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edTPA: Going Beyond Compliance to Inquiry

AACTE Breakfast Was Forum for Discussion

Nearly 300 educators from around the country packed a February 28 breakfast session at the AACTE Annual Meeting in Atlanta to get updates and ask questions about edTPA. The conversation addressed questions about regional scoring, the line between helping students and coaching them on their edTPA portfolios, and other issues.

First, though, teacher educators were congratulated for their role in edTPA’s progress. They also were reminded that for edTPA to be a meaningful assessment for educator preparation programs and teacher candidates, it must be about more than compliance.

“Some 650 colleges and universities are having conversations about teaching and learning. We are talking about how edTPA could make a difference and go beyond compliance to inquiry,” said Ray Pecheone, executive director, Stanford Center for Assessment, Learning, and Equity (SCALE). “That takes collaboration. It’s great to see this community making that happen.”

Pecheone invited attendees to consider being part of the edTPA National Academy. Launched in January, the National Academy is a group of nearly 100 higher education faculty and administrators who are edTPA experts and are available to help states and programs with edTPA implementation.

He shared that an edTPA summary report will be released this spring to provide an update on edTPA use and scoring patterns. Acknowledging that he’s still asked about edTPA’s validity and reliability, Pecheone said, “I think we’ve gone the extra mile. edTPA is probably the most scrutinized assessment in the nation. It has met national standards and state standards. If we haven’t hit every psychometrician in the country to review our data, we will soon.”

Pecheone underscored the importance of continued research and added that SCALE will work with any state that can connect preservice data to teachers in order to do longitudinal studies on the relationships among edTPA, teaching effectiveness, and student performance.

Pecheone was joined at the breakfast by Andrea Whittaker, director of teacher performance assessment at SCALE. Together they described opportunities for regional scoring, which will allow faculty at colleges and universities to score some portion of their own edTPA portfolios or those of neighboring universities. “This is a tremendous learning opportunity,” Whittaker said. “We’ve heard from many faculty members that this is the best professional development they’ve had.” More information on this topic will be available to states and programs later this spring.

The conversation then turned to the audience for questions, which are reflected below along with the answers from Pecheone and Whittaker.

How can program faculty support their candidates without crossing the line to inappropriately coaching them?

Pecheone and Whittaker acknowledged that drawing the line is not always easy, but they encouraged faculty not to hold back advice or counsel to candidates. They cautioned faculty not to rewrite candidate commentaries, but to steer them back to the rubrics to help candidates understand them and to use the rubrics to guide rich conversations about instruction and learning. “Holding back your input would be a huge mistake. This is about raising the bar so teachers are ready to teach from Day 1,” Pecheone said.

Whittaker also clarified that there is no requirement to provide feedback on drafts. “Offering formative feedback along the way is the best opportunity to support students,” she said. “However, you cannot edit. You cannot suggest different answers.”

More information on appropriate and inappropriate support is available here.

Why is regional scoring being allowed?

Pecheone clarified that this has long been a goal for edTPA. “If a program wants to test reliability of scoring, they have the opportunity to compare national scores with regional scoring. The ultimate purpose is for this to be educative.”

Pecheone noted there will be compensation for training and scoring, and that local scorers must meet the same qualifications and certification as national scorers. “There is no leniency for local scoring,” he added. “We want to provide an option that is defensible and produces reliable scores.”

How are edTPA rubrics aligned with standards from CAEP’s specialized professional associations (SPAs)?

edTPA has been developed by design teams with subject-area expertise, including SPA representatives. SCALE has been working with the SPA groups to develop crosswalks between their pedagogical standards and edTPA rubrics for over a year, and some SPAs have posted the crosswalks to their web sites, Whittaker said. For example, the Association of Middle Level Educators has posted crosswalks indicating that edTPA provides evidence for all their standards and elements. She added that conversations with the SPAs and subject-matter organizations are ongoing in order to ensure that edTPA aligns with the student learning and pedagogical standards of the 27 teaching fields assessed by edTPA.

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Linda McKee

Sr. Director for Performance Measurement and Assessment Policy