTPA is the new testing regime for teacher education programs.  I do agree that these assessments have helped myself and our student teachers think more deeply about their assessments, but in the end, the districts and the state will own the testing regime.  In many cases, students use the district tests to analyze student performance for their PACTs, which is completely valid, as PACT does not dictate what assessment to use. 

    5.     For PACT, students typically only analyze one assessment, not multiple assessments, as that would be very difficult to do while meeting the rubric.  As a result, it does not encourage the use of multiple assessments.  However, in our methods classes, we have always done so.

    6.     This point borders on bizarre.  The assessment of our teachers has always been very localized, but now with the edTPA, student teachers will now be evaluated by a scorer whom has no knowledge of the student teacher’s local context, outside of what was provided in the assessment.  Besides, many of our students struggle with PACT just due to the time demands.  They are taking classes, teaching two preps in their field placements, and on top of that, having to spend hours and hour writing their PACTS. Many of our students of color come from low SES backgrounds, and therefore work part time on top of that.  As our programs become more and more diverse, I predict that these students will continue to struggle under these demands.  PACT/edTPA may contribute to less diversity in the profession, as it will privilege those who have fewer demands: those from higher SES levels.  

    7.     Yes.  Teaching is very complex.  That is why we have a three-semester program to prepare our future teachers, complete with inter-related coursework and mentored field experiences that are tied to coursework.  What future teachers need in order to honor this complexity is the time, support, and mentorship to work through the complexity of this profession longitudinally.  The biggest critique that we get from our student teachers about PACT is that the assessment occupies so much of their time during their program that they do not have adequate time to plan and implement a curriculum that will meet the needs of diverse students.  Our students teach about 360 lessons during their practicum 2 experience.  Due to PACT, they spend a significant amount of the semester focusing upon 3-5 of those lessons.  What about their other 350 lessons?  Every semester I see the same thing.  As PACT picks up, they focus more on PACT and less on their program and their students.

    I suggest two changes to these PAs: 1) make them more manageable for students by significantly decreasing the number of rubrics and the number of questions that they need to address, and 2) have student teachers complete the PACT/edTPA during their induction programs, not during their credential programs.  Credential programs are already under huge pressures to do so much, and that pressure always gets translated onto our students.  Since PACT, teacher credentialing at my university is a much less enjoyable process for everyone involved due to the immense pressures that these performance assessments have added to our program.  And our students only have to go through it once.   The faculty are now on an endless treadmill of having to support our students through these assessments semester after semester.  I did not get into teacher education in order to prepare future teachers for a test, but that is increasingly what my job has become.            

    • Barbara Regenspan

      Thanks, Al Shademan

      As a social justice-focused teacher educator with 25 years of experience in two different life-loving, socially critical, and powerfully specific (with regard to support for devising enlivening curriculum for the very specific literature and history our students teach) programs, Mr. Holland’s editorial fills me with rage.  Fortunately, Al Schademan makes many of the points I would make, even though my own programs have never been previously constrained by anything coming out of SCALE until now.  EdTPA has proven a complete distraction from the rigorous work my students teachers have undertaken with the support of our institution and their dedicated cooperating teachers.  The awful reality is that we have to sacrifice valuable hours guiding them through the EdTPa process which never requires of them that they consider the lack of sustainability of the contemporary reality of us human beings on this planet.   KNow that the best cooperating teachers I have known for years support me and my students to figure out how to constrain and limit the goals of the lessons they videotape for EdTPA.   The excellent work featured on their portfolios required in our program, however, features the lessons of which they are rightfully proud, not staged for the Pearson Corporation, but rather, product of their complex understandings of what the study of literature and history are for.   Sincerely,  Professor Barbara Regenspan

  • Al Schademan

    edTPA

    We have been using the Performance Assessment for CA Teachers (PACT) at CSU Chico for about 4 years. It is similar to the edTPA and was developed by the same organization at Stanford.  After having over 1,000 of our student teachers go through PACT, here is how I would respond to your points above.     

    1.     We have always pushed our students to reflect upon their practice both in their practicums and in their classes, so PACT is only in addition to these efforts.  Also, the reflection in PACT/edTPA is not necessarily authentic.  Students often teach their units and their reflections are merely written to meet the rubric.  They are often written long after their events are taught. 

