This is a reply to an
Thank you all for engaging in this important topic, though I do not think the author was suggesting no assessment in student teaching.
Violet Jiménez Sims suggested that EdTPA is the WRONG assessment not that all assessment is bad. The author argued for local control based on high quality feedback rather than handing over testing to a national corporation that leeches away not only dollars from needy students but the American principle of local control in education so important to our federalism.
EdTPA has nothing to do with good teaching as we do not even know if it accurately (reliability) measures what is says it measures (validity). In fact the authors of the state report in support of EdTPA could not even agree on it's efficacy. Two of the report authors REFUSED to sign the report. How do I convince student teachers this matters when two of the State's experts can't even agree?
In terms of authors Aflano, Horton, and Todd voted yes while Grant and Ayalon voted no (copy of report). When 40% of the State's experts do not agree with findings they wrote we need another solution.
A Problem We Created
One of my favorite scholars on teaching writing, Ed White, used to say, "Assess thy self or be assessed." Education Deans around the state made this mess. They never trained, observed or coached student teaching supervisors. We saw this in the data where students would score almost perfect scores every time. This is not a knock on evidence, scores should be skewed positively after four years of instruction, but it was an indicator of lack of validity. Scores should never be that similar.
So the Deans around the state are looking for an easy way to appease accreditation boards far removed from Connecticut classrooms. They turned to giving Pearson, the testing conglomerate, a giant government handout. One that should not sit well with fiscal conservatives or those who favor local control of schools.
A Better way Forward
We learned many lesson in the last decade of edreform focused on teacher quality. Mainly just because you SHOULD do something doesn't mean you CAN do something. It would be great to assign a numerical quality value in CT to every teacher. The math simply does not work. We end up taking multiple flawed assessments and building a composite score. It like we shine two turds, combine them, and then sell the dish as mud pie.
More importantly we learned the importance of coaching and feedback. There are very specific practices we know show gains in student performance. there are class cultures that allow all students to thrive. We can observe teachers, either veterans or candidates, and provide feedback on how they can grow. This increase in instructional capacity may lead to improved student performance.
There is a better way forward in Connecticut. The majority of teachers in the state get assessed against the System for Educator Evaluation and Development which includes the CCT Rubric for Effective Teaching 2017. Here is my novel idea...We train teacher candidates using the same rubric for effective that is used in the classroom. Imagine that...training people using the same instruments that will be used to judge their performance. Not only would we regain and protect local control over edreformers who seek to nationalize teacher preparation but we would use good pedagogy.
In full disclosure: I am not an expert. My PhD is in educational psychology, with an emphasis on cognition and technology, but I have spent the last five years serving as the Peer Validator in New Haven Public Schools. Any teacher who scores at the top or the bottom of the scale gets observed by me. I also spent threes observing hundreds of teachers in Newark Public Schools.
This experience lead me to create an app called ReVIEW Talent Feedback System, to coach school administrators on how to deliver high quality feedback using the CCT Rubric for Effective Teaching. Feedback, not some silly Pearson test, drives growth.
This app has been used by the CSDE, CREC, Hartford Public Schools, and New Haven Public Schools to train administrators on coaching for growth.
Our app is partially funded through start-up grants from UCONN and SCSU. In fact, we have a profit sharing agreement with SCSU if our app truly took off. I receive no income from UCONN or SCSU for the development of this tool.