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Member Voices: Insights From AACTE Workshop Inform Use of edTPA for Developing Equitable Teaching Practice

The views expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect the views of AACTE.

At the College of Education at Minnesota State University, Mankato (MNSU), our strategic vision is to inspire lifelong learning and professional engagement through racial consciousness, social justice, and inclusion within a global context. Our collective energy as a faculty is spent engaging in conversations, professional development, and research to ensure that our instructional approaches foster cultural proficiency in our teacher candidates.

To enhance that collective learning, several MNSU faculty attended the “edTPA and Equity” strand during the August AACTE Quality Support Workshop held in Minneapolis. The sessions, facilitated by teams of local teacher educators and national experts, examined how edTPA constructs address equitable teaching and learning practices and considered how candidates can engage in the assessment as a reflective opportunity to learn about equitable teaching practices.

As a result of this participatory learning at the AACTE workshop, MNSU faculty are now able to provide professional development for their colleagues as well as incorporate the practice of developing equitable instructional practices with their teacher candidates.

The edTPA cycle of effective teaching begins with the context for learning and getting to know the students; from there, all planning, instruction, and assessment should be justified through that asset lens. We know that a focus on developing personal cultural proficiency impacts our candidates’ ability to plan for differentiated, equitable instruction and assessment. That enhanced cultural competency is directly reflected in their success with edTPA. (In fact, the Minnesota State Board of Teaching recently recognized the MNSU College of Education as having the highest overall edTPA scores in the state.)

The key to this success is that edTPA is deeply embedded in all of our work. Our elementary program faculty chose to utilize edTPA to analyze the program quality for our university’s assessment of student learning, and we have identified it as one of our core assessments for state-level accreditation. edTPA provides us with a comprehensive view of how our candidates demonstrate knowledge and skills in planning effective lessons and assessments that meet the needs of diverse learners, enacting equitable instruction, and assessing student learning through an asset lens at the end of the program.

Our message to our candidates is simple: Understanding the edTPA cycle of effective teaching not only prepares them to succeed on the assessment, but is best practice for student learning. The AACTE Quality Support Workshop gave us new practices and tools to best teach that cycle.

Lori Piowlski is associate professor in the Department of Elementary and Early Childhood Education; Elizabeth S. Finsness is director of the Office of Field and International Experience; and Karen Colum is associate professor of STEM education/elementary mathematics and chair of the Department of Elementary and Early Childhood at MNSU.

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Lori Piowlski

Minnesota State University, Mankato

Elizabeth S. Finsness

Minnesota State University, Mankato

Karen Colum

Minnesota State University, Mankato