Best Evidence in Brief: Can a test predict teacher success?

In Flanders we’re working on a test that exactly want to that: to predict teacher success.This study that I found via Best Evidence in Brief shows the complexity of such an endeavour:

The edTPA is an assessment, introduced in 2013, that evaluates prospective teachers’ classroom performance. It is used by more than 600 teacher education programs in 40 states, and passing it is a requirement for licensure in 7 states. In an attempt to discern whether the test can accurately determine if teacher candidates who achieve higher scores on this test help their students better than lower-scoring candidates, The National Center for Analysis of Longitudinal Data n Education Research (CALDER) conducted the first independent study of edTPA, and found mixed results.

Subjects were 2,300 teacher candidates in Washington State who took the edTPA in 2014. Their scores were correlated with their students’ standardized test scores in reading and math. The study found that new teachers who passed the edTPA on their first try increased their students’ reading achievement scores more than new teachers who didn’t pass edTPA on their first attempt. There were no differences regarding the effects on students’ math scores.

The authors discuss the complicated implications of these findings for policy and practice. For example, they state that new teachers who fail the test the first time may ultimately become high-performing teachers, and warn of screening them out of the workforce.

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