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Teacher Performance Assessment

The Teacher Performance Assessment: What and Why?

In January, 2012, candidates in Washington teacher preparation programs began field testing a new way of assessing readiness to teach—the Teacher Performance Assessment (TPA). With the completion of the field test (spring 2012), the TPA will now officially be called the edTPA. The edTPA, a classroom-based assessment administered during the student teaching experience, focuses on core teaching skills. By 2013, the edTPA will be required for graduates of Washington teacher preparation programs to earn state certification. Here’s what you need to know….

Key features

  • The edTPA is being developed in collaboration with Stanford University and Pearson Testing, and will meet psychometric standards for validity and reliability
  • The edTPA will assess teacher candidates in the P-12 classroom, not on paper or on campus
  • The edTPA will include written documents, video clips, samples of P-12 student work, and written reflections
  • The edTPA will be submitted and scored electronically
  • The edTPA will be scored by P-12 educators, university faculty, and others with appropriate credentials and experience in the subject being taught
  • The edTPA will be a national assessment, allowing the performance of Washington candidates to be benchmarked against prospective teachers in other states

What the edTPA will tell us

Planning. What is the evidence that candidates can use knowledge of content and student characteristics to plan effective instruction centered on state learning goals?

Instruction. What is the evidence that candidates can actively engage students in learning academic content?

Assessment. What is the evidence that candidates can analyze student learning in order to provide feedback and plan the next steps in instruction, and change teaching practices?

Academic language. What is the evidence that the candidate can analyze the language demands of academic content and provide appropriate scaffolding based on students’ language development?

Student voice. What is the evidence that candidates can engage students in understanding the learning targets and monitoring their own progress toward the goals?

Why it’s important

The edTPA is being developed at a time when educators and policymakers are searching for better ways of assessing teacher performance. When fully implemented, the edTPA will provide a valid and reliable classroom-based assessment of key instructional skills among preservice teachers, and will serve a number of purposes:

  • Helping determine readiness for certification
  • Providing guidance to prospective teachers on their professional development needs
  • Offering useful feedback to teacher preparation programs

The edTPA is substantially aligned with state and national standards for teachers. While not a direct test of content knowledge, it supports the Common Core State Standards by emphasizing instruction that is focused, coherent, and centered on student learning aligned with state goals.

The edTPA is intended to establish a national framework for assessment of preservice teachers that will inform educational reform efforts. Currently, over 20 states are considering use of this assessment. Washington is a lead state in this effort, and is on track to become the first state in the nation to fully implement it.

If you’d like more information about the assessment, go here:

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