Why edTPA is a really bad idea. Stop the Pearson takeover of Illinois student teacher certification.

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edTPA is an onerous and un-tested teacher performance assessment, marketed by Pearson (of PARCC test fame). The ISBE has voted to use it as the sole instrument for determining teacher certification for student teachers after P.A.97-060/105ILCS 5/Section 21B-30(f) was passed by the General Assembly.

Many teacher educators around the state are against the use of edTPA. Here are some reasons why you should be too. Please work to change this rule.

  • No research has proved that a online narrative and videotape submitted to a private company in order to evaluate a teacher candidate’s readiness for certification is more reliable than traditional student teacher evaluations done by field instructors and cooperating teachers. edTPA IS NOT BETTER.
  • The edTPA costs student teachers $300 to submit. If the teacher candidatefails a section of the assessment, he or she must pay additionally for remediation and new submissions.
  • edTPA IS AN ADDED EXPENSE FOR TEACHER CANDIDATES.  The artificial demands of the edTPA will actually distract and interfere with real tasks teachers tackle every day in their real classes. It requires a lengthy electronic portfolio including extensive narratives and videotapes. The student teacher must obtain video equipment and parent permissions. edTPA DISTRACTS TEACHER CANDIDATES FROM THE REAL WORK OF STUDENT TEACHING.
  • The videos submitted by student teachers contain student images, and although parental permission is required, they are already showing up on You Tube. Pearson also reserves the right to use submitted videos for their own purposes. edTPA JEOPARDIZES STUDENT PRIVACY
  • The edTPA is a summative assessment of a formative experience. The state law only requires “an evidence-based assessment of teacher effectiveness.” edTPA might better evaluate teachers for tenure or master teacher status. Only 2 other states use it for licensure. edTPA DOES NOT MEASURE WHAT THE LAW IS INTENDED TO ACCOMPLISH.
  • The state statue only calls for an “evidence based assessment.” The ISBE, which wrote the legislation, very quickly created a rule requiring Pearson’s product as that assessment. State Supt. Koch enjoyed several expensive trips during this period. edTPA IS THE RESULT OF A NO-BID CONTRACT BY THE ISBE WITH PEARSON PUBLISHING.

For more information:

Illinois Coalition for edTPA Rule Change- http://icrchange.weebly.com. Sandy Deines at sandradeines@gmail.com

15 thoughts on “Why edTPA is a really bad idea. Stop the Pearson takeover of Illinois student teacher certification.

  1. Why doesn’t the IEA organize against this? Seems to be a winner issue that members would get behind. Perhaps a moratorium on being a cooperating teacher?

  2. Why haven’t we heard from the IEA? They gave Chris Koch the “friend of education” award at this year’s RA. The NEA Foundation regularly accepts millions from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The NEA Foundation gave the Pearson Foundation (now defunct due to corruption) an award for collaboration a few years ago. No wonder we haven’t heard boo from the IEA.

      1. A sad state of affairs as our teacher unions sing, dance, and skip merrily, hand-in-hand with the corporate deformers on so many issues like this, killing the teaching profession. I guess it’s going to have to get so much worse before people wake up.

  3. Here we go again…Another corporation that purports to “be in the best interest of making education and teaching better.” Just another money-grab that takes money away from where it would most beneficial — the classroom. Today’s lesson is sponsored by the letter “P” … as in profit. It’s this continuing insanity that sickens me. When are educators and sensible lawmakers going to say, “ENOUGH!!!”

  4. I disagree with most of this. edTPA is a good assessment, founded on decades of research. It is much better than the former “APT” exam, a multiple choice exam for all of pre-k-12 teacher candidates on pedagogical practice. edTPA actually gives candidates a way to showcase what they know and can do. The rubrics are well-defined and based on pedagogical foundations. The only thing I find not to like about it is the high cost for candidates and the Pearson scoring. But, Illinois did not have a workforce of well-calibrated and trained performance assessment scorers ready to take this on. Before you get on the bandwagon of haters, consider reading the assessment handbook, and suggesting an alternative that is better if you have one.

    1. “But, Illinois did not have a workforce of well-calibrated and trained performance assessment scorers ready to take this on.” All you need to know that edTPA is a bad idea.

  5. Certainly ed TPA is based on decades of research, but its imposition on the aspiring teacher, cooperating teacher, and especially the recipients of our teaching ‘the youth’ is extremely negative. We are burdening our aspiring teachers with mountains of writing when they should be focused on teaching. I have seen our aspiring teachers so burdened with responding to the endless writing tasks of ed TPA some start taking medications to reduce stress. And how does this stress affect our children? An interesting question to ask. I have yet to hear anything substantially positive from an aspiring teacher about the impact of the ed TPA instrument on teaching. Our children, aspiring teachers, cooperating teachers have become little more than fodder for cooperate America. One cooperating veteran teacher stated emphatically “90% of the joy of teaching is gone with the imposition of endless standards”. EdTPA is just one more example of the corporate world seeking profit. One of my favorite parts of edTPA is how a teacher deepens knowledge of students. Of course how do we measure the deepening of knowledge? A standardized instrument would measure this with analyzing the student’s memory of what Michal Apple would call “official knowledge”. Still little more than a memory recall type of question that is easily measurable and quantifiable if one forgets that each question on a standardized instrument must be equivalent in significance, cognitive level or creative innovative analysis of formal operational thinking, to rise to the lowest level of nominal data. Piaget recognized the perils and limitations of pretending quantitative data on ordinal measrues can magically be transformed into parametric data.

