Are you pursuing a career as a classroom teacher? Then you might be wondering about the edTPA: what it is, whether you have to complete it, and how to pass.
In this article, we’ll explain what the edTPA is and how to pass it.
What Is the edTPA?
Developed by educators for educators, edTPA is a standards-based assessment used to measure and support the skills and knowledge teachers need from their first day in the classroom.
Basically, the edTPA is designed to measure whether or not new teachers are ready for the job. The edTPA is the first national performance-based assessment for teachers. Since its inception, around 40 states and 600 teacher preparation programs require teacher candidates to complete an edTPA handbook to quality as hireable. So, if you want to be a teacher, you may have to complete an edTPA portfolio, but you should check with the licensing board where you’re applying first.
To complete an edTPA portfolio, teacher candidates produce and analyze artifacts that demonstrate their teaching knowledge.
The edTPA consists of three main parts:
Task 1: Planning for Instruction and Assessment
Task 2: Instructing and Engaging Students in Learning
Task 3: Assessing Student Learning
edTPA is subject-specific, meaning that requirements differ depending on what you’re applying to teach.
What’s the Purpose of the edTPA?
Prior to edTPA’s adoption, schools looking to hire new teachers would have no way of knowing whether or not two teachers trained in two different places were both adequately prepared for their jobs. Since there is no standard curriculum for teacher training in the United States, edTPA’s job is to measure whether any teacher, regardless of where or how they received their training, is ready to enter the classroom.
The founders of edTPA believe that students deserve excellent teachers from Day 1: students don’t have time to waste waiting for new teachers to become effective at their jobs.
edTPA doesn’t just assess a wannabe teacher’s mastery of teaching theory and subject matter content: it measures their ability to lead a classroom and teach students with different strengths and needs in learning.
According to the official edTPA website, edTPA was designed to make sure teacher candidates have developed the confidence and skills they need to be successful in all kinds of schools (urban, suburban, and rural). edTPA hopes to answer the preparation gap between teachers, ensuring that all candidates are able to perform job requirements like providing differentiated instruction for diverse learners and using data to inform their instruction.
In the United States, every district has its own hiring requirements. In some places, hiring requirements even change from school to school. So, depending on where you’re going to be a teacher, you may or may not need to complete an edTPA portfolio. If you’re applying for work in a district that requires edTPA, then having a high edTPA score will make you a more competitive candidate. If you’re working in a district that doesn’t require edTPA, then you don’t need to worry about it.
What’s the Format of the edTPA?
edTPA is a subject-specific assessment. There are 27 different versions for 27 different teaching fields. In order to pass edTPA, aspiring teachers prepare a portfolio of materials during their student teaching clinical experience.
Aspiring teachers will create a portfolio of artifacts that demonstrate their ability to achieve certain goals. edTPA requires artifacts like lesson plans, videotapes, and student assessments. You’ll need to submit copies of your lesson plans, as well as videotapes that show you delivering that lesson. The edTPA scoring committee will use the videotape and student assessments to measure your effectiveness at teaching the skill you outlined in your lesson plan.
Portfolios are scored by teachers and teacher educators (teachers who train teachers) with subject and grade-level expertise. The scoring team is made up of 50% practicing teachers and 50% teacher educators.
Each state sets its own requirements for what indicates a passing edTPA score.
How to Create an edTPA Portfolio
You will have three tasks with your edTPA portfolio:
- Demonstrate your ability to plan lessons.
- Demonstrate your ability to deliver high-quality instruction.
- Demonstrate your ability to drive positive student outcomes.
For your planning task, you’ll submit artifacts like lesson plans and worksheets. The scoring team will assess your lesson’s ability to achieve a certain outcome depending on your licensure area. For instance, if you’re applying to become a language arts teacher, you’ll need to show that you can create a lesson that develops the ability to comprehend, construct meaning from, and interpret complex text.
Next, you’ll need to show your ability to deliver high-quality instruction. “High-quality instruction” doesn’t just refer to your ability to understand and explain the material: you’ll need to show that you can manage your classroom effectively, too.
Finally, you’ll have to demonstrate that you can effectively influence student outcomes. Your scoring team will assess this based on the video clips that produce.
edTPA Handbook Logistics
There is a $300 fee for obtaining an edTPA portfolio assessment. You need to submit your fee at the time of registration. If you need financial assistance, you can work with your teacher preparation program to obtain a voucher.
Typically, scoring your edTPA portfolio takes around three weeks. Check out the table below for reporting timelines.
|To receive your edTPA score profile on:||Submit your portfolio by 11:59 p.m. Pacific Time on:|
|November 27, 2019||November 7, 2019|
|December 12, 2019||November 21, 2019|
|December 26, 2019||December 5, 2019|
|January 9, 2020||December 19, 2019|
|February 20, 2020||January 30, 2020|
|March 5, 2020||February 13, 2020|
|March 19, 2020||February 27, 2020|
|April 2, 2020||March 12, 2020|
|April 16, 2020||March 26, 2020|
|April 30, 2020||April 9, 2020|
|May 14, 2020||April 23, 2020|
|May 28, 2020||May 7, 2020|
|June 11, 2020||May 21, 2020|
|June 25, 2020||June 4, 2020|
3 Tips for Passing the edTPA
Worried about passing the edTPA? You shouldn’t be! While the assessment is rigorous, it’s designed to make sure that you’re ready to be a classroom teacher.
If you prepare and apply yourself, you shouldn’t have a problem passing. And if you don’t pass, then take that as an opportunity to hone your skills.
Here are some tips for passing edTPA the first time around:
#1: Find the Right Time in the Year to Submit Your edTPA Handbook Portfolio
Part of your edTPA score will be assessing how effectively you manage your classroom and drive student outcomes. You should know your students well, then, to be able to differentiate your lessons and your instruction for their needs. You’ll want to know your class fairly well before creating your edTPA videotapes. Find the right mix of time between when you feel comfortable with your students and when you’ll have ample time to submit your portfolio by the edTPA submission dates.
#2: Plan, Plan, Plan Your edTPA Handbook
Your edTPA portfolio will need to have three to five lessons. Make sure you’ve planned your lessons well ahead of time so that they match the student outcomes you need to achieve. The edTPA scoring committee will assess your candidacy based on how your instruction helps students achieve mastery of a specific topic. If you’re supposed to include a video that demonstrates how well you teach students to recognize sight words, but you’ve misplanned your lessons and are teaching an entirely different skill, then you won’t have the evidence you need to show your abilities. Similarly, if you’re planning a lesson at the last minute, there’s a chance that you’ll forget needed information and be a less effective teacher.
#3: Read the edTPA Handbook Rubrics Before Videotaping
edTPA has rigorous rubrics for evaluating your teaching performance based on the videos you submit. Read the rubrics before you tape your lessons so you know what to focus on. You don’t want to fail your assessment because you filmed the wrong thing or, worse, because you failed to submit a video that had the correct technical specifications.
edTPA: Final Thoughts
edTPA is a standardized portfolio assessment that measures how ready teacher candidates are to become full-fledged teachers. While edTPA isn't required across the United States yet, 40 states have adopted the assessment as part of their hiring process.
If you're applying for work in a state that requires edTPA, make sure that you leave yourself plenty of time to plan and put together your edTPA handbook portfolio.
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Hayley Milliman is a former teacher turned writer who blogs about education, history, and technology. When she was a teacher, Hayley's students regularly scored in the 99th percentile thanks to her passion for making topics digestible and accessible. In addition to her work for PrepScholar, Hayley is the author of Museum Hack's Guide to History's Fiercest Females.