To the Editor:
How should the edTPA or Praxis Performance Assessment for Teachers be used? JoAnn Bartoletti, Gail Connelly, Daniel A. Domenech, and Sharon P. Robinson posit in their recent Commentary that performance tests for new teachers make sense. Yet there seems to be an avoidance of the fact that the state of New York considers the edTPA to be a high-stakes, pass-fail assessment affecting teacher certification. Even recent action by the state board of regents to provide a temporary alternative to teacher education candidates who fail the edTPA does not change this fact.
The authors should recognize that many teacher-preparation institutions employ a rigorous process of observation and accredited assessment measures to gauge teacher effectiveness. Future teachers receive weekly observations and multiple formative evaluations throughout the student-teaching period and must pass other appropriate benchmark assessments.
On the other hand, the edTPA is based on three to five learning segments (lessons) that are assessed by a scorer’s use of 15 subjective rubrics.
Does this implementation process of the edTPA make sense? The edTPA may be a valuable tool for ensuring that competent candidates become certified; however, it would be more appropriate if it were used as just one instrument to assist in the development of a future teacher.
Edward J. Sullivan
Associate Dean for Teacher Education
A version of this article appeared in the May 14, 2014 edition of Education Week as Tests Should Assist, Not Determine, Teacher-Certification Decisions