New Assessment for Teacher Candidates Rolls Out After Two Years of Field Testing

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edTPA Helps Determine Whether Aspiring Teachers are Ready to Teach from Day One

(November 8, 2013, Washington, D.C.) After more than four years of development and analysis, including two years of field testing with 12,000 teacher candidates, a new performance-based assessment to measure the classroom readiness of teachers now is fully operational and ready for use across the country.

The assessment, edTPA™, was developed by hundreds of teachers and teacher educators in a process orchestrated by the Stanford Center for Assessment, Learning and Equity (SCALE), with support from the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE). It promises to transform the preparation and certification of new teachers by complementing written tests of subject knowledge with a classroom-based process that requires teacher candidates to demonstrate they can plan, teach and assess student learning effectively within their content areas.

The new assessment serves as the same type of career-entry test faced by budding lawyers, doctors or architects. It also is consistent with calls from the National Education Association (NEA) for a performance-based assessment of new teachers and the American Federation of Teachers’ push for the equivalent of a “bar exam” for entering teachers that would go beyond current multiple-choice tests of basic skills and subject matter.

edTPA assesses aspiring teachers’ ability to develop lesson plans and adjust them for the needs of their students, set standards, teach in the classroom and analyze whether their students are learning—and if not, adjust to become effective. Teacher candidates must submit an unedited video recording of themselves at work in a real classroom as part of a portfolio of materials that is scored by highly trained educators.

Developed by the profession for the profession, edTPA is the first such standards-based assessment to become nationally available in the United States. 

“Today marks a milestone in education: we now have a uniform, evidence-based assessment that will help determine whether a teacher candidate will enter the classroom ready to teach from day one,” said Sharon Robinson, president and CEO of AACTE. “With edTPA fully operational, it offers teacher preparation providers meaningful and consistent data that can be used for curriculum improvement, program completion and other purposes. Also, edTPA will give providers and their local and state partners a common framework to know whether teacher candidates have the knowledge, skills and practice to be effective with PK-12 learners. Perhaps the most important benefit is to the candidates, as they will be confident about the skills and attributes they have developed in their program as they begin practice in their careers.”

More than 450 institutions of higher education in 29 states participated in the development of edTPA, which is available in 27 subject areas. Several states have policies in place that move them toward using edTPA as a preparation capstone for aspiring teachers. Other states are considering it as a formal requirement for licensure. As edTPA transitions to fully operational status, its results now may be used for state licensure or program completion decisions by institutions, or as part of institutional accreditations.

“The National Education Association is committed to having all students taught by fully trained, certified and licensed teachers,” said Dennis Van Roekel, president of NEA. “It is the professional responsibility of practicing teachers – and the NEA – to be actively engaged in the preparation of candidates who will be teaching our nation’s students. In support of our vision of a great public school for every student, our members will be ready to serve as edTPA scorers, support preservice candidates and collaborate with teacher preparation partners to ensure teacher candidates are profession-ready on day one to meet the needs of student learners.”

The lengthy process of developing edTPA began with determining the kind and level of knowledge and skills required of a teacher to be effective in the classroom. Once that determination was made, an assessment and support system was designed to measure those abilities. edTPA developers used two years of field tests to refine the assessment, revising the handbooks that guide teacher candidates through the process and strengthening scorer and scoring training requirements to ensure consistency.

In addition to evaluating the reliability and validity of the instrument, the field test results were used to inform calculation of a recommended passing score based on these data and on the advice of standard-setting panels comprised of educators and policymakers.

Following a three-panel standard-setting process in summer 2013, the panel recommended a maximum score of no more than 42, within a range that accounts for measurement error. 

The 2013 edTPA Field Test: Summary Report can be found here.


AACTE: Serving Learners
The American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE) is a national alliance of educator preparation programs dedicated to the highest quality professional development of teachers and school leaders in order to enhance PK-12 student learning. The 800 institutions holding AACTE membership represent public and private colleges and universities in every state, the District of Columbia, the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and Guam. AACTE’s reach and influence fuel its mission of serving learners by providing all school personnel with superior training and continuing education. For more information, visit

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