One of the most important challenges facing public education is to ensure that the nation’s increasingly young and inexperienced teacher workforce is prepared to meet the academic needs of all students. Teachers must be ready to teach, with the necessary skills needed to support student learning, from the first day they enter the classroom.
That is why Stanford University and the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE) formed a partnership to develop and share edTPA, formerly the Teacher Performance Assessment. For the first time, edTPA gives teacher preparation programs access to a multiple-measure assessment system aligned to state and national standards – including Common Core State Standards and the Interstate Teacher Assessment and Support Consortium (InTASC) – that can guide the development of curriculum and practice around the common goal of making sure new teachers are able to teach each student effectively and improve student achievement.
Recognizing the need for a uniform and impartial process to evaluate aspiring teachers, Stanford University faculty and staff at the Stanford Center for Assessment, Learning, and Equity (SCALE) developed edTPA. They received substantive advice and feedback from teachers and teacher educators, and drew from experience gained over 25 years of developing performance-based assessments of teaching (including the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, the InTASC Standards portfolio, and the Performance Assessment for California Teachers). The Teacher Performance Assessment Consortium helped guide the effort. Eventually, more than 1,000 educators from 29 states and the District of Columbia and more than 450 institutions of higher learning helped develop, pilot, refine and field test edTPA.
As demand for edTPA grew, Stanford University engaged Evaluation Systems, a group of Pearson, as an operational partner to help deliver it to the wide educational audience that asked for it. edTPA is endorsed and promoted by AACTE. edTPA passed a major milestone in fall 2013 when it was declared fully operational and ready for use across the country. That followed 2 years of field testing with 12,000 teacher candidates. edTPA is the first standards-based assessment to become nationally available in the United States. Today, institutions in 34 states and the District of Columbia are using edTPA at different levels. Some states have policies in place requiring a performance-based assessment – such as edTPA – for teacher candidates, and others are exploring such policies, while other states are at an exploratory phase.
edTPA is transformative for prospective teachers because the process requires candidates to actually demonstrate the knowledge and skills required to help all students learn in real classrooms. edTPA is intended to be used as a summative assessment given at the end of a educator preparation program for teacher licensure or certification and to support state and national program accreditation. edTPA complements existing entry-level assessments that focus on basic skills or subject-matter knowledge. It is comparable to the licensing exams that demand applications of skills in other professions, such medical licensing exams, the architecture exam, or the bar exam in law. It is designed to evaluate how teacher candidates plan and teach lessons in ways that make the content clear and help diverse students learn, assess the effectiveness of their teaching, and adjust teaching as necessary.
edTPA is a subject-specific assessment with versions in 27 different teaching fields covering Early Childhood, Elementary, Middle Childhood and Secondary. edTPA includes a review of a teacher candidate’s authentic teaching materials as the culmination of a teaching and learning process that documents and demonstrates each candidate’s ability to effectively teach subject matter to all students. edTPA doesn’t ask candidates to do anything that most aren’t already doing in their preparation programs, but it does ask for greater support for and demonstration of these skills that research and educators find are essential to student learning.
edTPA is not about theory. It goes beyond classroom credits to ask teacher candidates to demonstrate what they can and will do on the job, translating into practice what research shows improves learning.
Goals of edTPA
edTPA is the first nationally accessible preservice teacher assessment and support program to:
- Improve student outcomes;
- Improve the information base guiding improvement of teacher preparation programs;
- Strengthen the information base for accreditation and evaluation of program effectiveness;
- Be used in combination with other measures as a requirement for licensure; and
- Guide professional development for teachers across the career continuum.
Policy makers and the public demand an objective and trustworthy process to evaluate the performance of aspiring teachers before they lead an actual classroom. As the first nationally accessible teacher performance assessment, edTPA meets the following objectives:
- Help candidates develop the confidence and skills they need to be successful in urban, suburban, and rural schools.
- Provide a uniform and evidence-based process that can be used across states to confirm that aspiring teachers demonstrate their readiness for the classroom.
