What is the EdTPA? (BONUS: my opinions about it)

According to the official website, the edTPA is a… (and feel free to skip this entire quote) “performance-based, subject-specific assessment and support system used by more than 600 teacher preparation programs in some 40 states to emphasize, measure and support the skills and knowledge that all teachers need from Day 1 in the classroom.”

What does that even mean?

It means different things for different people. Most likely, you are in the process of getting your teaching credential and your institution and/or state have decided to adopt this method of “testing” to decide if you are fit to teach. It is an effort to prepare educators to be stronger and to “up” the bar of entering into the profession. It has been developed to ensure that new teachers understand how to teach, the theories behind education, lesson planning, etc. You will most likely be completing the edTPA while student teaching, sometime in the last year of your teacher education program.

Currently, there are 893 Educator Preparation Programs in 41 states and the District of Columbia participating in edTPA. There is a different handbook/rubric for each area of credentialing. For example, I took the secondary science edTPA to match my goal of teaching high school life sciences.

Bottom line:

The edTPA is… a hurdle for all new educators to jump over.

There are 3 basic parts to it. Planning, Instruction, and Assessment (reflection).

Planning entails learning about the basic demographics of your focus classroom. How many students are there? Are there any students that need accommodations? If so, what kind? Where is your school and what is the general context your students are it? You are also including your lesson plans for the required time segment/number of lessons. You are writing about how they fit together, where it fits in the general curriculum, etc.

Instruction is the part where you film yourself teaching. You submit video clips that exemplify how your lesson plan was implemented. It is best if it shows your students asking questions and thinking.

Lastly, assessment is where you include student work samples (and your feedback) and reflect upon student data as well as your teaching.

Critics of the edTPA say that it is money-grubbing and not a fair reflection of passionate young teachers. Some people seem to arbitrarily pass and some people seem to fail, regardless of who they are as a teacher. The edTPA costs 300 whopping dollars, which is a lot for student teachers who aren’t making a penny for all of the work that they are required to do. Therefore it is most important to pass it in one try and put it behind you.

Coming soon is a compilation of my tips and tricks to passing the edTPA on one try. Join the email list for updates and access to a full exemplar edTPA portfolio!

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