edTPA

edTPA is a preservice assessment process designed by educators to answer the essential question: “Is a new teacher ready for the job?” Visit http://edtpa.aacte.org to learn more.

General Information

edTPA is a performance-based, subject-specific assessment and support system used by more than 600 teacher preparation programs in some 40 states to emphasize, measure and support the skills and knowledge that all teachers need from Day 1 in the classroom.

Developed by educators for educators, edTPA is the first such standards-based assessment to become nationally available in the United States. It builds on decades of work on assessments of teacher performance and research regarding teaching skills that improve student learning.

It is transforming the preparation and certification of new teachers by complementing subject-area assessments with a rigorous process that requires teacher candidates to demonstrate that they have the classroom skills necessary to ensure students are learning.

The initiative is a joint effort by experts at Stanford University and the Stanford Center for Assessment, Learning and Equity (SCALE) with leadership by the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE). Evaluation Systems, a group of Pearson, was selected as the operational partner to provide the technology and systems for submitting and scoring candidate materials and to provide management support for the multistate use of edTPA.

As of Fall 2017, 18 states have either adopted statewide policies requiring a performance assessment for aspiring teachers or are actively considering such a step. Today, more than 800 teacher preparation programs in some 41 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 some are at an exploratory phase. Visit our state policy page to see a current list of states participating in edTPA.

The education profession has recognized the need for a common, standards- and performance-based assessment of teaching effectiveness that would measure the classroom readiness of aspiring teachers and provide information for program improvement. edTPA serves as the same type of career-entry assessment requirement as those for aspiring lawyers, doctors, architects and professionals in many other fields.

The teaching profession cannot afford to wait a year or more for new teachers to become really effective, nor can it afford to lose new teachers who get frustrated early without enough support and leave the field. Thus edTPA is designed to ensure that those who become teachers not only understand educational theory and subject matter content, but can demonstrate their ability to lead a classroom and ensure that students with diverse strengths and needs are learning. New teachers have to be effective from Day 1.

edTPA is a performance assessment to help determine if new teachers are ready to enter the profession with the skills necessary to help all of their students learn. It is intended to be used for teacher licensure and to support state and national program accreditation, and to support program renewal.

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.

By focusing on the act of teaching, edTPA complements existing entry-level assessments that focus on basic skills or subject-matter knowledge. This is the first time teacher preparation programs have access to a multiple-measure assessment system aligned to state and national standards to 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.

edTPA is comparable to entry-level licensing exams that demand applications of skills in other professions, such as the medical licensing exams, the architecture exam, or the bar exam in law. As a nationally available teacher performance assessment, edTPA:

  • Helps candidates develop the confidence and skills they need to be successful in urban, suburban, and rural schools.
  • Provides a uniform and evidence-based process that can be used across states to confirm that aspiring teachers demonstrate their readiness for the classroom.
  • Measures candidates’ ability to differentiate instruction for diverse learners, including English language learners and special education students.
  • Provides meaningful and consistent data that can be used to improve teacher education programs and renew program curriculum.
  • Creates a body of evidence of teacher performance.

edTPA was designed with a focus on subject-specific student learning and principles from research and theory. edTPA is aligned with the Interstate Teacher Assessment and Support Consortium (InTASC) as well as subject-matter content and pedagogical standards.

In developing edTPA, experienced teachers and university faculty examined the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) as well as state content standards and national subject matter organizations standards—and the teaching practices necessary to support students to master them. The kinds of learning edTPA requires candidates to teach to, and analyze in their teaching, are consistent with the CCSS goals and principles in math and English language arts, NGSS goals and principles for science, and state and subject matter organization “college and career ready” expectations.

edTPA draws from experience gained over a 25-year history developing performance-based assessments of teaching, including the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards assessment of accomplished teachers. The three tasks embedded in edTPA—Planning, Instruction and Assessment—are closely aligned with the concepts of the 2013 Charlotte Danielson Framework for Teacher Evaluation Instrument as well as the 2013 Marzano Teacher Evaluation Model.

University programs must teach candidates the way they will be expected to teach when they enter the classroom. edTPA requires teacher preparation programs to prepare students to be college and career ready through project-based learning and inquiry, be competent in academic language and develop deep subject matter understandings.

edTPA is a subject-specific assessment that includes versions for 27 teaching fields. Aspiring teachers must prepare a portfolio of materials during their student teaching clinical experience. edTPA requires aspiring teachers to demonstrate readiness to teach through lesson plans designed to support their students’ strengths and needs; engage real students in ambitious learning; analyze whether their students are learning, and adjust their instruction to become more effective.

Teacher candidates submit unedited video recordings of themselves at work in a real classroom as part of a portfolio that is scored by highly trained educators. edTPA builds on decades of teacher performance assessment development and research regarding teaching skills and practices that improve student learning – including the foundational work of the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards.

