The Pearson teacher certification exam called EdTPA is e trembly controversial. Many teacher educators believe that it seeks to standardize teacher preparation and reduces the autonomy of those who know future teachers best: those who taught them.


Laura Chapman, retired arts educator and crack researcher, here explains the origins of EdTPA.



“Pearson is the target of criticism of the edPTA, but the real culprit is that should be given attention is the lead developer, and it is NOT Pearson.


“The lead developer for edPTA was The Stanford Center for Assessment, Learning and Equity (SCALE).


“Stanford University owns the intellectual property rights and trademark for edTPA. SCALE is responsible for all edTPA development including candidate handbooks, scoring rubrics, and the scoring training design, curriculum and materials (including benchmarks). SCALE also develops and vets edPTA support materials in the Resource Library and through the National Academy.”


“Stanford University has an agreement with Evaluation Systems, a unit of Pearson, licensing Pearson to administer and distribute edTPA.


“So, if you have complaints about edTPA, the target should not just be Pearson, but SCALE at Stanford University, where the edPTA was first envisioned as comparable to tests given in the professions of law and medicine indicating “readiness” to practice as a professional.


“SCALE as a big fan of so-called performance assessments. The SCALE website lists these “partners.”


1. American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education. AACTE “coordinates overall project management and communication and provides implementation support to participating institutions of higher education (IHEs) through a website, resource library, and an online community.


2. Center for Collaborative Education (CCE) provides technical assistance and professional development to schools, districts, and state boards of education. CEE and SCALE are working with the Innovation Lab Network (ILN) of twelve states “taking action to identify, test, and implement student-centered approaches to learning that will transform our public education system.” The CCSSO (see below) facilitates this work, organized around “shared principles, known as the six critical attributes” for innovation: including: Fostering world-class knowledge, skills; Student agency; Performance-based learning: Anytime/anywhere opportunities: Providing comprehensive systems of learner support. In other words, anytime/anywhere online learning.


3. Council of the Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) and SCALE have partnered on the National Quality Assessment Project and the Teacher Performance Assessment Consortium. The CCSSO played a major role in launching the Common Core State Standards. It receives generous funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.


4. Educational Policy Improvement Center (EPIC) and SCALE work on College and Career Readiness research and tools for high school/college alignment especially state-of-the-art, criterion-based, standards-referenced methods of course and document analysis.


5. Envision Schools/Envision Learning Partners, a charter management company in the San Francisco Bay Area, operates four Arts and Technology High Schools. SCALE helped to design, develop, and promote their College Success (Digital) Portfolio System with performance outcomes, scoring rubrics, and tasks in ELA, mathematics, science inquiry and science literacy, history-social science, foreign language, and the arts.


6. Evaluation Systems, a Group of Pearson, is the operational partner for edTPA. Evaluation Systems provides the infrastructure and technical platform to collect, score, and deliver edTPA results to teacher candidates and preparation programs.At last report, 18,000 teachers took the test. Each paid a minimum of $300. It is unknown what Stanford and/or SCALE may receive for this use of their intellectual property.


7. Literacy Design Collaborative (LDC). SCALE has created “a rigorous jurying process for LDC curriculum modules” for the Common Core; a standard, accurate process for reviewing modules and “providing teachers with actionable feedback for revision; training in this process in support of “calibration around the quality of teacher work.”


8. Measured Progress is a not-for-profit testing company with statewide assessment contracts in over half of the states. For the past decade and a half, Measured Progress has operated alternate assessment programs for students with moderate to severe learning disabilities, in more states than any other company. It operates a Common Core Assessment Program and conducts R& D work with SCALE on scoring performance assessments.


9. Performance Assessment for California Teachers (PACT) This is a consortium of 32 pre-service teacher preparation programs that contribute annually to ongoing improvements in an “alternative” for the state-mandated performance assessment needed to qualify for a preliminary teaching credential.


10. ShowEvidence works with SCALE on refining the practice of submitting and rating artifacts to support student and teacher assessment and evaluation.


11. Silicon Valley Math Initiative works with SCALE on student performance assessment projects in mathematics in Ohio and New York City. They have also worked with SCALE to design and develop performance outcomes, scoring rubrics, scoring protocols, and performance assessment tasks.


12. Teachscape has a contract with SCALE to develop and field test a tier II teacher licensing system in Ohio. Teachscape served as the management lead for the Gates-funded Measuring Effective Teachers project of which SCALE is a partner. (The MET Project, nothing to brag about, is critically examined here


13. Westat collaborates with SCALE on The Common Assignment Study, a three-year effort to promote a common methodology for teaching the college and career readiness standards in Colorado and Kentucky, with support from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Participating teachers develop and teach two units, incorporating common performance tasks for students.


14. WestEd and SCALE are providing professional development in multiple states to build educator assessment literacy, especially performance tasks to support instruction for college and career readiness and success. This includes project includes work to “train the trainers” for professional development.


“I have edited these descriptions of partnerships for length.


“It is clear that SCALE is functioning as an R&D lab and promoter of the Common Core, College and Career agenda along with modular curricula and assessments for so-called personalized learning.


“SCALE is very much a promoter of the Gates version of “reform,” and the focus on Pearson’s highly questionable edPTA should not leave SCALE and Stanford off the hook.”