Frequently Asked Questions

General Questions

The State of New Jersey Department of Education requires you take and receive a score on the Education Teacher Performance Assessment (edTPA) to become certified. The edTPA consists of 3 tasks: planning 3-5 lessons, video recording yourself teaching these 3-5 lessons, and collecting student work from these 3-5 lessons. These three main tasks must be submitting via Tk20 to Pearson to be scored.
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No, the edTPA portfolio does not replace other necessary and required coursework. It is a portfolio to be created in addition to it. edTPA is meant to evaluate teacher candidate readiness and is not meant to replace the various elements of a student’s education program, specifically including things like clinical placements, supervisory feedback, observations, etc. edTPA is just one method used to determine a teacher’s candidate’s readiness and to provide teacher candidates with knowledge in academic language development.
edTPA will be completed during your Clinical Practice II semester.
Official submission of edTPA costs $300.00. Payment is due when you sign up for edtpa.com which will happen during the Task 2 Workshop.
The most effective way to look at your entire process is to really manage your time well. This is key to the success and passing of the edTPA. Planning ahead allows for the most timely, efficient, and seamless process. As the “Making Good Choices” document suggests, it is best to tackle each portion in small amounts looking at each step and feeling confident that each piece represents your best, most individual perspective. Also keep in mind that utilizing the resources and supports provided will only make this process go more smoothly. This includes attending the numerous workshops throughout the semester, attending walk in hours for video troubleshooting, and using peer review to strengthen your work as you move throughout your process.
Many resources and supports are available to you as a student in the Teacher’s Ed program at Montclair State University but looking at the handbook for your subject area would be best as a beginning step. This is located in the edTPA course on Canvas. Additionally, the ADP Center, located in University Hall (room 1122 1st floor) is another resource. They provide video equipment kits for Task 2 completion, troubleshooting assistance, and support. Walk In hours, handouts, and workshops will be provided for further assistance. Any laptops needed can be rented through the OIT (Office of Information Technology) which is located on the 5th floor of University Hall. Also it should be noted that there are computer labs in the ADP Center (1142) and on the 5th floor (5007) in the OIT department.
Currently, there is no passing score for the State of New Jersey, but you must receive a score to get certified. It is important to strive for your scores to be as high as possible because each state has a different passing score.
Each edTPA task includes a series of rubrics which are scored on a 5 point scale. To pass edTPA you must earn an average of 3 out of 5 on all edTPA rubrics. edTPA Sample Rubric:
Level 1 Level 2 Level 3(target) Level 4 Level 5
Represents the knowledge and skills of a seriously struggling candidate who is not ready to teach. Represents the knowledge and skills of a candidate who is possibly ready to teach. Represents the knowledge and skills of a candidate who is qualified to teach. Represents a candidate with a solid foundation of knowledge and skills for a beginning teacher. Represents the advanced skills and abilities of a candidate very well qualified and ready to teach.
Yes, understanding the rubrics before planning, writing, and reflecting on your portfolio is key to success. These rubrics will help guide you and place you on the right track as you begin your portfolio.
Yes, there are page limits for each section or Task. These need to be adhered to. You can refer to the evidence chart in your subject area handbook for more details.
No, it is emphasized that originality of work is key to this process. On that note, all of the writing in your portfolio must be your own. Pearson, the company that evaluates the edTPA, has an advanced system to detect plagiarism. All three tasks must reflect you individually as a teacher candidate. The entirety of your portfolio should reflect your personal way of thinking when it comes to teaching and your understanding of the knowledge you have acquired in MSU’s educator preparation program.
Yes. Although this process must be an individual student’s original work, faculty can provide support documents such as how to guides, rubric templates, and handbooks. It is advised that students use the tools offered to them by their own program and not by outside third party sources to ensure original content and authorship.
Official edTPA submissions are scored by external higher education faculty and P-12 educators. Scorers are 50% IHE faculty and 50% P-12 educators in their appropriate content area.
It takes up to three weeks after submission to receive your scores.
While there is no passing score for NJ yet, if you are not successful in receiving a score or the desired passing score for a state you would like to teach in, a retake workshop will be held to develop a plan for success. You may resubmit your work as many times as needed to reach the passing score. Each task you resubmit will require a $100.00 fee.
There is an edTPA test that corresponds to each teacher certification area. You will take one of the edTPA tests listed below (depending your certification area):
  • Elementary Education
  • English as an Additional Language
  • Performing Arts
  • Physical Education
  • Secondary English Language Arts
  • History/Social Studies
  • Mathematics
  • Science
  • Visual Arts
  • World Language
  • Classical Language
  • Early Childhood
  • When you are writing lesson plans think about WHY you are doing the activity you are planning. Plans should build on one another. Begin to reflect.
  • Start thinking about researchers and theorists you can reference in your reflections.
  • When you pull students for re-engagement lessons, think about making sure you have different levels of learners in the group.
  • Work on giving effective feedback to students and finding patterns in their work.
  • When you are at the school or in the community, think about what characteristics might impact student learning.
  • Support Materials
    • When you start your student teaching, you will be have access to a Canvas course with support materials specific to your program.
  • Workshops
    • During the semester you are student teaching, you will attend 2 workshops that will guide you through completing edTPA and have an optional 2 writing days to work on your edTPA.
  • Technology Equipment
    • You will have access to technology equipment that will assist you in recording quality edTPA videos.You will also have access to open video lab hours.
  • Update Announcements
    • You will receive Canvas announcements from the edTPA coordinator with tips and reminders for completing edTPA.

