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College of Education

edTPA Mentor Teachers

Thank you for being a mentor teacher!

You know better than anyone how hard it can be to first start teaching. Your help is appreciated.

Introduction to the edTPA

Washington State University’s College of Education has been involved with the implementation of the edTPA™ in Washington state since the very beginning, with a focus to better ensure that teachers beginning their careers are truly prepared to teach effectively. The edTPA requires teacher candidates to demonstrate the skills needed to enter the classroom ready to help all their students learn.
Washington’s legislature has mandated the use of a performance-based assessment of teacher candidates and the Professional Educators Standards Board has adopted the edTPA as the approved assessment to meet this mandate. The edTPA is completed during the student teaching placement, and submitted to an external scorer. A passing score is required for certification.
If you are a K-12 teacher who mentors teacher candidates in their practicum and student teaching experiences, you will see how the edTPA creates a more rigorous and meaningful experience for both the candidate and students in the classroom. Teacher candidates will develop lesson plans and assessments, and deliver instruction consistent with state standards and district curriculum. While the edTPA is a national initiative, Washington state candidates have an additional 3 rubrics that focus on Student Voice.
Completing the edTPA gives focus to critical areas of effective instruction
Areas coveredCandidate materials reviewed
PlanningLesson plans, instruction materials, student assignments, assessments, planning commentary.
InstructionUnedited video clips, instruction commentary.
AssessmentSamples of student work, summary of student learning, assessment commentary.
Reflective ProcessPlanning commentary, instruction commentary, and assessment commentary.
Academic LanguageUnedited video clips and/or student work samples, planning and assessment commentaries.
Student VoiceUnedited video clips and/or student work samples, planning, instruction, and assessment commentaries.
The edTPA was developed under the leadership of the Stanford Center for Assessment, Learning and Equity in partnership with the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education. More than 700 educators from 24 states and more than 160 institutions of higher education collaborated on the edTPA to meet the need for a nationally available research and standards based assessment of candidate performance. The edTPA process draws on experience gained from the 25 year development of performance-based assessments of teaching, including the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards and the Performance Assessment for California Teachers.
Video recording requirement
The video recording is a new requirement for teacher candidates that has been designed from the ground up to protect privacy and confidentiality. The video clips will be submitted for scoring purposes only.
Teacher candidates are trained in advance to obtain appropriate permission for each child as well as adults who appear in any recording. Teacher candidates are expected to follow their mentor school’s policies and protocols for obtaining the necessary parental permission or to place non-participating children off-camera, but they can provide an edTPA specific permission form if necessary.
The video submitted by each teacher candidate will not contain the candidate’s name, the names of the mentor teacher, school or district or the last names of the students. Each teacher candidate must agree in advance that the video cannot be shared, posted or used for any other purpose.
What you can expect
All teacher candidates who complete Washington teacher preparation programs each year will go through the edTPA process.
As a mentor teacher, your role will be the same as always, though there may be some new twists. Teacher candidates may need more input early about the context and background of their students so that they can learn to plan instruction based on specific student needs.
You may also find that the candidates want to spend more time reflecting on their instruction and lessons in preparation for the written commentaries they must submit. While candidates will have technical support from their preparation programs for the videos, they may ask you about your school policies and protocols for securing parental permission for the recorded lessons.
Your collaboration as a mentor and facilitator will be critical to the overall experience and success of your student teacher. In return, the edTPA will foster professional dialogue that will enhance the mutual benefits both for veteran teachers and teacher candidates.
[This introduction adapted from resources available at]
Washington State University