Gearing Up for the edTPA

Students helped pilot the edTPA program at UWM in 2012-2013.

For Further Reading

Gearing Up for the edTPA – EdLine 2014

The deadline for the Wisconsin teacher candidates to successfully complete the edTPA may have changed, but the SOE’s preparation has only increased.

The educative Teacher Performance Assessment (edTPA) was scheduled to become necessary for teacher candidates’ certifications after August 2015; now it’s August 31, 2016. However, students graduating in fall 2015 and spring 2016 will still take the tests and pay the $300 fee. The tests will not be “consequential” for students at those times – they will not be required for initial licensure – but the results will be of consequence for schools of education, such as the SOE.

Those results will be carefully noted and used by teacher education programs within the SOE to make sure those programs include all the elements that will make their graduates successful. And that’s been the intention of the SOE since fall 2012, when the SOE began preparing for the edTPA’s requirements.

The effort now includes many SOE faculty and staff, and has been led by Angel Hessel, lecturer in Curriculum and Instruction, and Matthew Belskie, educational technology coordinator.

The edTPA – a method to measure students’ readiness for licensure – was created by Stanford University faculty and staff, with advice from teacher educators across the United States, including the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education. Wisconsin is one of 33 states participating in the Teacher Performance Assessment Consortium (TPAC), which includes representatives from state education agencies and more than 90 institutions of higher education.

Teacher candidates will be required to submit evidence of teaching competence drawn from a subject-specific learning segment – three to five lessons from a unit of instruction for one class. The artifacts from these single-subject/multiple measurements will include video clips of instruction, lesson plans, student work samples, analysis of student learning and reflective commentaries.

All the edTPA assessment requirements eventually will be graded by educators in K-12 and higher education faculty who are trained scorers. They will be independent of both Stanford and Pearson Education, the education materials company that will train the scorers nationally and coordinate submissions from student teachers around the country.

The SOE has not been content to simply prepare students for the assessments. Faculty and staff have been working to integrate results of three pilot assessment and evaluation projects with SOE curriculum content and pedagogy.

Four of these pilot programs have been completed and the results assessed: The first was in the fall of 2012 (three students); then spring 2013 ( two students); fall 2013 (28 students), and spring 2014 (60 students). In the fall of 2014-spring 2015, the majority of students in all programs are participating. In the spring of 2014, eleven edTPAs were submitted to Pearson for official scoring. All UWM students who submitted scored at the high end or above of the anticipated pass rate range.

“I think we succeeded in our core goals, which were to understand the evaluation process and how to help our programs get a handle on how they need to prepare for the edTPA’s full implementation,” says Belskie.

Adds Hessel, “The school’s curriculum mapping (based on students’ test assessments) will never stop. Data from edTPA results will always be brought back into our programs. We don’t control what programs do to adjust to this information, because that’s their expertise.”

To better understand the edTPA’s requirements, faculty from SOE and Peck School of the Arts underwent training to learn how to score the edTPA assessment. “We want to make sure we are in alignment with the eventual scoring by Pearson-trained evaluators,” says Hessel.

The SOE pilot projects, along with other preparations, have been funded to a great extent through the SOE alumni Women’s Giving Circle. A grant from this group also paid for the purchase of 28 cameras for SOE students that can be used in the video assessments.

This group also funded training for 41 supervisors in the spring of 2014 and will support advanced faculty training and scoring in fall of 2014.

Belskie and Hessel spent the summer of 2014 developing the next level of faculty support. They created a D2L site called the edTPA Faculty Library. This online resource provided faculty with program- specific resources and all of the materials to embed edTPA requirements in their courses.

Even this deeply into preparation for the edTPA, a number of questions remain to be settled at the national and state level, says Hessel: What will Wisconsin choose as the passing scores for the state’s teacher candidates? After Stanford released results of early field test data in late 2013, it indicated that a passing scoring range of 37 to 42 would be appropriate. Of course, the higher the range, the fewer candidates would be expected to pass the first time.

All teacher candidates can re-take the edTPA, and it is their responsibility to pay for a second attempt.