Expensive edTPA Not Accurate Measure of Teachers, Patricia Dunn

Expensive edTPA Not Accurate Measure of Teachers [full submitted version below]

Patricia Dunn, Professor of English, Graduate Program Director, Stony Brook University

Your January 23rd editorial (“Don’t Make Certification Easier for NY Teachers”) does not address what have been the main problems with the edTPA. As you mentioned, one question has been “whether the tests are properly measuring their [student teachers’] capabilities.” Please note that the edTPA has never been shown to be an accurate measure of what student teachers know or can do. This expensive test requires school children to be filmed in their classrooms, interrupting instruction and distracting student teachers from their most important task of actually teaching their students. Requiring pages of busy work and using a peculiar vocabulary used by no one else in education, the edTPA also forces new student teachers to become instant film technicians (in order to get usable video for Pearson), and to secure  permission for filming from students’ parents they may not yet have even met. The resulting videos are then sent off for grading to Pearson employees, who may not themselves be certified to teach in the area they are assessing. Yet these hired graders are allowed to determine the certification of New York state college students.  Everyone wants fully prepared teachers. The edTPA does not accurately measure that preparation.



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P. L. Thomas, Associate Professor of Education (Furman University, Greenville SC), taught high school English in rural South Carolina before moving to teacher education. He is a column editor for English Journal (National Council of Teachers of English) and series editor for Critical Literacy Teaching Series: Challenging Authors and Genres (Sense Publishers), in which he authored the first volume—Challenging Genres: Comics and Graphic Novels (2010). He has served on major committees with NCTE, and has been named Council Historian (2013-2015), and formerly served as co-editor for The South Carolina English Teacher for SCCTE. Recent books include Ignoring Poverty in the U.S.: The Corporate Takeover of Public Education (Information Age Publishing, 2012) and Parental Choice?: A Critical Reconsideration of Choice and the Debate about Choice (Information Age Publishing, 2010).He has also published books on Barbara Kingsolver, Kurt Vonnegut, Margaret Atwood, and Ralph Ellison. His scholarly work includes dozens of works in major journals—English Journal, English Education, Souls, Notes on American Literature, Journal of Educational Controversy, Journal of Teaching Writing, and others. His commentaries have been included in Room for Debate (The New York Times), The Answer Sheet (Washington Post), The Guardian (UK), truthout, Education Week, The Daily Censored, OpEdNews, The State (Columbia, SC), The Charlotte Observer (Charlotte, NC), The Post and Courier (Charleston, SC) and The Greenville News (Greenville, SC). His work can be followed at the becoming radical (http://radicalscholarship.wordpress.com/) and @plthomasEdD on twitter.

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