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Does the edTPA (Ed Teacher Performance Assessment) have research behind it?

 | Apr 12, 2013

Virginia Goatley
by Virginia Goatley
University of Albany
April 15, 2013


To help address this question, let’s start with background information for readers who are not familiar with this assessment.  The edTPA is a performance assessment for pre-service teaching candidates that is being piloted in a number of states.  For the assessment, candidates provide a range of artifacts, including lesson plans, a videoclip of their teaching, student work samples, and a reflective narrative on the lesson.  In some states, a successful score on the edTPA is a requirement for teacher certification (see the State Policy section of the edTPA website for participating states).  Perhaps not surprisingly, many of the initial states using the edTPA have Race to the Top funding with a goal to re-envision teacher evaluation.  It is especially important for literacy educators to know about the assessment, given that the elementary assessment has a focus on literacy instruction. 

The Stanford Center for Assessment, Learning, and Equity (SCALE) at Stanford University developed the edTPA, as an extension of their earlier work with the original Teacher Performance Assessment (TPA).   The assessment draws on collaboration with numerous reviewers and is informed by other initiatives in performance assessment including National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, InTASC, and the Performance Assessment for California Teachers (see the Overview section of the edTPA website for a complete overview).

The edTPA website also provides a list of research references on pilot work related to teacher performance assessment. In addition, the FAQ section includes references to research from the National Board as support for the initiative:

A number of researchers in teacher education view a performance assessment with a focus on actual teaching as having potentially greater value than a multiple choice test alternative or value-added models of student performance (Chung, 2008; Darling-Hammond, 2012). Under the National Board model, a similar performance assessment is voluntary and intended to recognize highly accomplished teachers. Based on research on K – 12 assessment, a shift to a high-stakes mandatory assessment for pre-service teaching is likely to raise some issues to sort through, such as permission to videotape, consequences when a candidate does not pass, match between assessment goals and teacher preparation program goals, and so on.  Information on student success rates will likely inform teacher preparation program improvement and the accreditation process.  As a work in progress for several states, many teacher educators and literacy professionals are closely monitoring the edTPA developments and participating in conversations about implications for their states.


Chung, R. (2008).  Beyond assessment: Performance assessments in teacher education, Teacher Education Quarterly, 35 (1), 7-28. 

Darling-Hammond, L. (2012). The right start. Phi Delta Kappan, 94(3), 8-13. 

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