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Creating the Urgency for More Assessments
Necessity is the mother of invention goes the old adage. On what turns out to be the eve of new regulations for future teachers, the New York State Department of Education (NYSED) has invented yet another need for assessment. Inventing a need for more testing, however, is at best, a little bit ludicrous considering the repeated backlash regarding evaluative measures of students and teachers. NYSED has been notorious for rolling out mandates prior to investigating methodology, exploring research, and giving institutions of learning the time to prepare for new expectations. On the heels of accountability standards such as the Common Core State Standards and evaluative measures such as the Annual Professional Performance Review, the NYSED has once again rushed a mandate while neglecting to forthrightly serve and prepare the future educators in our New York State.
Soon to be teachers will be tested using the Educative Teacher Performance Assessment more commonly known as edTPA, a model developed to provide a gauge of teacher readiness which few educators, administrators, and higher education personnel know very little about. Some critics believe that rushing the edTPA model misses the mark in three ways: 1) Teacher preparation programs lack the knowledge in teaching teachers within this model; 2) Professors are now “teaching to a test;” and 3) Students seeking to become teachers have been left without proper support. Despite the trinity of criticism, as of May 1st, the laboratory experiment that has yet to be tested in the field becomes part of teacher preparation.
Is the urgency all an illusion just to invent more assessments? More importantly, is it possible that there is an ulterior motive to impose draconian measures without proper preparation?
Whether motives are steeped in research or part of a political agenda, reaching decisions that shape an institution must be made contemplatively and fairly. The fear that teaching and learning has become an endangered species is too eerily a reality.