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SCALE, UNC System Showcase Use of edTPA Rubrics in Induction Coaching

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


The Stanford Center for Assessment, Learning, and Equity (SCALE) partnered with the University of North Carolina (UNC) System to present at the 2018 AACTE Annual Meeting in Baltimore a unique model of using edTPA rubric constructs. The team showcased how edTPA’s critical dimensions of teaching (planning, instruction, and assessment) apply to the instructional coaching of novice teachers during teacher induction, with a trajectory for growth through teacher leadership and beyond. The March 1 presentation included a brief overview of the professional growth plan used in preservice preparation and how it can be used after teacher candidates graduate.

SCALE Director of Teacher Performance Assessment Andrea Whittaker and I led the “perspectives” session, where teacher educator audience members participated in technology-based polling to brainstorm ways to use the professional growth plan beyond preservice preparation and through induction. Mark L’Esperance, East Carolina University (ECU) professor, department chair, and regional project director, showcased a co-constructed instructional coaching framework aligned with all 15 edTPA rubric constructs and how it is used throughout North Carolina’s colleges of education to provide teacher induction support.

UNC Charlotte Clinical Associate Professor and Regional Project Director Misty Hathcock shared the most commonly used edTPA rubric constructs during induction to address beginning teacher needs, including engaging students in learning (Rubric 7), learning environment (Rubric 6), and planning for varied student needs (Rubric 2). April Shackelford, ECU’s lead instructional coach, presented vignettes about teachers from the field. Shackleford provided examples of evidence coaches gather, such as video clips, lesson plans, and student work, to inform coaching decisions that help teachers become more effective. Both Hathcock and Shackleford described how coaches engage in ongoing case studies about their work with teachers to improve their coaching practices aligned with edTPA rubrics.

Patrick Conetta, director of the North Carolina New Teacher Support Program (NC NTSP) for the UNC System, highlighted the unique university-school partnerships that support 1,300 beginning teachers statewide in 250 schools and 53 school districts, through nine UNC colleges of education:

  • Appalachian State University
  • East Carolina University
  • North Carolina State University
  • UNC Chapel Hill
  • UNC Charlotte
  • UNC Greensboro
  • UNC Pembroke
  • UNC Wilmington
  • Western Carolina University

While the presentation was focused mostly on instructional coaching, Conetta further provided a description of all three NC NTSP core services: (1) institute “boot camp;” (2) district-aligned professional development; and (3) intentional, individualized instructional coaching.

The NC NTSP’s mission is to raise student achievement by improving beginning teacher effectiveness and retention. In a matched comparison, NC NTSP participants have higher teacher retention rates than their nonparticipating peers. More than 91% of participating teachers return to the classroom, compared to 85% of their nonparticipating peers. NC NTSP participants have higher teacher evaluation ratings and are more likely to have higher value-added scores in student learning growth than their nonparticipating peers in the matched comparison.

The NC NTSP began as a Race to the Top grant and has been sustained since 2015 by the NC General Assembly with legislative funding because of its outcomes on increased teacher retention, increased teacher effectiveness, and increased student achievement. School districts opt to participate in the work led by their regionally based UNC System institution’s college of education and contribute a portion of the cost for the services. The NC NTSP serves beginning teachers during their first 3 years of teaching in schools with traditionally high teacher attrition and with high percentages of beginning teachers. Nearly 75% of participating teachers are from rural school districts, and about 64% of the schools have high percentages of minority populations.

All 40 of the NC NTSP’s instructional coaches have completed the edTPA Local Evaluation training. In addition, NC NTSP partnered with SCALE in 2017 to develop a unique, deeper level of training, led by SCALE, for NC NTSP instructional coaches on understanding edTPA rubric constructs in coaching contexts. SCALE and NC NTSP continue to work together to help coaches examine artifacts with embedded evidence to drive coaching conversations in the classroom. SCALE also consults with the NC NTSP on “look-fors” aligned with edTPA rubrics during teacher induction. This unique partnership has sparked national conversations about university-based teacher induction and has generated interest in expanding university-school partnerships.

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Bryan S. Zugelder

Assistant Professor, Department of Elementary & Middle Grades Education, East Carolina University