    2.     We have always had a very rigorous program.  A full semester of prereqs, two semesters of coursework and practicum placements with multiple measures of student performance.  PACT has not raised our standards, but it has greatly increased the stress levels of your students, as the PACT is so huge. 

    3.     I would argue that the PACT/edTPA are making teaching about the performance assessment, and not about institutions or about student teachers.  Not passing the PACT reflects less on the quality of our program, and much more on the ability of a student to navigate the logistics of this overly huge assessment: twelve rubrics along with seemingly endless questions that ask students to write extensively about 3-5 lessons.  In my methods classes, my students are obsessed with the logistics of PACT (filming, permission slips, interpretation of rubrics and the endless questions in the handbook, how to answer a particular question).  Due to the high stakes nature of the assessment, they are much less interested in implementing the innovative methods that I am trying to teach them in my methods classes.   Teaching is not about interpreting rubircs and answering question after question about your teaching.      

    4.     PACT/edTPA is the new testing regime for teacher education programs.  I do agree that these assessments have helped myself and our student teachers think more deeply about their assessments, but in the end, the districts and the state will own the testing regime.  In many cases, students use the district tests to analyze student performance for their PACTs, which is completely valid, as PACT does not dictate what assessment to use. 

    5.     For PACT, students typically only analyze one assessment, not multiple assessments, as that would be very difficult to do while meeting the rubric.  As a result, it does not encourage the use of multiple assessments.  However, in our methods classes, we have always done so.

    6.     This point borders on bizarre.  The assessment of our teachers has always been very localized, but now with the edTPA, student teachers will now be evaluated by a scorer whom has no knowledge of the student teacher’s local context, outside of what was provided in the assessment.  Besides, many of our students struggle with PACT just due to the time demands.  They are taking classes, teaching two preps in their field placements, and on top of that, having to spend hours and hour writing their PACTS. Many of our students of color come from low SES backgrounds, and therefore work part time on top of that.  As our programs become more and more diverse, I predict that these students will continue to struggle under these demands.  PACT/edTPA may contribute to less diversity in the profession, as it will privilege those who have fewer demands: those from higher SES levels.  

    7.     Yes.  Teaching is very complex.  That is why we have a three-semester program to prepare our future teachers, complete with inter-related coursework and mentored field experiences that are tied to coursework.  What future teachers need in order to honor this complexity is the time, support, and mentorship to work through the complexity of this profession longitudinally.  The biggest critique that we get from our student teachers about PACT is that the assessment occupies so much of their time during their program that they do not have adequate time to plan and implement a curriculum that will meet the needs of diverse students.  Our students teach about 360 lessons during their practicum 2 experience.  Due to PACT, they spend a significant amount of the semester focusing upon 3-5 of those lessons.  What about their other 350 lessons?  Every semester I see the same thing.  As PACT picks up, they focus more on PACT and less on their program and their students.

    I suggest two changes to these PAs: 1) make them more manageable for students by significantly decreasing the number of rubrics and the number of questions that they need to address, and 2) have student teachers complete the PACT/edTPA during their induction programs, not during their credential programs.  Credential programs are already under huge pressures to do so much, and that pressure always gets translated onto our students.  Since PACT, teacher credentialing at my university is a much less enjoyable process for everyone involved due to the immense pressures that these performance assessments have added to our program.  And our students only have to go through it once.   The faculty are now on an endless treadmill of having to support our students through these assessments semester after semester.  I did not get into teacher education in order to prepare future teachers for a test, but that is increasingly what my job has become. 

  • SusanGraham

    From my perspective…

    As an examiner for NCATE,   have had the opportunity to see how  teacher preparation programs have invested their time and energy into building next generation teachers.  So I do understand that committed teacher preparers feel that they are best suited to evaluate the quality of their candidates’ performance. But my NCATE experiences also showed me that all teacher prep programs are not created equal and in some situations, well intended programs still fail to adequately prepare their candidates. Unfortunately, there are some programs that are out of touch with the reality of today’s schools, classrooms, student populations and teacher performance expectations.  Whether it is fair or not, the “accountability” demands that practicing teachers face have trickled down to teacher preparation. As teacher preparers or future colleagues of those newly minted teachers, we all have a role in making sure they have both real and perceived credibility.

