Whatever happened to edTPA? It’s still here and still messed up.


A few years ago I posted tons of stuff on the pre-teaching certification program called edTPA.

Here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and you can you can use my blog search feature to find more.

edTPA is back, still messed up and in the news.

Sort of.

From a new article on edTPA in Education Week’s Teacher:

The test results are not always reliable or precise, and in fact, can be “misleading.”

And the researchers argue that until these issues are further analyzed and resolved, there should be a moratorium on using edTPA scores for high-stakes decisions for individual teachers. 

The assessment, which teacher-preparation programs must use in 18 states, requires teacher-candidates to submit a portfolio of materials for review, including a series of lesson plans, a video of themselves teaching, and a written analysis of their instructional practice. The study, published in the American Educational Research Journal, analyzed the technical properties of edTPA scores, using data from 2013 to 2018. 

EdTPA is the first standards-based assessment for teacher-candidates to become nationally available, and is meant to ensure that new teachers are effective from day one. It was developed by prominent teacher-educator Linda Darling-Hammond and other researchers at the Stanford Center for Assessment, Learning, and Equity (SCALE) starting in 2009, and the exam rolled out in 2013-14 after two years of pilot testing.

EdTPA covers 27 different subjects and grade levels. The assessments are structured across three main teaching tasks (planning, instruction, and assessment), and each task has about five associated rubrics. In most cases, one person scores the entire porfolio for any given teacher-candidate. 


 The edTPA is administered by Pearson.


The paper argues for serious consideration to be given to a moratorium on using edTPA scores for high-stakes individual decisions until more evidence regarding the reliability, precision, and validity of the scores is gathered and analyzed. 


Since its inception in 2009, edTPA has generated controversy. The assessment was developed in order to set a high, nationally recognized standard for what competencies teacher-candidates are expected to demonstrate in order to achieve a teaching certificate. 

But others take issue with the high-stakes nature of the exam, and argue that it’s forcing colleges of education to teach to the test. Also, teacher-candidates of color tend to score lower on the edTPA than their white peers, and some argue that the exam, which costs $300 to take, is keeping talented teachers out of the profession. And some worry that the tests are vulnerable to cheating

A study published last year asked teacher-candidates how they perceived the assessment process. Some said they thought the test helped them reflect on their practice, develop effective assessments, and analyze student data, while 40 percent said the edTPA didn’t help them grow at all as educators. 

Research has been mixed on whether passing the exam actually correlates with being an effective teacher. A 2016 study found that teacher-candidates who passed the test on the first try tended to boost their students’ reading scores more in their first year of teaching than those who didn’t. But passing the exam didn’t bear any relationship to students’ math scores. 

2 thoughts on “Whatever happened to edTPA? It’s still here and still messed up.

  1. I had a close encounter with EdTPA involving a test for a California music-teaching credential. My assessment is: A key element is measuring the applicant’s ability to BS eloquently and convey culturally sensitive meaningfulness while blathering at sufficient length to satisfy some test-scorer.

    In my view, the ability to BS eloquently and blather convincingly should actually not be a top-priority characteristic in a teacher.

    I think that’s actually culturally biased, since in my view some cultures (including mine) are more likely to nurture the ability to BS and blather than others. Also, a fair degree of entitlement is valuable in empowering effective BSing and blathering, so we can see how this disadvantages the less-entitled.

  2. Hopefully this new research study will give us the ammunition to get rid of edTPA, one state at a time. There are many of us fighting to remove the yoke of this poorly written, poorly conceived test, that really does test ability to write what you are told more than anything to do with teaching. It’s great that this blog is part of the F-edTPA Revolution (the F stands for Fight!)

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