Jan. 10, 2017

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Dangler urges Regents to revise edTPA policy

uupdate 1-10-17

CLICK HERE for press release: UUP urges Regents to approve changes to faulty teacher certification tests

UUP Vice President for Academics Jamie Dangler made a strong case that the New York State Board of Regents should revise the edTPA policy and adopt other changes to the teacher certification process.

At the Regents’ Jan. 10 meeting, Dangler and her co-facilitator on the statewide edTPA task force, David Cantaffa—the SUNY provost fellow for teacher education, and a former assistant dean for teacher education at SUNY Buffalo— said that recommendations developed by the panel seek to address longstanding criticisms about the rollout, design and scoring of the mandatory educative Teacher Performance Assessment and other certification exams.

The edTPA is supposed to evaluate a student teacher’s competence in the classroom through written analysis and actual teaching, but, as Dangler noted, there is no proof that it is a valid predictor of teaching ability.

“The edTPA is still under development in many areas,” Dangler said during the hour-long presentation. “There are clearly concerns. These recommendations are in the direction of elevating standards because they will address flaws in the edTPA and other exams. Flawed exams do not equate with high standards.”

Proposed changes to tests, student teaching

The task force's recommendations include:
      • convening a standards setting committee to review and potentially recalibrate edTPA score requirements;
      • establishing a multiple measures review process so a teacher candidate who fails the edTPA within a narrow margin may be recommended for certification by program faculty based on other evidence of readiness to enter the teaching profession;
      • systematically reviewing edTPA handbooks of concern with teacher educators, leading to the possibility of revising the handbooks or approving an alternative performance assessment when there is a mismatch between the edTPA and professional practices in a particular teacher education specialty area;
      • examining wide discrepancies around the state regarding the length and content of the student teaching experience;
      • reviewing costs for certification exams and evaluating variations in pass rates in different certification areas and across different student populations, as well as why they occur;
      • considering eliminating the Academic Literacy Skills Test, which is duplicative of other parts of the certification process; and
      • examining the Educating All Students exam

Strong support from key Regents

The recommendations were backed by Regents Chancellor Betty Rosa and regents Kathleen Cashin and Catherine Collins, who co-chair the Regents’ higher education committee.

Rosa made an impassioned statement at the end of the presentation, in which she noted that students in teacher education programs come from many backgrounds, some of them extremely disadvantaged. Test performance does not always coincide with actual skill and dedication as a teacher.

As Rosa put it, achieving “the very, very best is a complicated endeavor – it isn’t about one moment in time, and a score.”

The Regents are expected to vote on the recommendations at their Feb. 13-14 meeting.

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