April Issue
March 31, 2014

Tell SED to slow down edTPA

Author: By Darryl McGrath
Source: NYSUT United
Stand up for future teachers

NYSUT and its higher education affiliates at the state and city university systems are asking parents, students, educators and their supporters to speak up for future teachers and to speak out against edTPA — a mandatory high-stakes assessment now required for teacher certification.

The evidence is clear: The State Education Department rushed its implementation. Future teachers now in college, their parents and teacher educators on college and university faculties can go to a new page on the NYSUT website — www.nysut.org/edTPA — and tell SED Commissioner John King Jr. and the Board of Regents to slow down the rollout of edTPA.

The website has easy-to-follow links to send letters directly to King and the Regents asking them to re-evaluate edTPA's implementation.

Among the specific requests: Give teacher educators the time they need to analyze the results of the edTPA pilots.

The flawed and misguided imposition of edTPA is taking a toll on future teachers and educators alike.

Experienced education faculty and their students say preparation for edTPA is rife with confusing guidelines from the education testing company Pearson, and the pressure to complete edTPA is taking over precious classroom time. It's also detracting from the equally vital experience of student teaching.

Faculty say students are obsessing over how to "teach to the edTPA assessment," as professors scramble to help students prepare for a state certification exam — an unprecedented intrusion into the teacher preparation curriculum.

Future teachers say that the edTPA requirements interfere with their brief student teaching experience as they strain to start producing the edTPA's required videotape and constructing an in-depth portfolio showing how they teach.

It doesn't make sense.

It's like asking law students or medical interns to pass their professional certification exams in the middle of their clinical training. It has nothing to do with enriching the teaching experience, and everything to do with enriching Pearson, which is overseeing the submission and scoring of the edTPA, NYSUT leaders say.

"This is taking away from our autonomy on our campuses," said NYSUT Vice President Maria Neira. "This is actually being imposed on our teacher preparation programs. And this forced effort by the state is in keeping with Commissioner King's statements that we have too many programs of education in our colleges and universities. If enrollments drop in our teacher preparation programs, and if the majority of future teachers cannot pass an assessment the state clearly intends many of them to fail, then SED will have forced the outcome it would like to see."

A NYSUT workgroup is proposing changes to the implementation of edTPA and the union continues to press for a slowdown of edTPA.

The new section on NYSUT's website will keep teacher educators, future teachers and their supporters informed about how we must hold Commissioner King and the Regents responsible for a flawed implementation process, Neira said.


Tell the State Education Department and Regents to suspend the high-stakes consequences on the edTPA — a new performance assessment for future teachers. Just like it did with Common Core, SED is pushing testing at students' expense.

Now thousands of college students preparing to become teachers are being forced to take another new test — edTPA — without being given the time, materials or support needed to pass. Once again, students who fail — through no fault of their own — will become the latest casualties of New York state's testing obsession.

Tell New York state what your experiences with edTPA have been and that more time is needed to determine how it will be used.

Go to www.nysut.org/edTPA and find a letter for college student/future teachers and one for supporters of future teachers.