It simply means that everyone who is engaged in this assessment process learns something; that this is a continuous learning process. Schools, candidates, licensure boards, policy makers, everyone. For example:

  • Programs can use edTPA rubrics and other support materials to ensure candidates have formative opportunities to learn what edTPA measures.
  • Candidates integrate knowledge and skills learned in their programs and demonstrate them in real practice.
  • Programs receive candidate data and use candidate experience to tell them what is working and where they need help.
  • Collaborating teachers and schools use edTPA to reflect on their own teaching practices.
  • Policymakers have more insight and data on how programs are preparing new teachers.

No. Teacher educators in states that use edTPA will continue to observe and assess their students, and design their program and coursework as they always have. edTPA was not designed to take the place of faculty observation. Indeed, faculty observation is critical to the success of the implementation of a multiple-measures assessment system. Faculty observations, along with assessments embedded across the preparation curriculum, ensure candidates gain the skills and knowledge to demonstrate their readiness for the classroom. Well-prepared candidates with the dispositions to teach are expected to perform well on their capstone assessment: edTPA.

edTPA offers many benefits for teacher preparation programs, including:

  • Ongoing professional development and resources through an online community and face-to-face workshop opportunities through the National Academy.
  • Measurement of candidates’ abilities to plan instruction to meet learning standards and to differentiate instruction for diverse learners.
  • Formative use of rubrics in course assignments, locally developed curriculum-embedded assessments, and clinical practice evaluations.
  • Actionable evidence of candidates’ performance over time to address the real-world needs and challenges that teachers face every day.
  • Opportunities for continuous program renewal based on meaningful performance data.
  • Support for state and national accreditation through easily accessible individual data that can be aggregated to analyze performance within and across subject areas and program options.

edTPA provides state agencies, including state standards boards and commissions, with a new performance-based assessment for teacher licensure and certification. States can use edTPA results as a key indicator for granting an initial license to teacher candidates regardless of the path they take to teaching. Benefits to states include:

  • edTPA gives states, school districts, and teacher preparation programs a common framework and language for defining and measuring performance of teacher candidates.
  • Gives states the ability to evaluate the impact of teacher preparation on candidate knowledge and skills that lead to greater student learning.
  • Provides a nationally available common measure that is valid and reliable to evaluate pre-service teachers’ readiness to teach.
  • Use of a subject-specific, performance-based assessment system aligned to general and discipline-specific teaching standards designed and developed by educators for educators.
  • Access to an array of educative implementation resources and protocols that support preparation program renewal.

The following subjects are available for assessment under edTPA:

  • Agricultural Education
  • Business Education
  • Classical Languages
  • Early Childhood
  • Educational Technology Specialist
  • Elementary Education*+
  • Elementary Literacy
  • Elementary Mathematics
  • English as an Additional Language
  • Family and Consumer Sciences
  • Health Education
  • K-12 Performing Arts
  • K-12 Physical Education
  • Library Specialist
  • Literacy Specialist*
  • Middle Childhood English-Language Arts*
  • Middle Childhood History/Social Studies*
  • Middle Childhood Mathematics*
  • Middle Childhood Science*
  • Secondary English-Language Arts
  • Secondary History/Social Studies
  • Secondary Mathematics
  • Secondary Science
  • Special Education
  • Technology and Engineering Education
  • Visual Arts
  • World Language

* Not applicable to WA.

+ The Elementary Education handbook has Elementary Literacy and Elementary Mathematics components.

Partner Roles in edTPA

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 on more than 25 years of experience in developing performance-based assessments including the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS), the Interstate Teacher Assessment and Support Consortium (InTASC) Standards and the Performance Assessment for California Teachers (PACT). A national design team of teacher educators has informed the work since 2009 and individual subject-specific design teams were convened to develop the handbooks for each of the 27 teaching fields. Design team members included subject-matter organization representatives from higher education and P-12.

As the lead in development, Stanford University owns the intellectual property rights and trademark for edTPA. SCALE is responsible for all edTPA development including candidate handbooks, scoring rubrics, and the scoring training design, curriculum and materials (including benchmarks). SCALE also develops and vets implementation support materials provided in the Resource Library and through the National Academy.

As a national edTPA implementation partner, the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education is strengthening the edTPA professional learning community by supporting communications, implementation, professional development and online resources to help all programs prepare teachers who are ready to educate each and every child.

AACTE believes that edTPA will help give the public and educators confidence that teacher candidates are graduating ready to be effective teachers from Day 1. AACTE is a national partner because it believes that edTPA is an innovation that will improve teacher preparation and student performance. For the first time, the field has an agreed-upon set of principles to define effective teaching.

