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Advice

Ace Your edTPA

Eight tips to help you succeed in your teacher preparation assessment.
young woman on computer in college library
Published: 01/15/2021

It’s time to shine! If you are a candidate in one of the 600+ teacher preparation programs across the country, there’s a good chance you’re using edTPA—the classroom-based, subject-specific, performance assessment—to demonstrate your readiness to teach. And your friends at NEA are here to help. These eight tips are your road map to edTPA success. 

Read the entire handbook before you begin. While reading 50+ pages may seem daunting, your subject-specific handbook is organized to tell you exactly what you need to do, what you need to write, and how you will be assessed. From the start, you’ll want to understand the types of questions you will be asked in all tasks and the types of evidence you will need to show. 

Carefully read the prompts and answer all parts of each question. Underline the verb in each prompt and make sure you do what it asks. If the prompt asks you to describe something, describe it. If it asks you to explain your answer or opinion, then explain. Underline the key terms and use them in your response. For example, if the prompt says, “Describe your students’ prior academic learning,” then your response should contain the words “My students’ prior academic learning … .” 

Practice before recording your learning segment. Watch the videos before it’s time to do your edTPA. This will help you and your students feel more comfortable on edTPA days. You can work out all of the technical glitches and determine the best angle for your camera in advance. Be sure that both you and your students can be seen and heard. (And don’t forget to get those permissions to record students. The earlier the better!) 

Capture every day of your learning segment. It is imperative that you record all three to five lessons in your learning segment. What you thought might be the best day to record might turn out to be a day when the students are exhausted. Ensure that you record extra material, so you can choose the best clip (or clips) to showcase your classroom environment and instruction. 

Don’t try to be perfect. Candidates often feel pressure to show a “perfect” class, where no one speaks out of turn, but that is not necessary for success. Let your clips show that you respect your students as individuals and engage them in higher-order thinking skills. 

Focus on the students. This goes for your writing as well as instruction. Put the students at the center of your analysis. As often as possible, the students should be the subject of your sentence. Plan for students to do the majority of the work in your lessons. 

Complete Task 3 BEFORE you complete Task 2. Nationally, Task 3 is the lowest performing task. Keep your brain fresh and ready to tackle this challenge by completing it before you analyze your recorded clips. 

Remember, it’s just about good teaching. Completing edTPA is an opportunity for you to showcase all you have learned during your coursework and student teaching—and demonstrate what an awesome teacher you are going to be! Follow the directions, answer the questions, be specific,
and you’ll be fine. 

For more information, check out more edTPA resources from NEA Teacher Quality or choose from the list below.

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The National Education Association (NEA), the nation's largest professional employee organization, is committed to advancing the cause of public education. NEA's 3 million members work at every level of education—from pre-school to university graduate programs. NEA has affiliate organizations in every state and in more than 14,000 communities across the United States.