To the Editor:
The recent article on passing rates for new teacher-licensure exams in New York state fairly reflects the challenges of the state’s pioneering effort to retool teacher preparation so that all teachers are classroom-ready from Day One.
New York is at the forefront of a shift in teacher preparation that other states and teacher-preparation programs are joining.
At the core of this shift is edTPA. For teacher-candidates in New York, this performance-based test supplements subject-matter assessment and requires candidates to demonstrate that they can teach what they know, either before they graduate or before they get a license.
As a field, teacher preparation has long sought a consistent, comparable, and valid approach to support and measure effective beginning teaching, just as the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards does for veteran teachers.
Teachers’ unions have responded to this call to action by supporting high standards for teaching and a “bar exam” that defines professional standards and ensures equitable treatment for all candidates entering the profession. The edTPA performance assessment adopted in New York was developed by educators, for educators, to evaluate a candidate’s readiness to teach on his or her first day.
During last year’s rollout in New York, unions and faculty members led a successful effort to influence public policy and extend the implementation of the edTPA for one year. They honorably and equitably focused on implementation support for candidates and programs to ensure that all candidates would have an opportunity to learn and perform well on assessments and in the classrooms—where it really matters.
We are pleased to be part of a task force in New York, along with union representatives, state officials, and others in pre-K-12 and higher education, to identify and recommend ideas to help support preparation programs through this transitional period. Being first is never easy, but New York educators are working to support a new generation of teacher-candidates who will enter the classroom as effective teachers and who will grow as professional educators throughout their teaching careers.
Raymond L. Pecheone
Stanford Center for Assessment, Learning, and Equity
Sharon P. Robinson
President and Chief Executive Officer
American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education
A version of this article appeared in the January 07, 2015 edition of Education Week as N.Y. State Works to Aid New Cadre Of Teacher-Candidates