Responding to my minutes from today’s S.O.R.E. meeting:
As a Coordinator of Clinical Experiences, I receive ample feedback on the deterrent edTPA can be to a positive and profitable experience for pre-service teachers.
First of all, I oversee the experience of Traditional and non-traditional students during their professional semester (student teaching). Across the board, all candidates have traditionally, and still currently experience high stress levels, and huge learning curves during their student teaching semester. In order to better prepare future teachers there have been amazing initiatives wihin the last 20 years, like year long Professional Development Schools.
These alternative programs, put into place in partnerships between universities and school districts have recognized the benefit of more time, feedback from master teachers, and opportunities for diverse experiences. Now, Pearson comes along pushing for a consequential assessment that’s been added to the candidate’s already overwhelming load, And most candidates (typically 21 – 22 years old) have to “get it” all twithin a 14 – 15 week timeframe. Pearson and others try to pretend that it is for the good of the student teacher and of the profession. Ridiculous!
The cooperating teacher’s wisdom of practice applied to daily formal and informal observations of a teacher candidate, benefit the candidate with practical feedback and that promotes an environment of continual growth, is ignored from an evaluative standpoint.
Also, the breadth of experience of university supervisors who have been career educators is ignored in favor of a complex assessment that is de-contextualized and evaluated by unknown persons with who knows what for credentials. And what have these time honored evaluatory systems been replaced by? The anser is a three task process that puts heavy weight on written responses and requires videotaping of public school students in a day and time when man parents are not allowing their children’s pictures to even be posted in the hallways next to their classrooms.
In my mind the same outcry of test bias toward minority candidates that was leveled against the National Board Teacher Certification process should be raised toward the edTPA. I’ve seen how varying states and districts have bent over backwards in providing support to the self-selected NBTC candidates, as it’s become more prestigious for districts to post statistics of high percentages of NBTC teachers. And yet our state, among others (is pushing this similar process, that benefits Pearson alone) is now placing a similarly heavy burden on a pre-service teacher, who have no choice, are at the beginning of their skills development, and they’ve made it consequential to their lisencure.
ISBE – good intentions? Maybe.
Pearson – monetary profit? Definitely!