Teacher educators continue to speak out against edPTA. this is an assessment of teacher performance that will be administered by Pearson.
Here is a critique by Julie Gorlewski, a teacher educator at SUNY, New Paltz, New York.
The edTPA is a standardized assessment of teaching that is being required in many states, including New York State as of May 2014, for teacher certification. The edTPA is being marketed as a way to “professionalize” the field of education, a contention that is deeply insulting to those of us who have dedicated our lives to the art and craft of teaching. The edTPA will be administered during student teaching. It is a high-stakes assessment because certification depends on its successful completion. This assessment has raised concerns of teachers and teacher educators for several reasons:
Although its initial versions were developed at Stanford, the instrument is being sold and administered by Pearson, Inc. It is expected to cost candidates around $300.
Assessments will not be scored by teacher educators; they will be scored by temporary workers paid about $75 per exam. These scorers are not allowed to know the teacher candidates, nor are they to be affiliated with the community in which student teaching occurs. These conditions negate the importance of relationships in the development of teaching, preferring the pretense of objectivity over trust, authenticity, and cultural responsiveness.
The assessment requires that candidates submit videos of themselves in K-12 teaching situations. This means that Pearson will own videos of young people who have student teachers in their classrooms. This is being implemented without widespread knowledge or consent of parents in states where edTPA is being mandated.
Will the edTPA affect the experience of learning to teach? You bet it will. A recent conversation I had with a student in our teacher education program highlights the potential effects of this assessment. Joel, who is enrolled in my undergraduate Introduction to Curriculum and Assessment course approached me after class and asked if I had time to talk. He was excited and concerned. He was excited because the teacher he had been assigned to for Fieldwork I, where students spend 35 hours observing and participating in secondary settings, had invited him to student teach with her. Because he had tremendous respect and admiration for this teacher, Joel was thrilled by the opportunity. But he was also worried, so worried that he hesitated to accept the offer.
Joel was apprehensive about completing the edTPA in this school. It is an urban environment in a community noted for poverty and gang activity. He had forged relationships with the young people in the school, as well as several faculty members there, but the judgment of an objective scorer who might not understand if the classroom was not filled with compliant, well-behaved learners had made my student hesitate. My heart sank.
I encouraged Joel to follow his heart and reassured him that the edTPA scorers would appreciate the diverse experiences of teacher candidates in a range of settings. I reassured Joel because I have faith in him, in his mentor teacher, and in the relationships they will form with their students. I have no such faith in Pearson, and I fear the consequences of its corporate incursions into education. But I will not allow fear to triumph over optimism, nor will I allow anonymity to erase relationships. The possibilities of education are intensely human and cannot be reduced to a number.
Julie A. Gorlewski, Ph.D.
Department of Secondary Education
Incoming Co-Editor of English Journal
SUNY New Paltz
800 Hawk Drive
Old Main 321B
New Paltz, NY 12561