Preservice teachers’ adaptations to tensions associated with the edTPA during its early implementation in New York and Washington states

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Abstract

The edTPA is a teaching performance assessment (TPA) that the states of New York and Washington implemented as a licensure requirement in 2013. While TPAs are not new modes of assessment, New York and Washington are the first states to use the edTPA specifically as a compulsory, high-stakes policy lever in an effort to strengthen the quality and accountability of teachers and teacher educators. This study examines 24 New York and Washington teaching candidates’ experiences with the edTPA during its first year of consequential use for state certification. The data, drawn from qualitative interviews that were part of a larger mixed-methods study, reveal that preservice teachers had to mediate several tensions associated with the edTPA’s dual role as a formative assessment tool and a licensure mechanism. In this paper, we identify those tensions, describe candidates’ efforts to mediate them, and discuss the extent to which that mediation process may or may not contribute to the improvement of teachers’ practices. Given the edTPA’s positioning in a policy context – specifically, the potential for the assessment’s locus of control, high stakes, and opaque rating process to distort the procedures it is intended to measure – the paper concludes with recommendations for teacher education programs aimed at capitalizing on the edTPA’s benefits and mitigating its unproductive tensions.

 

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How to Cite
Meuwissen, K. W., & Choppin, J. M. (2015). Preservice teachers’ adaptations to tensions associated with the edTPA during its early implementation in New York and Washington states. Education Policy Analysis Archives, 23, 103. https://doi.org/10.14507/epaa.v23.2078
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Author Biographies

Kevin W. Meuwissen, Warner School of Education, University of Rochester

Kevin Meuwissen is an Assistant Professor of Social Studies Education and directs the social studies teacher preparation program at the University of Rochester. His research interests include the political socialization of preservice and early-career social studies teachers, the intersections of policy and teaching practice in teacher education and professional development, and adolescent learners’ political thinking. He has published in Theory and Research in Social Education and The Social Studies, served as a pedagogical consultant and program evaluator for several U.S. Department of Education-funded Teaching American History Programs, and delivered testimony on teacher certification policy to the New York State Legislature. 

Jeffrey M. Choppin, Warner School of Education, University of Rochester

Jeff Choppin is an Associate Professor of Mathematics Education and directs the mathematics teacher preparation program at the University of Rochester. His research explores the relationship between teachers’ attention to student thinking, their interpretations of standards documents, and their instructional practices. Recent publications have appeared in Educational Policy, The Journal of Mathematics Teacher Education, Mathematics Teaching and Learning, and Mathematics Teaching in the Middle School.