Teacher Performance Assessment (edTPA)

Student teacher at white board.

The edTPA is a nationally available assessment of teacher candidates' readiness to teach. The assessment focuses on the impact the teacher has on student engagement and learning. EdTPA complements existing entry-level assessments used by states that focus on basic skills or subject matter knowledge, as well as campus-based evaluations of clinical practice, coursework, grades and curriculum-embedded assessments of candidate performance. Currently, 33 states and the District of Columbia are in various stages of implementing the edTPA as an assessment of candidate performance.

The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) has mandated that starting Sept. 1, 2015, all licensure program graduates will be evaluated, as one of their major assessments, by the edTPA. NIU is committed to this endeavor and began field testing the edTPA and developing plans for full implementation in 2012. Since we began this undertaking, we have been considering the implications of adopting edTPA for educator preparation programs, our students, our cooperating teachers and partnership schools. We've also been considering how to build the required infrastructure necessary to support adoption and implementation by all teacher preparation programs throughout the university.

The edTPA is a performance-based assessment embedded throughout the pre-service teaching experience. While the final and culminating submission of the project is developed and submitted during the final semester of a teacher candidate's program, the principles, practices and various components of the project are spread throughout a student's entire enrollment in a program, from the earliest clinical and pedagogical courses to the very end.

Within each credential area, the standardized assessments measure five discrete but interrelated dimensions of teaching:

  • Planning for instruction and assessment. Candidates provide evidence of their ability to select, adapt or design learning tasks and assessments that offer all students equitable access to curriculum content. Artifacts include lesson plans and assessments.
  • Instruction and engaging students in learning. Candidates provide evidence of their ability to engage students in meaningful learning tasks and demonstrate how they facilitate students' developing understanding of the content. Artifacts include video of teaching and written commentary.
  • Assessment of student learning. Candidates demonstrate how they analyze their students' learning and use assessment information to plan future instruction. Artifacts include classroom assessments of the whole class and cases of individual student learning over time.
  • Analyzing teaching. Candidates reflect on and analyze evidence of the effects of instruction on student learning.
  • Academic language. Candidates demonstrate their ability to expand students' language repertoire for the content domain.

Each assessment is scored by qualified and trained teachers and teacher educators who are subject matter experts with experience supporting beginning teachers. Half of current scorers are recruited from higher education and half are recruited from P-12 educators, including National Board Certified Teachers. (SCALE 2015)

  • Secure a copy of your Discipline Handbook, Understanding Rubric Level Progressions and Making Good Choices document as soon as you are accepted to your teacher licensure program. Familiarize yourself with the edTPA expectations by reading through the documents.
  • Take thorough notes in your courses at NIU and save any and all materials that may help you meet the edTPA expectations.
  • If your schedule permits, take an analytical writing class. Students who can think critically and communicate effectively will be better equipped to answer prompts.
  • Once you have been placed in the school where you will student teach, communicate with your cooperating teacher regarding the edTPA expectations.
  • Get to know the students in your classroom ASAP. Learn about their personal and cultural assets and the community in which they live.
  • Send out video permission forms to families ASAP. Practice videotaping your lessons early and often. When completing the learning segment for the edTPA, videotape every lesson. Be sure the video shows interactions between students.
  • Before you start to plan your three-to-five-day learning segment, review the expectations for all three tasks and plan with those expectations in mind. Be sure to select a learning segment that will allow you to clearly meet the specific focus for your discipline. (Page 1 edTPA Handbook, Overview of the Assessment)
  • Set strict deadlines for each task. Be sure to complete the commentary for Task 2 within 48 hours of videotaping. Complete Task 3 within one to two weeks of completing Task 2.
  • Put aside some time every week to work on the edTPA. Whether it is an hour each night or a couple of hours every weekend, it will most likely help to relieve stress and improve results.
  • Familiarize yourself with the Pearson website. Take advantage of the online training. Do not wait for the deadline to upload your materials to Pearson. Follow your program's suggestions on when to submit. Review all documents and watch all video segments from beginning to end after uploading to Pearson and before you submit for scoring.

Note: Candidates must use the edTPA permission form adopted by Northern Illinois University. This form informs the families that the edTPA video will be uploaded to a third party (Pearson) for scoring and that the candidate’s edTPA may be used to help train future teacher candidates at NIU. 


Contact Us

Office of Educator Licensure and Preparation
Williston Hall 320
815-753-0846
TeacherCertification@niu.edu