The Board of Educator Certification held a hearing Feb 11. to decide on the adoption of a new certification for Texas teachers, reported Fort Worth Star-Telegram. However, advocates fear that the new requirements will hinder the ability to hire a diverse selection of educators. Specifically, the number of Black teachers hired may be affected by the new assessment.
The edTPA is a replacement for the original Pedagogy and Professional Responsibilities test, per Star-Telegram. The test now requires a written reflection from teacher candidates assessing their students’ learning including a video of them teaching. Also, the price for this test is $195 higher than the PPR with an additional fee for resubmissions if a candidate fails a part of the assessment.
Urban Teachers Executive Director Anthony Hernandez has been helping candidates prepare for the exam and told Star-Telegram he believes the new assessment can be beneficial.
Hernandez said edTPA is preparing candidates for the reality of teaching in a way that a multiple-choice exam could not. “I know that are some worried about edTPA being a barrier for aspiring teachers entering the classroom, but I’m far more concerned about a teacher who is inadequately prepared leaving the profession than I am about using a more comprehensive approach to training like a performance-based portfolio that gives new teachers practical tools to apply their teaching not to just one exam but for every day at their career.”
However, others are worried that with the currently low number of staff, the assessment may be coming at a critical time. “The pandemic, burnout, lack of autonomy, low salaries and curriculum politics are stated as the reasons teachers are leaving,” said Gina Anderson, associate dean at Texas Woman’s University.
A poll from Business Insider, explored why teachers around the U.S. have been quitting at record numbers. The results showed most felt burnt out from the stress of the pandemic, disrespected for voicing their needs and micromanaged by the boards of education. Additionally, the political climate regarding the crack down on critical race theory and anger from parents fighting to adjust curriculum have added to the pressure.
As staff shortages become a concern during the implementation of the new edTPA test, so does diversity. The enrollment of Black candidates may be affected by the new edTPA test judging by their results in recent studies.
Clay Robison, public affairs specialist with Texas State Teachers Association, told the Star-Telegram he fears edTPA will negatively impact diversity of new Texas teachers, especially Black teachers, as the enrollment of minority students continues to grow.
“In Illinois, after edTPA was implemented, the number of new teacher hires fell by 36%, and the share of Black teachers among the new hires dropped by 3.2 percentage points. The racial disparity is reason for concern also because educational studies have documented a role-modeling effect of same-race teachers on minority students,” Robison said. “Also in Illinois, the number of graduates from teacher educational programs was reduced by 22% after edTPA. That could have a serious effect on the long-term supply of new teachers in that state.”
In a 2019 study, Assessing the Assessment: Evidence of the Reliability and Validity in the edTPA, it was found that Black candidates were less likely to pass the assessment but more likely to be “misclassified” by passing status, and creating “disparate access to the teaching profession.”
The 2021 Texas Teacher Workforce Report reported that only 11 percent of teachers were Black in comparison to the 28 percent Hispanic and 59 percent white between the academic year of 2018-19. Per the report, “despite nominal increases for certain racial and ethnic groups, the state’s public school teacher and student populations described in this report revealed the lack of alignment between educators and those they serve.”
As of now until 2023, candidates have the option to take the edTPA or PPR but by 2024, an official cut score will be implemented, per Star-Telegram.