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Let us explain

The entire concept and process of edTPA can be very confusing, but don’t be overwhelmed. We are here to help! Below is a list of frequently asked questions regarding the history, purpose, and what you can expect with edTPA. If you have additional questions, please don’t hesitate contact your seminar instructor or another faculty member for assistance.

General Information

The edTPA is a subject-specific teacher performance assessment completed during student teaching by teacher candidates. The assessment focuses on a learning segment of 3-5 lessons conducted over multiple days in one class. Candidates submit artifacts (lesson plans, instructional materials, teaching videos, assessments, and sample student work) and written commentaries as evidence of teaching proficiency. Professional scorers rate candidate performance in planning, instruction, and assessment using rubrics in the edTPA handbook for that subject area. 

The edTPA was developed by the Stanford Center for Assessment, Learning, and Equity (SCALE) in partnership with the American Association of Colleges of Teacher Education (AACTE).  It is modeled after the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards' (NBPTS) assessments of accomplished veteran teachers and was developed with input from teacher and teacher educators across the country. Pearson Corporation manages the scoring of the teacher candidate portfolios; each portfolio is scored by a trained scorer. Scores are returned to the teacher candidate and their institution in about two weeks. 

Wisconsin educator preparation programs recommended that Wisconsin adopt the edTPA. Based on that recommendation, the Wisconsin State Superintendent of Public Instruction selected the edTPA as one of the requirements for initial teacher licensure.

The edTPA costs $300. The fee is paid to Pearson and Pearson contracts with scorers to evaluate the portfolios. If a portion of the portfolio needs to be resubmitted for scoring, the cost is $100 minimum and may increase to $300 depending on the scope of the resubmission. 

Each state participating in edTPA will implement it to suit the needs of their state. At this time, July 2015, if teacher candidates wish licensure in a state other than Wisconsin, they should contact the state and find out what the requirements for licensure and the edTPA are for teachers seeking licensure from another state. The situation is changing and teacher candidates need to stay abreast of developments in the state they intend to seek licensure. If you are interested in licensure in a state other than Wisconsin, you need to check with that state's licensure office to determine what, if any, edTPA requirements you will need to meet. 

Assessment Support and Completion Questions 

This web site provides a lot of information and resources for teacher candidates. Any faculty member teaching education courses should be able to answer basic questions about the edTPA. Faculty teaching the seminar course that teacher candidates take during their placements, can answer detailed questions about the edTPA. Some guidance and support of the edTPA process is built in to the seminar course. The edTPA Coordinator can answer questions as well--particularly about the process, timeline, scoring and remediation process should teacher candidates not meet the cut scores. The COEHS Technology Lab (CEN 3406) provides not only equipment checkout for the edTPA but other assistance related to the technology aspect of the edTPA. 

Teacher candidates submit their edTPA portfolios to Pearson for scoring. Pearson has trained and hired scorers to evaluate the portfolios. To be a scorer, an individual must have been a licensed teacher in a particular content area or grade level. The scorers, recruited nationally, go through multiple hours of training before they are ready to score portfolios. Scorers are assigned portfolios to score by Pearson. In general, it is unlikely that a scorer of a particular portfolio will be affiliated with the university of the teacher candidate. Scores usually are available in about 2 weeks after Pearson assigns the portfolio for scoring. Scoring windows (a time period where edTPA submissions for a particular handbook accumulate before they are assigned to scorers) occur about every two weeks during the academic year with some scoring windows open during the summer. The schedule for edTPA submission is revised every year and varies by handbook. 

Essentially you are well prepared to successfully complete the edTPA. If you weren’t, you wouldn’t be this far along in your program. After all you know how to plan lessons, you know how to engage the students in instruction and, you know how to evaluate the effectiveness of your instruction. So feel confident about your preparation to participate in this process. However, what you may find more challenging with the edTPA evaluation process are the connections you will have to make from each of these components to the other. Higher scores on the edTPA portfolios will be obtained by candidates who are able to answer these three questions thoroughly:

Why did you design the lessons the way you did? It sounds like a simple question but it is not. Successful candidates will be able to articulate what they know about their students. This includes knowledge of their culture, their social/emotional development, the cognitive strengths and weaknesses of the students and the prior knowledge the students have regarding the content you intend to teach. Articulating strong explicit connections to these pieces will earn you favor with the evaluators.