    NCATE site visits often resulting in spending time at the school sites where field experiences for teacher candidates took place. While some programs were remarkable, others lack appropriate systems for selection of cooperating teachers, minimal communication between the teacher prep unit and the school site faculty, and limited observation by supervisors. While EdTPA is a limited look at practice, so are site observations. It is true that an internal evaluation can be rigorous and has the advantage of depth and context, but without an objective external measure, it lacks reliability. I am assessing EdTPA portfolios for the same reason I examined for NCATE, because I care about my profession and I care about new teachers. Those anonymous evaluators are people like me, experienced practicing teachers with years of classroom experience who have been carefully screened, training, contribute to consensus decisions about rubric performance expectations and tested for inter-rater reliability. And while we may hold these future colleagues to rigorous expectations, we have teacher hearts—we want to see these emergent teachers succeed.

    Mr. Schademan makes valid points about the angst and time that goes into EdTPA portfolios. It is not coincidental that the EdTPA is much like a mini-National Board portfolio. So it is not surprising that concerns about videos, gathering evidence, and analyzing “what this question really means” are similar. But this lies at the heart of what effective teachers do and school divisions that are moving to multiple measures of teacher effectiveness are likely to demand development of an ongoing portfolio of that is similar in design. While I sympathize with his concerns about teaching to the test, I believe that passage of content knowledge exams is a requirement for acceptance into teacher preparation and before beginning field experiences in most programs. Teaching to a test is limiting, but in my experience, a thoughtful assessment tool can be inform curriculum design and focus instruction.  Mr. Manning seems to perceive EdTPA as short cut for certification by alternative preparation programs. While I suppose that is possible, it seems to reinforce the importance of some kind of external objective evaluation by professional practitioners clearly articulated standards. And I have to disagree with the idea that the process be moved to the induction period. While the teacher candidate may have a demanding schedule, I believe that if you polled first year teachers, they would tell you that it is the most overwhelming year of their life. Preparing to teach for six weeks with the support of a cooperating teacher, a supervisor is tough, but first year teaching is every day, all year, on your own with all those “other duties as required”. Besides, do we really want to risk placing teachers in front of kids before we determine they are ready? Is that fair to either the teacher or the kids? 

    Some kind of accountability measure for teacher preparation is inevitable. While EdTPA may not be a perfect tool, it seems to me that it is preferable to many other less valid and more arbitary options such as student test scores, or whether new teachers remain in the classroom for first five years. There is a lesson to be learned from teacher accountability measures. We were reactive rather than proactive in designing accountability for ourselves. If not EdTPA what might teacher prep recommend as an alternative?

    • Al Schademan

      Teacher Performance Assessments

      In California, we are already held accountable by using multiple measures, so I never really understaood why the consortium that created PACT thought that it was necessary.  We have the 13 Teacher Performance Expectations (TPEs) and 5 dispositons that student are held accountable for meeting through coursework and field observations.  A more valid assessment would be a portfolio in which students would demonstrate proficency in each TPE and dispositon.  PACT actually misses much of what is contained in the TPEs and dispositions, therefore falls short in this regard.  Portfolios would cover them all.           

  • Barbara Regenspan

    response to Susan Graham’s comments

    Susan Graham repeats the assumption that EdTpa standards are rigorous, without addressing my comments proposing that they are anything but rigorous.  What does it mean to offer candidates a “Use this academic language” prescription for their lessons without any attention to the quality of thematic understanding of the texts they teach?  In this era of the Eric Garner verdict and a trillion dollar federal budget that further erodes regulation of Wall Street and environmental protections, “what inquiries the study of literature and history are positioned to generate” ought to be the focus of our concern (re: these subjects).  Also, teacher educators ought to be appalled at the study of parts of literary texts (as opposed to full works of literature) enforced by scripted modules being adopted disproportionately by poorer districts.   What does it mean for EdTpa to certify a teacher who has never taught an entire book or play?  Parents ought to be rising up, as indeed, many of them are.   Sincerely, Barbara Regenspan

  • David Wakefield

    Conceptual Challenges

    The changes aren't expected to affect that many teacher-candidates. So far, the state education department contends that pass rates from the approximately 1,600 candidates who have submitted their edTPA portfolios and received their scores are approximately 83 percent, Consequential use of edTPA is just one of four assessment innovations rolled out in New York’s ambitious new licensing process. (Other required licensure assessments are the Educating All Students exam, Academic Literacy Skills test, and certificate-specific Content Specialty Tests.

