Candidate to Candidate: Reflections on Taking edTPA
As of May 1, 2014, New York State will require teacher candidates to pass edTPA as a requirement for initial certification. edTPA is a performance-based assessment available in 27 teaching areas that requires teacher candidates to demonstrate teaching skills – through authentic artifacts of teaching, written commentary and an unedited video – in several areas that research has shown to support student learning. It is designed to supplement course completion requirements and exams of subject-area knowledge.
To help candidates and their institutions understand and prepare for this new assessment process, four teacher candidates, all of whom are now practicing teachers, were asked to reflect on their recent experiences participating in the spring 2013 New York State field test of edTPA.
The interviews are facilitated by Nicole Barrick Renner, research associate for the Stanford Center on Assessment, Learning and Equity, which has led the development of edTPA. Nicole asks the field test participants to talk about major takeaways, biggest challenges and decision points and to offer advice to other candidates for successfully completing the edTPA process.
The teacher candidates are:
Introductions of the Teacher Candidates
Nicole Barrick Renner asks four teacher candidates who participated in the spring 2013 New York State edTPA to introduce themselves and talk about their student-teacher placements and the teaching segments they used during the field test.
Challenges to Successfully Completing edTPA
Completing the edTPA process is rigorous, just like real classroom teaching. Teacher candidates from teacher preparation programs who participated in the New York State edTPA field test candidly share some of the frustrations and challenges they encountered on the way to completing edTPA. These challenges included new vocabulary, technology glitches, and feeling overwhelmed by short timeframes.
“You make mistakes. You reflect on your mistakes. That’s how you learn to be a successful and effective teacher.”
Takeaways from the edTPA Experience
Nicole Barrick Renner asks teacher candidates who recently participated in the New York State field test of edTPA what lessons and practices they will bring to their classrooms as a result of their experience with the edTPA process. The answers reflect how they think edTPA connects to effective teaching, student assessment and lesson planning, and whether edTPA prepared them for real classrooms.
“edTPA really, really prepared me for what to expect in the field of teaching.”
Decision Points for Candidates during the edTPA Process
edTPA is not a single event or exam. It is a learning process that culminates with a capstone assessment. Along the way, several decisions must be made about timing, logistics, and strategies. New York teacher candidates who completed the process discuss these key decision points and strategies for successfully anticipating and confronting them.
“It is high stakes, but there are different ways to do it well.”
Advice for Candidates Preparing for edTPA
Candidates will rely on instructors and cooperating teachers for help and support throughout the edTPA process. Participants in the New York State field tests of edTPA offer thoughts and ideas on what institutions, faculty, and cooperating teachers can do to help make the edTPA experience a smooth, collaborative, and educative process for all involved.
“Something higher education really needs to think about is reflection … The value of the assessment to the individual is in thinking about what I did well, what I can do differently, how I can assess differently.”