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Letters: Teacher assessment repairs still needed

A first-grade class returns to the classroom.

A first-grade class returns to the classroom. Photo Credit: Newsday / Karen Wiles Stabile

If the Teacher Performance Assessment, or edTPA, actually added value, I would support it [“Don’t make certification easier for NY teachers,” Editorial, Jan. 23]. There is no evidence that it accurately predicts if a student teacher will be successful, nor does it guarantee a more accurate result than the far more rigorous scrutiny by university teachers, veteran teachers and school principals.

Instead, the edTPA adds a very cumbersome and expensive set of bureaucratic and technological hoops that duplicate efforts that teacher education faculty are already paid to make.

As the director of English Teacher Education at Stony Brook University for 12 years, I oversaw the implementation of edTPA and other new certification assessments imposed by the state Education Department. The tests were ill-conceived and poorly implemented.

For three years, I’ve been a member of the task force that studied teacher certification exams and helped draft recommendations for change now before the Board of Regents. These recommendations don’t remove the edTPA, which I would prefer, but they are a step in the right direction of giving teacher education faculty more voice.

Ken Lindblom, Shoreham

 

Newsday’s Jan. 23 editorial didn’t address the main problems with the edTPA, the state’s teacher licensing exam.

As the editorial mentioned, one question has been “whether the tests are properly measuring [student teachers’] capabilities.” The edTPA has never been shown to be an accurate measure of what student teachers know or can do. This expensive test requires school children to be filmed in their classrooms, interrupting instruction and distracting student teachers from their most important task of actually teaching students.

Requiring pages of busy work and using a peculiar vocabulary, the edTPA also forces new student teachers to become video technicians. The videos are then sent off for grading to people who may not themselves be certified to teach in the area they are assessing.

Everyone wants fully prepared teachers. The edTPA does not accurately measure that preparation.

Patricia Dunn, Shoreham

Editor’s note: The writer is an English professor at Stony Brook University and works with students training to become teachers.

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