How do you know the students learned what you intended for them to learn? Again, this sounds simple but it isn’t. A task or a knowledge piece is “learned” when a student (or a group of students) can perform/recount what they have learned independently AND can apply it to a less familiar situation. For example, a candidate can teach a child to perform column addition so that child can get ten out of ten column addition problems correct on a paper and pencil test. However, the pupil doesn’t really know the skill unless they can apply it in a grocery store situation. That is the real test that the skill has been learned adequately. Evaluators will be looking for your ability to stretch the assessment process beyond the student’s notebook.

What have you learned about your capacities as a teacher? Again, this sounds simple but the skilled teacher knows that this is more complex than it appears. Answering this question involves some fundamental understanding of child development: including knowledge of receptive and expressive language modalities, knowledge of the scope of the content you have attempted to teach, and your pedagogical knowledge, including your understanding of efficient and effective strategies and instructional procedures. edTPA evaluators will be looking for penetrating and honest reflections about your practice.

The edTPA will be used for licensing of teachers in Wisconsin. During the 2015-2016 academic year, the edTPA will be required but not consequential for licensing in Wisconsin (that means all teacher candidates must complete the edTPA and receive national scoring, however, their score will not affect whether they get a teaching license or not). During the spring of 2016, cut scores (the score required for passing the edTPA) will be set. The academic year 2016-2017 has been selected as the first year where passing the edTPA will be necessary in order to obtain a teaching license in Wisconsin. During the non-consequential phase, data from teacher candidates who have been evaluated using the edTPA rubrics will provide important performance feedback to the various UW-Eau Claire Teacher Education Programs. This feedback will contribute to curricular and procedural changes in these programs. Additionally, individual teacher candidate scores will provide objective feedback to the candidate, affirming their pedagogical development. 

Once the teacher candidate receives their national scores and the scores are high enough for licensure, the teacher candidate will destroy all video and any student work on any equipment used during the edTPA. Some video and student work samples are stored on UW-Eau Claire equipment; those files are deleted once we have received the national scores and the scores are high enough for licensure. UW-Eau Claire and the teacher candidates are committed to ensuring the privacy of K-12 students and their families. Teacher candidates know that the video and student work samples must be destroyed and cannot be used for any purpose other than the edTPA. More details about the video and confidentiality are available on the Confidentiality page of this site.

Technical Questions

As of January 5, 2015, Pearson, the company responsible for scoring the edTPA stated that subtitles are video editing and are not allowed. Look at your handbook. All the handbooks talk about creating a transcription if the audio cannot be understood. Guidance is provided there. Follow the guidance exactly for the length and timestamp information required by your handbook if a transcription is needed.

This is a complex question. The best answer is don't shoot or use video where someone who doesn't have a signed release appears. If you do need to blur faces, contact Carol Koroghlanian ( We'll be sending you to a specific person in LTS for assistance in this process. Movie Maker (Windows) and iMovie (Mac) have limited capability for blurring faces and the results may be inconsistent or only work well if the person is not moving. If you decide to download free or trial software from the web BEWARE! Some will put a watermark on your video, some may have adware, spyware, viruses or trojans accompanying the download. Be very cautious! We do NOT want to recommend something that may cause problems on your hardware nor something that only works sometimes or intermittently (for example, one solution offered online, based on reports, seems to work for a few frames then the face is visible for a while and then it's gone for a while, etc.). The best advice--find out which students have signed releases. Arrange the room so that students without signed releases are not likely be in the video. Blurring faces will take additional time and effort that you want to use in writing your narratives for the edTPA. 

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