Behind the Headline: edTPA Teaching Exam’s Ties to Effectiveness Mixed, Study Finds

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edTPA Teaching Exam’s Ties to Effectiveness Mixed, Study Finds
Teacher Beat | 5/19/16

Behind the Headline
In Schools, Teacher Quality Matters Most
Education Next | Spring 2016

A new study looks at the predictive validity of the Teacher Performance Assessment (edTPA), a new performance-based test that is being used as a teacher licensing exam in some states.

The study finds that teacher-candidates who passed a performance-based licensing test on their first try tended to boost their students’ reading test scores more in their first year of teaching than those who didn’t, but did not boost their students’ math scores.

As Stephen Sawchuk notes

The exam differs from most other licensing tests because it hinges on a demonstration of a teacher-candidate’s classroom instruction, rather than a bunch of multiple-choice questions, as is the case with other popular teacher-testing series. Some 18,000 teacher-candidates took the edTPA in 2014.

Sawchuk continues

The findings are likely to be closely analyzed, in part because the exam has proved to be controversial. 

Although it was designed by Darling-Hammond—one of the country’s most influential teacher-educators—and her team at the Stanford Center for Asessment, Learning, and Equity, some teacher-educators say the edTPA takes away their responsibility to determine when someone is ready to lead a classroom. Others question whether it’s too easy to cheat, or at $300 a pop, too expensive for teacher-candidates.

Dan Goldhaber, one of the authors of the new study, has summarized what research shows about teacher quality for Education Next in two articles, “In Schools, Teacher Quality Matters Most,” and “The Mystery of Good Teaching.”

– Education Next


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