Saturday, February 21, 2015

edTPA Implementation Run Amok

As the so-called “safety-net” deadline of June 30th approaches, it seems the status of edTPA mayhem is quickly picking up speed. The Regents are now considering a proposed amendment to extend the deadline to June 30, 2016 for other certification requirements such as licensure exams other than edTPA, workshops required for certification, and even program requirements, for those candidates who fail the edTPA, use the “safety net” and take and pass the obsolete ATS-W, and file and pay for certification. This will likely be voted on in April. Meanwhile, let’s review the questions you likely have at this point:

How does the “safety-net” thing work again?
If you are confused, you’re not alone. A CUNY dean was until recently advising candidates to take the ATS-W if they hadn’t already, believing that it was good advice to pre-emptively be ready to use the safety net in case of edTPA failure. This made some sense because in the fine print the “safety-net” provision stated that candidates who had taken the ATS-W prior to April 30, 2014 did not need to retake the exam to qualify for the safety net provision. Therefore, the logic goes, a passing score on that test should be valid for any candidate who doesn’t pass the edTPA. But no! The passing ATS-W score only counts AFTER you have failed the edTPA. Unless of course you had previously (prior to April 2014) taken and passed the test in the good faith that it was a requirement for certification. There is still confusion out there. For example, a SUNY college in a FAQ says:
Q.    If I have already taken the ATS-W before failing the edTPA, can it be used in place of re-taking the edTPA?
A.    NO.  You must take the ATS-W after your edTPA failing grade is posted.
 Meanwhile, if you do the math, those wanting to take the 4-hour ATS-W on paper rather than a computer have to be ready to submit their edTPA by the end of next month in order to have time to get a score and register and take the ATS-W in case they fail in time for the June 30th deadline. Even if the Regents pass the amendment in April, candidates are still required to have failed the edTPA and taken and passed the ATS-W prior to June 30th, 2015.

What do the websites say?
Apparently Pearson had no trouble taking money from candidates who believed they could take the ATS-W pre-emptively, and now that it’s become a problematic situation, they have added a note to the website explaining you should only take the test if you failed the edTPA. To get information about how to get a voucher to take the ATS-W for free, however, you have to dig through your college’s website and emails to know what to do. Here’s a handy PDF of the instructions in case you need it. 

Can you register pre-emptively?
That might not be a bad idea, if you are concerned as most candidates are about passing the edTPA, because computer-based test slots in the weeks leading up to the deadline are likely to fill up fast and you may have trouble getting a reservation. It’s going to cost you though, because without the free voucher you have to pay $119 and if you cancel (if you pass the edTPA after all) you’ll only get $84 back in the refund. Pearson, always earning.

Can’t I just submit a crappy edTPA and then take and pass the ATS-W and be done with this nonsense?
Not a good idea because that’s exactly the mentality of people in the state’s Department of Education, so they have put some vague language in the fine print about how an edTPA with an unscoreable code “may or may not” count as a failing grade. Plus that failing score does stay on the TEACH account, branding you forever as a dud. Not that your future employers may care as they can decide for themselves about your qualifications. I did hear a horror story though about a candidate who thought she was lined up for a job in the New York City Department of Education, who was then told she wouldn’t get hired without a passing edTPA score, even though she was certified with the safety net provision.

I’m not worried about the edTPA, it’s this stupid ALST that is killing me!
Your frustration is perfectly understandable. From all accounts, the testing conditions of the ALST are a nightmare and even reasonably smart people are not passing, even when they score a 3 out of 4 on the essay portion. That’s likely because when the cut score was determined, people who made that determination were aiming for a 50% - 60% passing rate. Because let’s face it, this is all about trying to certify fewer teachers and pretending that this will convince the public that these new tests mean we have better new teachers than we did before. Again, talk to people at your college because it is possible that if you failed the ALST you can get a voucher to try again, and know that you may have to try again after that. Don’t have a panic attack. You are not alone. Everyone hates this test.

I’m still waiting to get my other test scores! I thought they said “early 2015” and since my calendar is filling up with deadlines I’d like to know where I stand.
Yeah, the new multi-subject test scores are delayed until “early 2015” because those people who work on cut scores are still figuring out what the passing standards will be so that more people will fail than was previously the case, even though the tests themselves are also harder now than they used to be. My advice: be prepared for a retake. Unless the Regents pass the amendment in April and that will give you another year.

1 comment:

  1. Let’s also talk about the attacks on teachers’ pensions across this country: