An Organic Model for edTPA Exploration and Implementation

An Organic Model for edTPA Exploration and Implementation

Carla Lynn Tanguay (Georgia State University, USA), Joyce E. Many (Georgia State University, USA), Mary Ariail (Independent Researcher, USA), Ruchi Bhatnagar (Georgia State University, USA) and Judith Emerson (Georgia State University, USA)
Copyright: © 2019 |Pages: 39
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-8353-0.ch003
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Teacher educators share their experiences in response to the adoption of a high-stakes policy in Georgia regarding the use of edTPA®. Their efforts followed an organic model characterized by the inclusion of three important concepts: (1) distributed leadership, (2) ongoing communication, and (3) a commitment to the evolution of responsibilities and support structures. Stories highlight the importance of collegiality, shared decision making, and clear and open communication within the institution to ensure the success of a policy imperative at the grass-roots level. Since the policy of edTPA for licensure in Georgia carried high stakes for teacher educators and teacher candidates alike, the transition period allowed faculty to engage in conversations and practices that paid attention to the policy imperative, simultaneously allowing them time to consider how to conserve the values and cultural assets of the institution.
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Concerned for international and domestic strength in the U.S. across the last two decades, education policy-makers’ reform efforts aimed at teacher preparation programs have shifted from an emphasis on teacher education inputs, measuring teacher candidates’ characteristics and performances tied to program-developed assessments, to outputs or outcomes of program graduates’ performance linked to valid and reliable assessments and measured by their students’ achievement on standardized tests (Cochran-Smith, Piazza, & Powers, 2013). More recently, in at least 40 states and across 750 teacher preparation programs, policy imperatives for accountability and transparency in teacher education have mandated that programs use valid and reliable measures of teacher effectiveness, such as teacher performance assessments (TPAs) (Whittaker, Pecheone, & Stansbury, 2018). The development of TPAs (e.g., PACT, PPAT, BEST), including edTPA®, the first nationally offered TPA, provides an authentic yet standardized way to assess teacher-candidate readiness for teaching and to professionalize teaching as a career choice (Darling-Hammond, 2010; Whittaker et al.). edTPA was created and refined by the Stanford Center for Equity, Learning and Assessment (SCALE), in collaboration with teacher educators and classroom teachers, and was launched in 2013 (Whittaker et al.).

Some educators view TPAs as educative experiences for their candidates, inclusive of tasks, such as planning, teaching, assessing, and reflecting on practice, and valuable for any new teacher (Peck, Singer-Gabella, Sloan, & Lin, 2014; Whittaker & Nelson, 2013). Furthermore, educators implementing a culture of inquiry to learn about TPA findings consider the assessment data useful for program improvement (Bunch, Aquirre, & Tellez, 2009; Lys, L’Esperance, Dobson & Bullock, 2014; Miller, Carroll, Jancic, & Markworth, 2014; Peck, Singer-Gabella, Sloan, & Lin, 2014; Sloan, 2015; Stillman et al., 2013). For example, Bunch et al. learned from PACT data that their candidates sometimes held deficit views of the English learners in their class setting and did not use their learners’ native languages and community assets for instruction, relying only on learners’ prior academic knowledge in mathematics. Likewise, Stillman et al., who incorporated their own framework for analyzing PACT data to see if candidates valued their learners’ funds of knowledge and lived experiences, noted similar findings. Whittaker, et al. (2018) explain that teacher educator knowledge of the rubrics at higher levels is critical in understanding the critical and creative thinking required of candidates in planning for and differentiating instruction for diverse learners (Whittaker, et al.).

Key Terms in this Chapter

edTPA Liaison: A program representative, typically the program coordinator, whose role is to attend meetings with other program representatives in order to debrief successes/challenges related to edTPA implementation, review edTPA data, and gather new information to share with their colleagues.

Gallery Walk of edTPA Resources: A professional learning activity designed for teacher educators to engage in a review of tri-fold displays which present most important resources obtained from the edTPA AACTE website, inclusive of appropriate materials for learning about edTPA implementation.

Organic Model of edTPA Implementation: A model that allows for program level autonomy and informed decision making about policies and procedures with input from stakeholders most engaged in the process. The model is characterized by the inclusion of three important concepts: (1) distributed leadership, (2) ongoing communication, and (3) a commitment to the evolution of responsibilities and support structures.

Teacher Performance Assessment: A performance-based assessment which is designed to measure teacher candidate readiness for the teaching profession. The assessment requires candidate implementation of pedagogical content knowledge as a demonstration of teaching readiness.

edTPA Implementation: The process by which the edTPA coordinator and teacher educators prepare teacher candidates to complete the edTPA.

Local Evaluation: University supervisors evaluate their teacher candidates’ edTPA portfolios using the local evaluation rubric provided by SCALE. The candidates receive a rating of emerging, proficient, or advanced. It is through this process that university supervisors provide local input and engage in a deeper understanding of edTPA through evaluation.

edTPA Coordinator: A person whose role is to provide assessment support for teacher educators (i.e., faculty, supervisors, part-time instructors, school personnel) and teacher candidates. The coordinator facilitates professional learning for teacher educators as they develop knowledge of edTPA and use data-based decisions to integrate edTPA components in their programs to promote teacher candidates’ readiness for the profession.

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