Sympathy or schadenfreude – you can take your choice when it comes to the edTPA predicament in which the teachers’ unions find themselves.
edTPA is a performance assessment system for teacher candidates and it has all the education establishment pedigree you might want. It was developed by the Stanford Center for Assessment, Learning, and Equity (SCALE) and Linda Darling-Hammond. It is supported by the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE). NEA and AFT officers sit on its policy advisory board, and the assessment was “purposefully designed to reflect the teaching tasks that are represented in the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) as it pertains to the skills and competencies attained as part of teacher preparation.” The unions have promoted national board certification since its inception.
Portfolios and video-taped lessons require a sophisticated scoring system and staff to operate it. The options for edTPA were limited, and why not choose the same folks who score submissions from national board candidates? Alas, those folks work at Pearson.
Pearson is part of the Axis of Education Evil, so a large group of union activists oppose edTPA, either not knowing or not caring how deeply involved their own organizations are in keeping it going. NEA has responded to this opposition with a number of contortions, and now the administrators of edTPA are in the unenviable position of trying to distance themselves from the people scoring their assessment.
edTPA just released its latest administrative report and came to the conclusion that edTPA is working great! It’s this kind of congratulatory self-assessment that led to the obsession with standardized tests in the first place.
But I’m not qualified to judge edTPA as an assessment system. I only want to read what they say about Pearson, and they come off pretty defensive about it.
SCALE is the sole developer of edTPA, and Stanford University is the exclusive owner of edTPA. The university has an agreement with Evaluation Systems, a unit of Pearson, to provide operational support for the national administration of edTPA.
…The design framework for edTPA and constructs assessed were established prior to the partnership with Evaluation Systems/Pearson and were informed by earlier work led by SCALE staff (National Board and PACT). Evaluation Systems was chosen as the operational partner to ensure that edTPA assessment development built by the profession and supported by foundation funds could be scaled up for national use. That is, the Evaluation Systems/Pearson group has no authority or decision-making role in the design and development of edTPA.
Translation: Our assessment is untainted by Pearson. Alternative translation: If you hate our assessment, you can’t blame Pearson. In any case, it is clear that Pearson is absolutely indispensable to edTPA:
Stanford University/SCALE engaged Evaluation Systems, a group of Pearson, as an operational partner in March 2011 to make edTPA available to a national educational audience. As the operational partner, Evaluation Systems provides the management system required for multistate use of edTPA, including the infrastructure that facilitates administration of the assessment for submission, scoring, and reporting of results from both national and regional scoring.
…Pearson (through edTPA.com – the candidate-facing program web site) provides operational assessment services associated with registration, scoring, and reporting of edTPA scores. Assessment services include use of the technology platform which registers the candidate, receives the portfolio, coordinates the logistics of scoring the portfolio, and reports the results to the candidate. Additionally, a faculty feedback feature is available through the Pearson Portfolio system, allowing candidates to request formative feedback from a designated faculty member based on SCALE’s guidelines of acceptable support. Assessment services also include the recruiting and management of qualified educators who serve as scorers, scoring supervisors, or trainers. Scorers are trained using a training curriculum developed by SCALE, specifically for use with edTPA rubrics. Scorers use standardized scoring procedures and are calibrated and monitored during scoring. Pearson also works with EPPs and state agencies to securely report candidate scores as appropriate. Through the ResultsAnalyzer tool, stakeholders are able to review and utilize their data sets as provided on each reporting date.
…Pearson uses a well-established and reliable software platform to screen submissions for originality of content.
edTPA is a high-level collaboration between the education establishment and the poster child for corporate education reform. Whether this is a good or bad thing depends on which side of the fence you occupy, but let’s not pretend it isn’t exactly what it appears to be.