Stanford University engaged Evaluation Systems, a group of Pearson, as an operational partner to make edTPA available to meet demand among a wide educational audience. As the operational partner, Evaluation Systems provides management support required for multistate use of the edTPA program, including providing the systems infrastructure that facilitates the administration of the assessment for submission, scoring and reporting.

Teacher Education Curriculum

No. By being embedded in a candidate’s clinical experience, edTPA supports program coherence and instruction across courses, and provides valuable feedback to programs on what is working and where they need to improve. It encourages inquiry, not standardization.

edTPA represents a core set of skills and knowledge that the profession agrees all candidates must master. There are other skills and knowledge that programs will emphasize. No single assessment will measure everything nor will it drive everything that is taught. Just as edTPA is one part of the multiple measures states use to measure candidate readiness, there are multiple ways to prepare students for edTPA.

edTPA does not inhibit the teaching or curriculum of preparation programs, nor does it dictate particular approaches to teaching and learning. Instead it helps strengthen core teaching skills in areas such as lesson planning, assessing student learning and use of academic language so that teacher candidates have a strong foundation upon which to develop and demonstrate the approaches and strategies that are right for them and their students.

It certainly can be viewed that way. edTPA creates a standard for the profession to qualify a candidate as classroom-ready. That is the bar. Just as in the legal profession, states have the authority to set their own passing score, but edTPA creates an entry-level qualification. Other education groups have endorsed the idea of a national bar-like exam for teaching.

As of January 2015, there were more than 600 teacher preparation programs working with edTPA at different levels of involvement. One reason is that teacher preparation programs want to challenge the misconception that the path to teaching is too easy. These programs aspire to change that impression by transforming teacher preparation. edTPA is helping to make that possible by providing the first standards-based, nationally available, subject-specific assessment to measure the performance of a teacher candidate and the support they need along the way to guide change.

Teacher preparation programs are using the data from edTPA to better coordinate courses across grades and majors, strengthen clinical experiences and identify areas of need.

edTPA represents a critical step toward measuring this strong professional consensus (from InTASC and the National Board) about what a teacher should be able to do from the first day leading a classroom. There now is a core set of knowledge that the profession agrees new teachers should have along with skills and abilities they should be able to demonstrate. edTPA does not dictate how faculty teach or restrict what they teach and is based on a common set of expectations for teachers across fields – planning, instruction and assessment are the cornerstones of edTPA and effective teaching as measured by the National Board. There is growing agreement that with new, higher standards and greater diversity among students, teachers must develop more sophisticated teaching skills and be able to use them from Day 1 in the classroom. Preparation programs cultivate this kind of practice based on their own mission and values, with useful tools to develop and assess new teachers’ abilities to put their growing knowledge into action. edTPA does not deter from program focus on effective teaching and can enhance program coherence through a set of key outcomes measured by edTPA.

Submitting and Scoring edTPA

edTPA is scored by teachers and teacher educators with subject-area and grade-level expertise, and experience mentoring, teaching or supervising teachers. All scoring training material is authored by SCALE.

edTPA scorers are hired in a 50/50 ratio of teacher preparation faculty and P-12 educators, including many P-12 teachers who are National Board Certified.

Evaluation Systems, a group of Pearson, collects and records the scores generated by these qualified scorers. Pearson also helps recruit scorers, manages the scoring pool, monitors scoring quality, and provides a training and delivery platform for the SCALE-developed scorer training curriculum.

Scorers are recruited, trained and qualified to score in two scoring pools – national and regional. The national pool includes qualified scorers who access and score portfolios submitted from across the country. In the regional scoring pool, qualified faculty from preparation programs (in implementing states where regional scoring is an accepted scoring model), score a sample of their program’s own candidate portfolios.

Regional scorers complete the same training and qualify using the same criteria before scoring, and have the same quality monitoring and scoring consistency requirements as those scoring in the national pool. The regional scoring option will be launched in Spring 2015 in California and will be available in other states beginning in Spring 2016.

In simplest terms, it’s the minimum score set by a state or institution to pass edTPA. edTPA offers consistent scoring nationwide against a consistent standard, but each state can set its own pass/fail mark as they implement the assessment and teacher preparation programs learn how to support edTPA activities.

Based on evidence in the portfolio of materials, candidates are scored from 1 to 5 on 15 distinct teaching skills, for a possible score of 75. A standard-setting process led by three panels of educators and policy makers resulted in a recommended cut-score band ranging from a total score of 37-42. Based on the national field test data for teacher candidates taking edTPA for the first time, the percentage of candidates who would have “passed” edTPA along this recommended cut-score band ranged from 78 percent (score of 37) to 58 percent (score of 42).

All candidates will complete edTPA and be scored the same way. States, however, have the authority to set their own cut scores. States that hire teachers who are certified and licensed in other states will determine reciprocity conditions – whose scores and what scores they will take to license new teachers.

