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Reports from Policy Analysts

Tennessee and the edTPA

Submitted On: Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Analyst: Hundley, Melanie

The development of pre-service teacher’s content knowledge, pedagogical content knowledge, and disciplinary practices are at the forefront in the ongoing discussions of teacher education programs, measures of novice teacher quality, and what it takes to prepare a teacher to teach both content and students.  While teacher education programs and state departments of education are focusing on how to prepare teachers for the complexities of the classrooms they will be entering, there is a very political and public debate happening around multiple assessments focused on evaluating novice teacher practices and increasingly rich and complex content standards for learners. Central to both of these conversations is an emphasis on developing literacy practices that support student learning within the disciplines. The edTPA, a pre-service teacher assessment, focuses on planning, instruction, and assessment in action.  Modeled after the National Board Assessment of teaching, this assessment looks at the ways in which teacher candidates plan, teach, assess, and adapt instruction for the students in a focus class.

While many of the universities in Tennessee have been part of the national pilot for the edTPA since 2011, it has been more slowly adopted as part of state educational policy, in large part because the universities chose to pilot the assessment rather than the assessment being mandated by the state.  This slow roll-out of the assessment allowed for universities to use the edTPA as a program assessment as well as an assessment of novice teacher performance.  As universities realized the strength of the edTPA as part of a constellation of programs assessments, it has spread across the state.  As one university professor stated, “I was skeptical that a new assessment would do anything different or better than we were already doing but I found that the edTPA’s focus on students and student learning had a profound effect on how my teacher candidates thought about teaching the students in their class.”  The professor went on to say that the focus on language, disciplinary practice, and evidence supported the vision of teaching that he and his university colleagues had.

The edTPA, now part of Tennessee policy, will become fully consequential for candidates in 2019. Prior to January 1, 2019, teacher licensure candidates may submit qualifying scores on the relevant Praxis exams and relevant teacher assessment OR the edTPA.  The current qualifying scores for the edTPA are:

  • edTPA, 13 Rubric Fields: 32

  • edTPA, 15 Rubric Fields: 37

  • edTPA, 18 Rubric Fields: 44

Beginning January 1, 2019, candidates for initial licensure will be required to submit qualifying scores on the edTPA.  Qualifying scores will be:

  • edTPA, 13 Rubric Fields: 36

  • edTPA, 15 Rubric Fields: 42

  • edTPA, 18 Rubric Fields: 50


Academic Level

Higher Education



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