NJEA is strongly opposed to the continued use of edTPA as a requirement for obtaining New Jersey teaching certification. In addition to NJEA’s overall concerns about the use of high-stakes standardized assessment in education generally, the edTPA poses serious equity issues related to both cost and technology access. As with other areas of assessment, NJEA believes that locally developed formative and summative measures are far superior to one-size-fits-all commercially developed products like edTPA.
While NJEA believes it’s important for teachers to have strong pedagogical practices and use data to drive decisions, edTPA does not reflect day-to-day teacher experiences. EdTPA completion is a long, complicated process that takes time away from more effective teaching and learning exercises. Further, the final edTPA product is scored by one individual at Pearson whose subjective judgements can sabotage the career of a promising educator.
During the pandemic, preservice educators have been working with experienced teachers under adverse conditions that sometimes change daily. Preservice and novice teachers are gaining valuable experiences and insights during the pandemic that cannot be reflected in a standardized assessment instrument like edTPA that was not normed to these modes of teaching.
Not only is edTPA an arduous process, but it is yet another cost students must pay out-of-pocket. College and university students pay $300 to create an edTPA account with Pearson. If students do not pass, they must pay another fee to retake either a section or the entire assessment. This high-stakes testing environment is exactly what NJEA opposes. Teaching candidates already pay high college tuition and spend upwards of $1,000 to pay for Praxis exams and various fees associated with being a full-time student teacher. EdTPA is yet another expense that does not contribute to the effectiveness of the preservice teacher.
NJEA has collected ample anecdotal evidence from our preservice, alternate route and current teacher members since the implementation of edTPA. That evidence bears witness, even prior to the pandemic, to the overwhelming burdens and unreasonable financial hardships that result from mandating that assessment. At a time when New Jersey is appropriately focused on equity in education and is working to diversify our teacher workforce, edTPA exacerbates existing inequities and serves as a further obstacle to otherwise highly skilled and qualified teaching candidates. EdTPA is wrong for New Jersey and is an impediment to maintaining the teacher workforce our students need and deserve.