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Teacher Performance Assessment

Secondary History/Social Studies


The Washington Teacher Performance Assessment (WTPA) is being developed as the Washington version of a nationally available assessment of readiness to teach for novices. The national assessment is focused on student learning and is designed around the principles applied by successful teachers:

  • Develop knowledge of subject matter and subject-specific pedagogy.
  • Develop and apply knowledge of students’ varied needs.
  • Consider research and theory about how students learn.
  • Reflect and act on evidence of the effects of their instruction on student learning.

The Washington version adds a state emphasis of involving students in their own learning process and providing student-voice evidence. As a performance-based assessment, the Washington TPA is designed to engage candidates in demonstrating their understanding of teaching and student learning in authentic, experiential ways.

As a participant in this assessment, you will have an opportunity to develop a collection of materials that represents the ways in which you impact student learning in your “student teaching” classroom or other instructional settings. When developing your materials, you will be prompted to synthesize what you have learned throughout your preparation program and apply it with the students you currently teach. Your Teacher Performance Assessment (TPA) evidence will demonstrate your current abilities, knowledge, and skills as a beginning teacher on your way to becoming a highly accomplished teacher.

Summary of Tasks

In this assessment, you will describe, analyze, and evaluate the teaching of a series of 3–5 history/social studies lessons referred to as a learning segment. Consistent with the recommendations of the National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS), your learning segment should include a variety of methods for actively engaging students in learning and for assessing their understandings of the knowledge, intellectual processes, and democratic dispositions required of students to be active and engaged participants in public life. The learning segment should address one or more of the themes found in the NCSS framework and focus on inquiry and interpretation. Throughout the learning segment, your instruction should provide opportunities for students to learn and use facts, concepts, as well as interpretations and analyses of sources to make and explain claims/arguments about a significant historical event, topic/theme or social studies phenomenon.

You will complete three tasks for edTPA assessment:

  1. Planning Instruction and Assessment
  2. Instructing and Engaging Students in Learning
  3. Assessing Student Learning

Evidence of Teaching Practice: Artifacts and Commentaries

To complete the assessment, you will submit artifacts and commentaries as evidence of how you planned and implemented instruction to deepen student learning in history/social studies. Artifacts represent authentic work completed by you and your students. These include lesson plans, copies of instructional and assessment materials, video clips of your teaching, student-voice evidence, and student work samples.

The commentaries are your opportunity to describe your artifacts, explain the rationale behind their use, collect student-voice evidence about their learning progress, and analyze and reflect on what you’ve learned about your teaching practice and your students’ learning. In each commentary, you will respond to prompts to provide evidence of what you know and understand about your students and their learning. Note that although your writing ability will not be scored directly, commentaries must be clearly written and well focused.

When preparing your artifacts and commentaries, refer to the rubrics frequently to guide your thinking, planning, and writing. Refer to the Secondary History/Social Studies Evidence Chart for information about how your evidence should be formatted for electronic submission.

Evaluation Criteria

The evidence you submit will be judged on six dimensions of teaching:

  1. Planning
  2. Instruction
  3. Assessment
  4. Analyzing Teaching
  5. Academic Language
  6. Student Voice

Evidence for the planning, instruction, assessment, and analyzing teaching dimensions will come from the corresponding tasks. Evidence for the academic language dimension will come from the Planning and either the Instruction or Assessment tasks. Evidence for the student-voice dimension will come from all tasks.

The rubrics used to score your performance on the TPA are included in the handbook and are linked electronically to each task. The descriptors in the five-level rubrics address a wide range of performance representing the knowledge and skills of a novice not ready to teach (Level 1) to the advanced practices of a highly accomplished beginner (Level 5).

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