In order to become a certified teacher in New York State, there are numerous requirements. The most recent requirement is known as edTPA (Teacher Performance Assessment). The cost of edTPA is estimated to be $300 (although we have heard the cost will be $350). This is on top of $450 worth of other certification requirements.
There are multiple reasons why we want the implementation of edTPA to be suspended. First is the cost for teacher candidates. Next are the constant changes for students and professors in teacher education programs. Approximately every month there is at least one additional change on top of other changes for the certification tests.
Third, we have issues with edTPA itself. There are a number of unanswered questions concerning edTPA. Some of the questions we have include: Who is evaluating our work? Are the people evaluating our work qualified enough to do so? How long are scorers taking to evaluate our work? (We have seen that they have two hours – is that really enough time?) Are we ever going to receive feedback about our assessment from Pearson?
A huge issue is the video portion of edTPA. Teacher candidates are required to record themselves teaching for one of the tasks. We are required to obtain permission from both parents and students, but there is no way to ensure informed consent. This is especially because Pearson has been extremely vague in stating exactly what will happen with the videos. Therefore, are we responsible for maintaining the confidentiality of our students in these videos even after we have completed student teaching?
Further issues that we have with edTPA itself include a lack of clarity in the language used in the edTPA handbook. Because of the vague wording, it is unclear what is expected of us. The language used also contradicts existing educational literature.
Finally, we take issue with the fact that edTPA is a product of Pearson, Inc. It is well-known that Pearson’s reputation is less than stellar. The company is under investigation by the Attorney General, yet Pearson is determining whether or not we will become certified teachers in New York State.
We are asking for the suspension of edTPA as a certification requirement in New York until it has gone through multiple levels of pilot testing. We have sent letters to every member of the State Education Committee in the hopes that they will discuss the matter. The suspension of edTPA will benefit teacher candidates throughout the state.