     

    • JohnHolland

      Thanks for the information!

      Thank you for the feedback on the data. 

  • CarlDraeger

    From a person who has read Pearson edTPA rubrics

    Having seen the rubrics for only one of the 27 sublect areas, I would like to testify to intensity of the language demands placed upon applicatants. The edTPA requires immense writing about ‘how’ and ‘why’ you choose to teach a particular lesson. It fosters self-reflection that is evident in the first-year teachers (who were in the trial run of edTPA in the State of Illinois) that I have the honor to work with in my role as a mentor teacher. 

    The edTPA is very reminicient of the National Board process. As a NBCT, I know how reflection and communicating about teaching in a clear, concise, and consistent manner can change your life. I see similarities with the edTPA. I am confident that people who complete the edTPA process are well on their way to becoming reflective practicioners.

    However, as I think about the hard-to-fill positions requiring non-English speakers, I see that the edTPA narrows the gateway for ELL teaching professionals. The edTPA, with all its focus on writing about the candidates metacognition, fails in the equity department. I have had conversations with Human Resouces Directors, college professors, and Latino activists on the bias of edTPA against non-Eglish as a first language speakers. There is a rumbling on its way that has not been fully expressed, yet.

    Hey, I’m all about setting vetted standards of performance for teacher candidates. I just don’t want to close the door on otherwise qualified candidates due to poor English writing skills.

    • JohnHolland

      The Complication

      Carl,

      Thanks for your comment. The complication of dual langauge teachers in our system is not easily resolved. I do know that, as a ciritical shortage area, many places are not requiring as high an edtpa score for licensure. For example Iowa requires 31 out of 65 possible. Washington State 30 out of 65 on the world languages assessment. I also know that SCALE is well aware of this challenge and is addressing it. Though, how? I don’t know. 

      You said, “writing about the candidates metacognition, fails in the equity department. ” This is a common concern and is reasonable in terms of the edtpa’s use as gateway. It is a similar challenge that has been faced by NBPTS and it continues to be a challenge. The difference being voluntary vs. required. SCALE has consistently argued for a plodding implementation of the edtpa but has been occasionally ignored by policy makers. What would make the edtpa a better tool in this regard? 

  • Paul Franks

    Edtpa – waste of time and money

    IJust completed my edtpa and PASSED.  Biggest waste of time and money in my entire teaching career.  My teaching cert. expired and I was forced to take the Edtpa as part of my re-certification.  The entire process was BS!  Luckily I was teaching full-time while working on getting re-certified. So i didnt have to borrow a class.  It was a complete joke – I finished the portfolio in 4 weeks. Video taped one 40 min class and wrote BS!  All the teachers I work with thought it was a joke and laughed at the portfolio requirements. Anyway – once I got my passing score – I tossed the entire portfolio in the trash and went back to teaching the way ive been teaching for 12 years.  I pitty the kids coming out of college dealing with this BS!         

     

     

  • David Wakefield

    edTPA Change Student Teaching

    Student teachers have consistently had to perform all the tasks, the tasks must be authentic tasks from the student teachers’ real classroom experience like  however, the edTPA also requires student teachers to submit two 10 minute videos from their classes which show that they can effectively employ students in meaningful class discussions.

  • JohnHolland

    A Waste

    Paul,

    Thanks for your comments. I wonder if you could have passed the edtpa coming out of college 12 years ago or if your expertise derived from hands on experience helped to make the edtpa so manageable. I wonder why what you wrote was BS. Was it that you teach at a higher level than the edtpa scores? Were your scores similarly high? By the way, have you really been teaching exactly the same way for 12 years?