May/June 2022 Issue
April 17, 2022

Regents dump edTPA requirement for teacher certification

Author: Sylvia Saunders
Source: NYSUT United
college graduation

In a big win for the union and aspiring educators, the Board of Regents voted to get rid of the controversial edTPA requirement for teacher certification.

NYSUT hailed the move, saying the educative Teacher Performance Assessment has been a discouraging barrier for aspiring teachers ever since it was adopted in 2014. The onerous exam, administered by the testing giant Pearson, costs $300 and requires candidates to submit a detailed portfolio of materials on planning, instruction and assessment, including classroom video footage.

“If we want New Yorkers to take a look at teaching and reverse our teacher shortage, it’s critical we remove unnecessary barriers like the edTPA that stand in the way of highquality future educators joining the profession,”NYSUT Executive Vice President Jolene T. DiBrango said.

During NYSUT’s Take a Look at Teaching summits around the state, numerous students and educators said completing the edTPA was so consuming and stressful that it ruined the student teaching experience.

Candidates were so focused on completing the rigid requirements that they were missing out on quality learning time with both their host teacher and supervising college faculty member.

DiBrango noted NYSUT, together with higher education affiliates the United University Professions at SUNY and the Professional Staff Congress at CUNY, have been leading voices in pushing back against the edTPA.

“These requirements have done nothing to improve the quality of teaching or support aspiring educators,” DiBrango said. “Instead, they’ve piled costly exams on prospective educators’ plates and diminished the essential student-teaching experiences that prepare you to manage your own classroom.”

Since 2019, five states have dropped edTPA as a licensure requirement, DiBrango noted in a letter to the Regents. There are currently only 11 states, including New York, that require a commercial performance assessment for certification, and six of those states allow options other than edTPA. DiBrango said there has been no compelling evidence that suggests edTPA correlates with better preparation for new teachers. Research has questioned the edTPA’s scoring process and reliability.

Other studies have suggested edTPA may prevent diverse candidates, especially English language learners, from gaining certification.

Costs for multiple submissions can add up to several hundred dollars; college officials said some candidates simply chose to teach in other states. The Regents received nearly 200 comments — overwhelmingly in support of dropping the requirement.

Instead of the edTPA, the state will now require teacher preparation programs to integrate a multi-measure teacher performance assessment into the candidate’s student teaching, practicum or other clinical experience. It would be tied to the state’s teaching standards and culturally responsive-sustaining education framework. Programs will have until Sept. 1, 2023, to develop or choose an assessment and update their curriculum.

There will be no edTPA required for current candidates, who will still be required to complete the rest of the certification requirements, including coursework, student teaching and a series of other exams.