Michael J. Ludwig is a professor of specialized program in education at Hofstra University in New York. He prepares teachers. He wrote this letter to Pearson and invited me to post it, without his student’s name.



Dear edTPA,


Where do I begin?


  • With the fact that I have over 30 years’ experience in health education that includes work as a teacher at the middle school, high school, and higher education levels?


  • With the fact that I have three degrees (BS, MS, PhD) in health education but apparently I can’t be trusted to judge whether or not someone is prepared to lead a health education classroom?


  • With the fact that the art and craft of teaching has been reduced to a series of bureaucratic measurements done by someone who has never met the aspiring teacher?


  • With the fact that while I was intensely skeptical of edTPA from the start, I worked diligently to “get up to speed” and revised our curriculum and program to meet the demands of edTPA despite the fact that the vast majority of our master’s degree students are already certified and do not have to submit a portfolio?


  • With the fact that the way New York State rolled out edTPA is now viewed as a textbook case of how NOT to do it?


  • With the fact that a high stakes decision such as teacher licensing is decided by a Pearson employee who has never met and will never meet the candidates submitting their edTPA portfolio?


  • With the fact that my 2 years of work with health education teacher candidates no longer has any bearing on whether or not they are able to get licensed to teach in New York State?


  • With the fact that despite the cooperating teachers’ beliefs at my students’ field work placements that my students were progressing appropriately and were on track to become master teachers counts for nothing?


  • With the fact that edTPA scorers are not required to have experience as classroom teachers?


  • With the fact that edTPA scorers are paid a paltry $75 to decide whether or not a candidate is allowed to realize a dream?



With the fact that despite all my misgivings, I registered to become a health education scorer for Pearson’s edTPA so as to better be able to provide support to my health education students?


As I’m certain you will not address all the previous questions (which are posed rhetorically), I will attempt to provide some context for this note by answering this last question. I am currently employed by Pearson to become a health education edTPA scorer. I have not completed my training and have come to realize even more than I first believed, that the entire edTPA process is a fraud that I will no longer participate in. However, humor me and let me provide some background:


I scored the first health education practice portfolio and was told during the subsequent webinar that I was the best scorer they had worked with to date. I was told that I hit the majority of the rubrics with the score that was expected and the few that I didn’t get exactly were adjacent. As the demands of the semester increased, I never got around to scoring and submitting the second practice portfolio. One of the demands I was facing was to support a candidate during her student teaching.


I supported my current candidate (xxxxxxxxxx) as she designed, implemented, and evaluated three consecutive lessons on stress management for her edTPA portfolio where we both used the “Thinking Behind the Rubrics” as our guide and were confident that no rubric was below a three and that most of them should have earned a four or five.


I followed edTPA’s guidelines for appropriate candidate support but frankly I’m not sure I could have written a better series of lessons. However, my informal assessment of the portfolio was deemed VERY wrong. I say that because yesterday edTPA sent the score report back to my student (she shared it with me) and found 14 of the 15 rubrics were scored a two, with one rubric (#6) scored a three? Now, like any good researcher, I understand the role bias could play in my reading of my student’s portfolio. However, these scores were so divergent from where I believed they should be that I have to believe that the portfolio was given only a cursory read at best. Or, there had to be some issue with the scorer. The notion that there is no recourse and the that the scoring system lacks any degree of transparency is ludicrous. A person should have to defend and support their assessment. Reading the comments of the scorer of Ms. xxxxxxxx’s edTPA score report told me that whoever that person is, they either didn’t understand the writing or they didn’t bother to read carefully. Not that it’s germane to this issue but Ms. xxxxx has at least three peer-reviewed publications in journals.


The fact that this process costs $300 is a heavy burden for many aspiring educators. Further, the fact that edTPA charges an additional $100 for a rescore in unconscionable. Ms. xxxxxxx submitted her portfolio on March 22, 2016 and was one of the first to submit from Hofstra University. I feel one source of scorer error could be due to this early submission.


I insist that edTPA re-examine Ms. xxxxxxx’s submission by a fully trained and vetted veteran scorer of health education portfolios at no charge to her. I have concerns about the process: If a person has their portfolio rescored, is the scorer told that it is a “rescore”? If so, they would have to know that the rescore was the result of not passing on the initial scoring which would clearly bias the scorer. I must admit I have no faith in the edTPA system. The system crushed a promising young woman who worked tirelessly to follow the edTPA handbook. Not only that, and more importantly, Ms. xxxxxxxxx was ultimately most interested in teaching her students the functional knowledge and health-related skills so as facilitate and improve their health and wellbeing.


I could go on but others have done an excellent job questioning the usefulness of edTPA. I would imagine you are familiar with these critiques and have dismissed them. I believe they are largely accurate and spot on.















Michael J. Ludwig, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Health Education

Hofstra University