    I would estimate that over 95% of published research is based on standardized instruments measuring the lowest levels, according to Bloom’s taxonomy, of subjects cognitive achievement. As Piaget once stated, “To Understand, is to Invent”. To truly enter into, and assess, a humans higher level cognitive functioning one has to enter into the subjects culture, personality type, motivational processes, decision/problem solving processes, and current functioning to address how a subject addresses cognitive disequilibrium’s within the subjects world. Another interesting research question is what are the longitudinal implications of positing standardized instruments as the goal of education, therefore assessing humans at the lowest levels of Bloom’s taxonomy. Perhaps Zhao’s analysis of the world entering into a fog is here now.

  6. I am in the process of student teaching as well as trying to meet the extreme rigor of this Edtpa requirement. It is so far 35 pages single spaced worth of work. Endless hours to photo and edit documents as proof of works. Hours upon hours to read the handbook to try to understand what is expected. I think there are 14 rubrics for this monster that we should be referring too while working to perfect this beast. In addition there are hours upon hours of video clips for us to be lucky enough to be able to watch for tips on how to do this Etpa garbage. Hours to set up a site for it all and taking and splicing video clips that match content requirements in addition to the strict time requirements . Additional time is spent trying to load the photos and video clips to the proper sites in the proper format. All of this is due during the 9 weeks of my first student teaching placement which includes becoming active with school events, and staff meetings after school. I am having difficulty getting any sleep trying to meet my teaching requirements in addition to these Edtpa requirements. I am too exhausted to absorb my student teaching, or my Edtpa so what is the point of it all?? I am not able to do any of it well under this kind of pressure. Most of us students are completely exhausted, and extremely stressed out. I also have two courses a week for my student teaching requirement to fit in here. I am not paid during my 18 weeks of student teaching and I have a home and a family to care for, so the 300 dollar fee is enormous for me, then if I have to repay this its going to be the thing that breaks me in the end. I have passed the praxis 1 the praxis 2 the reading foundations and now must pass this. I am completely burnt out before I ever get to apply for a teaching position.

    1. This is exactly how I feel! Most of my planning time at student teaching is spent working on edTPA. I feel I do not have time to truly absorb student teaching. I feel I am doing a disservice to my students because I have to focus on this 10x more than I can focus on them. Not to mention I am having to do my research for my capstone at the exact same time, as well as another class. The $300 fee is ridiculous when so much of it goes straight into a private company’s pockets! I have to keep telling myself, “All you need is ten 2s and five 3s and you’ll pass! It does NOT have to be perfect!” because the passing score is 35 right now. I feel terrible for teachers in future years because this is the second year of it for my state, and our year is still kind of a guinea pig, so the passing score will be raised in the future!

  7. Teaching is perhaps one of the most noble occupations. The dedication, time, preparation, and responsibility most teachers demonstrate are too often taken granted. Now the opportunity to turn ‘teaching’ into a corporate windfall demands greater scrutiny — ‘follow the money’ should be the first means of evaluating such an ominous standard. It is only reasonable to be cautious — lobbying and high ‘profit’ potential are two bad ingredients when designing a ‘gate-keeper’ for future teachers.

  8. As a student teacher in the throes of this monstrosity, I can vouch for the fact that it is a cumbersome, nightmare inducing single-spaced 11 point arial nightmare that does nothing to prepare me for being a teacher. There is a notable and well understood difference by student teachers, professors, and cooperating teachers between real teaching and edTPA teaching. In short, edTPA has been the worst part of my year.

  9. As a person who fell through the cracks in the formal education “foundation”,I am forced to wonder how many dedicated, innovative and potentially very effective Teachers are being lost through the Corporatization of Education?

    I am forced to wonder how many more potentially successful students will be left behind or,like me, drop out of school because one simple and possibly most important element of education is not measured or appreciated by “testing”?…that important element or factor known as compassion.

    How is the ability to recognize the troubled student measured?

    What test determines a Teacher’s ability to connect with a student’s imagination?

    What is the name of the test a Teacher must pass to measure that Teacher’s ability to reach out to any given student with innovative strategies designed in non-traditional forms?

    What test will measure the loss incurred by society when a potentially successful student loses interest in school and instead is lost to the streets…and then, subsequently, attends The School of Crime…I often wonder?

    If I had three wishes…they would be the same…I wish I had “connected” to a particular Teacher who cared about my education.

    I can almost hear people thinking I failed in school…that is most certainly true…Schooling takes two…but I would argue the greater responsibility lies with the Teacher’s ability to engage his/her students.

    Testing Teacher’s rote memory says nothing about their ability to light the spark that leads to a love of learning.

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