Why I Score edTPA

Editor’s Note: Tracy Spesia, a nationally trained edTPA scorer, is the recent recipient of an innovation award from the University of Saint Francis for her work on edTPA at the College of Education. According to the university, Spesia’s “creative and successful efforts with the implementation of edTPA have positioned USF as a leader in the state” and have helped enhance “the quality of USF students’ application of theory into practice during their field experiences.” In recognition of her leadership, she was appointed to the Illinois Association for Teacher Education in Private Colleges as the edTPA liaison. Spesia also serves on the executive board of the Illinois Association of Colleges for Teacher Education. Click here for information about becoming an edTPA scorer.

This year I became an official edTPA scorer, and it is one of the most rewarding professional experiences I have had since I started working in the area of teacher preparation.

Certainly, analyzing practice is intrinsic to teaching. I know that my colleagues in higher education and I share a fascination with reflection about content goals, classroom dynamics, the demonstration of skills and knowledge, the assessment of needs and of learning, and how all those pieces come together. This work engages teachers in mind and heart and, because we love teaching, the classroom always calls to us.

As an edTPA scorer, I get to experience that level of reflection—repeatedly.

I “spend time” in classrooms with teacher candidates and their students. I ponder whether a candidate’s choices are maximizing the students’ learning potential. I am inspired by the strong novice teaching performances that, frankly, put my own early teaching to shame. I see exemplars of effective teaching as well as teaching that is simply not getting the job done. There is a certainly a difference, and scoring gives me the opportunity to witness that over and over again.

It turns out that scoring is an immediate and engaging way to grow as a professional educator. It provides a common ground to discuss best practices with my colleagues, whose numbers have expanded well beyond the walls of my institution.

Since I have been involved with edTPA at the scoring level, I have instant points of reference with professional educators from all over the country. Specifically in my state, as we develop implementation initiatives, the edTPA scoring process has opened up levels of professional collaboration to me that are stimulating and worthwhile.

As an edTPA scorer, I work to forward the great cause that was the reason I became a teacher—that is, student learning—and I am able to sharpen my professional skills and knowledge in the process.

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Tracy Spesia

Field Experience Coordinator, College of Education, University of Saint Francis, Joliet, IL