- Measure candidates’ ability to differentiate instruction for diverse learners, including English language learners and special education students.
- Inform teacher licensure and recruitment.
- Provide meaningful and consistent data that can be used to improve and update teacher preparation programs and renew program curriculum.
- Allow states, school districts, and teacher preparation programs to share a common framework for defining and measuring teaching performance.
- Create a body of evidence about teacher performance that will ultimately establish a national standard for relevant and rigorous practice that advances student learning.
Current Status of the Project
edTPA passed a major milestone in fall 2013 when it was declared fully operational and ready for use across the country. That followed 2 years of field testing with 12,000 teacher candidates. Data from the field test showed that edTPA is a rigorous, valid assessment that is scored reliably. edTPA is the first standards-based assessment to become nationally available in the United States.
Information from the field tests was used to fine-tune assessment tasks, scoring rubrics, and candidate handbooks and, with the assistance of a standard-setting panel of educators and psychometricians, to determine a recommended performance standard, or passing grade. Read the entire summary report here.
Evaluation Systems, a group of Pearson, provides the necessary technical infrastructure to distribute, collect, and manage scoring.
Several states already have formally adopted or are considering edTPA for statewide use to license new teachers or approve teacher preparation programs. Today, institutions in 34 states and the District of Columbia are using edTPA at different levels. Some states have policies in place requiring a performance-based assessment – such as edTPA – for teacher candidates; others are exploring such policies, while other states are at an exploratory phase. Visit our state policy page for more information.
Policy Advisory Board
The edTPA Policy Advisory Board was appointed in April, 2013 to counsel edTPA partners on the edTPA design, implementation, policy and governance of the assessment. The board’s goal is to ensure that edTPA is a high-quality assessment that is well-used and effective in developing entering teachers, assessing their level of preparation and supporting teacher preparation programs.
The policy advisory board was designed to include a broad representation from the field in order to ensure that edTPA continues to be developed and led by the educators it was designed to serve.The members of the advisory board are:
William Buxton, Associate Professor, SUNY Cortland
Lynn Cherkasky-Davis, Quest Center Coordinator, National Board Certification Initiatives, NBCT, Chicago Teachers Union
Thomas Bordenkircher, Michigan and Ohio Director for Teaching Fellowships, Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation
Mitchell Chester, Commissioner, Massachusetts Department of Elementary & Secondary Education
Jim Cibulka, President, National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education and Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation
Carl Cohn, Clinical Professor of Education, Claremont Graduate University
Mary Diez, Dean and Professor, School of Education, Alverno College
Daniel Domenech, Executive Director, American Association of School Administrators
Anne Marie Fenton, Program Director of Assessment, Georgia Professional Standards Commission
Chris Koch, State Superintendent, Illinois State Board of Education
Marvin Lynn, Dean, School of Education, Indiana University South Bend
Callie Marksbary, classroom teacher in Lafayette, Indiana, and Chair of the NEA Professional Standards and Practice Committee
Bill McDiarmid, Dean and Alumni Distinguished Professor of Education, University of North Carolina Chapel Hill
Kendra Phelps, Professional Issues Representative, Cincinnati Federation of Teachers
Becky Pringle, Secretary-Treasurer, National Education Association
Phil Rogers, Executive Director, National Association of State Directors of Teacher Education and Certification
David Sevier, Deputy Executive Director, State of Tennessee Board of Education
Lee Shulman, Emeritus Professor, Stanford University
Kathleen Skinner, Director Center for Education Policy and Practice, Massachusetts Teachers Association
Ron Thorpe, President and CEO, National Board for Professional Teaching Standards
Jennifer Wallace, Executive Director, Professional Education Standards Board, Washington
Rebecca Watts, Associate Vice Chancellor of P-16 Initiatives, Ohio Board of Regents
Randi Weingarten, President, American Federation of Teachers
Bob Wise, President, Alliance for Excellent Education
Beverly Young, Assistant Vice Chancellor, Teacher Education and Public School Programs, California State University System