Institutions of Higher Education are encouraged to provide formative feedback prior to a candidate’s official submission of edTPA materials. The Faculty Feedback feature in the Pearson submission platform (and other vendor platforms) permits a faculty member to view a candidate’s commentaries and video clips, and respond with feedback in accordance with acceptable support guidelines. Such feedback is not a requirement of edTPA.

edTPA is designed to help teacher preparation programs increase their focus on practice by providing a set of standards – developed by teacher educators and teachers and based on the best practices – that support student learning. As a result, the edTPA process will challenge some institutions and alternative route programs to improve their teacher candidate and preparation programs.

It will also provide valid research-based performance data for ongoing program revision. Candidate score profiles, artifacts, and commentaries provide a rich data source for programs to examine how they are preparing quality teachers to respond effectively to varied student learning needs.

Costs Associated with edTPA

The $300 fee for edTPA covers all development costs and operational assessment services associated with the resources and support for implementation, delivery, scoring and reporting of edTPA, as well as customer support service for candidates and faculty. Assessment services also include the recruiting and management of qualified educators who serve as scorers, scoring supervisors, and trainers. Scorers are trained specifically to edTPA rubrics, they use standardized scoring procedures and are calibrated and monitored during scoring.

The fee does not need to be paid directly by the teacher candidate. Some states or programs pay for or subsidize that cost. Some campuses embed the cost of edTPA in a program fee so that students can use financial aid to pay for edTPA. Pearson also has provided an allotment of financial assistance fee waivers to states with a formal agreement to participate in edTPA and that use edTPA for consequential purposes for distribution to candidates with financial need.

If a candidate believes that a score (not a condition code) on one or more rubrics was reported in error, they may submit a request in writing for a score confirmation. Details on the fee, timeline and request process for the score confirmation service are available on edtpa.com.

Security, Video, and edTPA

Pearson and Stanford University have prepared the document, Confidentiality and Security of edTPA Field Test Materials and Assessment Data, to outline comprehensive security and confidentiality policies for candidates, faculty, and Pearson employees.

The classroom and filming angle may be set up to exclude these students from the video without excluding them from instruction.

Candidates may submit video clips recorded while teaching the Learning Segment for edTPA. Each clip must represent a continuous recording of instructional time. In other words, the clips may not be edited.

Candidates choose the video clip(s) that represent subject-specific teaching and learning as designated in their edTPA handbook. Candidates should review their handbook video clip guidelines carefully to determine the portion of recorded classroom teaching that is most appropriate for edTPA submission.

State Policy

After transitioning to operational status in the fall of 2013, the results of edTPA are now available for state licensure or certification, for program completion decisions by institutions or as part of institutional accreditation. As of Fall 2017, 18 states have either adopted statewide policies requiring a performance assessment for aspiring teachers or are actively considering such a step.

The 18 states either with policies in place or considering such policies are Alabama, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Tennessee, Washington, West Virginia, and Wisconsin. Ultimately, however, the long-term expectation is that institutions of higher education, state education boards, and professional-standards boards throughout the United States will adopt edTPA as a mandatory requirement for the award of an education degree and/or for teacher licensure. Today, edTPA is being used by more than 750 educator preparation programs in some 40 states and the District of Columbia.

edTPA is the first and only nationally available, educator-designed, subject-specific performance assessment for beginning teachers. It also is the first to be validated, and built on a deep analysis and understanding of what constitutes effective teaching and learning.

edTPA provides a common metric for program accreditation (state or national) and a common language for talking about teaching across educator preparation programs within and across states. The hallmark of a profession is that there are a common standards that are defined, communicated and enforced through a certification process. edTPA is the first performance-based assessment to be offered nationally to fulfill that goal for beginning teachers.

No assessment has ever been constructed with a broader involvement of professional educators. More than 1,000 educators from 29 states and the District of Columbia and more than 450 institutions of higher education participated in the development work. edTPA was field tested with more than 12,000 candidates. A national design team of teacher educators has informed the work since 2009 and individual subject-specific design teams were convened to develop the handbooks for each of the 27 teaching fields. Design team members included subject-matter organization representatives from higher education and P-12.

Second, similar to the National Board portfolio for accomplished teaching, edTPA is an integrated portfolio and is subject-specific, available in 27 teaching fields, and grade-level appropriate through elementary, middle and secondary schools.

And third, it is fully supported by an engaged professional learning community with specific resources, in full support of candidates and faculty. edTPA provides states and preparation programs with a rich array of resources that support its educative implementation, including webinars and rubric-related support materials to guide candidate preparation and local review, extensive feedback to candidates and programs, and scoring opportunities for school- and university-based faculty.

States are determining their own pathways for implementing edTPA. The following table provides detailed descriptions of how edTPA is being implemented and supported in 18 states, as well as the timelines for phasing in edTPA and the consequences each state is attaching to the assessment.

Download the Descriptions of State Policies here.

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