ALBANY — The state Education Department proposed to modify teacher certification requirements to reduce barriers to certification while maintaining rigorous standards, Commissioner Betty A. Rosa announced last week.
The proposed changes would eliminate the requirement for teacher candidates to pass the edTPA and replace it with a teacher performance assessment during a candidate’s student teaching or similar clinical experience in a state-registered teacher preparation program.
“The Department is transforming our approach to provide a continuum of educator development and support for teachers starting with rigorous and relevant coursework and clinical experiences for teaching candidates,” Rosa said. “By eliminating the edTPA requirement, we are allowing our teacher candidates to focus on developing the critically important skills necessary to successfully deliver classroom instruction. To grow and sustain a diverse and qualified teacher workforce, we must ensure we are bringing as many candidates as possible into the profession. The amendments proposed today lay a foundation to streamline the pathway to teaching.”
The Department is committed to reshaping the teacher certification process by creating a continuum of educator development and support. This includes providing a supportive, responsive, and efficient certification process as well as mentoring, continuing education, and professional learning for teachers.
Under the proposed changes New York State-registered teacher preparation programs would be required to integrate a teacher performance assessment into a teacher candidate’s student teaching or similar clinical experience. Through this multi-measure assessment, candidates would demonstrate their content knowledge and skill in teaching to the State learning standards in the grade band and subject area of certificate sought as well as the pedagogical knowledge and skills identified in the New York State Teaching Standards, which align with the four principles of the New York State Culturally Responsive-Sustaining Education Framework.
“Every student deserves a great teacher. The Board is committed to re-examining certification requirements to develop a more expedient approach to bring great teachers into our classrooms,” Board of Regents Chancellor Lester W. Young, Jr. said. “As schools and districts across the state face a shortage of qualified teachers, we must do everything in our power to enhance the state’s talent pipeline, including eliminating any financial barriers that may impede candidates from entering the teaching profession.”
Since May 2014, teacher candidates have been required to pass the edTPA to obtain most teacher certificates in New York State. The edTPA is a national teacher performance assessment where candidates demonstrate their readiness to teach. For the edTPA, candidates must pay $300, plan for instruction and assessment, videotape themselves teaching and engaging students in learning, assess and analyze students’ learning, and reflect on their practice. The Department has offered edTPA “safety nets” for candidates since the inception of the edTPA requirement, allowing eligible candidates to take and pass a different assessment instead of the edTPA to meet certification requirements.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, teacher preparation program faculty reported the edTPA safety nets have been helpful and recommended that the edTPA be eliminated as a requirement for certification. They indicated the edTPA often becomes the primary focus for candidates during the student teaching experience, which detracts from other potential learning experiences and responsibilities. In addition, it is difficult for candidates to manage the multiple tasks and related logistics of the assessment (e.g., video recording) and it represents a significant out-of-pocket expense. Thus, according to these educators, the edTPA serves as a barrier to certification during this period of significant teacher shortages.
Public comment on the proposal will be accepted through Feb. 28, 2022 via [email protected](link sends e-mail). It is anticipated the proposed amendment will be presented to the Board of Regents for adoption at the April 2022 meeting.
If the Board adopts the proposal, New York State-registered teacher preparation programs would have until Sept. 1, 2023 to integrate a teacher performance assessment into teacher candidates’ student teaching or similar clinical experience.