Task 1 Questions:

This task hones in on the central focus your portfolio. This must be chosen in relation to your cooperating teacher’s curriculum. Additionally, this is the portion of your portfolio where you will show effective and connected lesson planning. It is noted that you must pay special attention to detail and mention specifics (i.e. students’ demographics). Make sure to only mention factual knowledge of the students and not to make any assumptions. This is your time to demonstrate your individual approach. This involves linking past learning with current learning and experiences of your students and defending the lesson plans you teach. The connections that will made throughout the entirety of this portfolio are set up in Task 1.
About 3-5 lessons are recommended, however, you want to be able to demonstrate to the scorer the connections you are making.
Yes, there is a 4 page limit for these.
This is okay as long as it is addressed in your lesson plans and you assimilate them to your specific students’ needs and student population.
Overall the most important pieces to keep in mind include your plans for the lesson, the reasoning behind them, and the specifics of why you chose the lesson(s) you did.
While there are no prescribed lesson plan templates from SCALE for edTPA, we recommend you to use the lesson plan templates from the edTPA Canvas course. When choosing a lesson plan template make sure to use one that keeps your overall portfolio strong.

Task 2 Questions:

Yes, you are professional responsible as a teacher candidate to make sure that consent forms are filled. Do not dispose of these until after your edTPA portfolio is submitted and you receive passing scores.
NO, it is crucial for you not to share these anywhere else. Once you share a video electronically, you have effectively lost control of it. These are extremely confidential and are not able to be shared on any platform. The only place these should be used is in your edTPA portfolio.
Once your portfolio is submitted only the licensed Pearson employees that are scoring your portfolio can see. These videos will never be shared elsewhere without your written consent.
No, the videos must be continuous and unedited. Of course you can cut the size of the videos but you are unable to change elements of the originally recorded videos themselves.
The video clips are central to the success of Task 2. You must make sure that you are providing accurate videos in order to demonstrate your lesson(s).
You are able to provide a limited amount of captions or provide a transcript. Do this sparingly.
Choose clips that effectively demonstrate your lesson, the students’ understanding. Your ultimate goal is for the scorer to grasp the lesson and its demonstration.

Task 3 Questions:

You must select ONE assessment from your learning segment. This would be one of the assessments given to the class during your learning segment. Using that same (ONE) assessment you will choose THREE students’ work samples to go into more detail about.
The assessment you design must demonstrate students’ thinking. It cannot be just an overview of what they memorized.
It must include:
  • An alignment with the objectives of the learning segment
  • Measurement of the learning outcomes in relation to the central focus
  • The subject specific elements from your subject area handbook
Pay special attention to patterns and the demonstration of range. You want to cover the class as a whole not just one area of learning. Make sure all learning is represented in your assessment.
The feedback is directly related to the assessment you choose to focus on. Feedback should be clear and specific information on the learning performance of students. Make sure that you are very detailed in what students did well, what they could improve on, and how you can help them going forward.
It is essential to focus on the students’ language use in regards to feedback on the lesson.
This is the part where you provide specifics speaking to how you will go forward with teaching. You must describe what you will do in the future and you also must relate it back to components of each Task. Remember BE SPECIFIC.

Technology Questions:

You can contact or visit the ADP Center in University Hall( 1122 on the 1st floor). Alternatively, you can rent edTPA video recording equipment by visiting this site.
You can go to room 1134 located inside the ADP Center which is on the 1st floor of University Hall. Yes, open video lab hours will be provided to assist with troubleshooting and video equipment questions and support. These will be held in the ADP Center and hours are posted on your Canvas calendar.
Yes, the ADP Center has iPods for recording as well as Swivl sets and Lucy Kits. Swivl kits include camera platform and remote microphone. Kits include a microphone and tripod stand.
Yes, the ADP Center computers include editing software for trimming and compressing video recordings. Walkthrough guides and videos are available on the Canvas site
Equipment can be checked out with your Student ID through the ADP Center. You must return it within the time frame given at checkout. Each rental will be checked out for a one week period.
Any individual who checks out any equipment becomes responsible for it. You are responsible for any damages and/or replacement fees. This also applies if the equipment is lost or stolen. You can reference the rental agreement you sign when you pick up the equipment for details.
There is no fee to rent the equipment.
Students have a one week time frame to check out equipment. Given that there are many students video recording for their edTPA portfolios and will most likely be doing so around the same time, the equipment needs to be fairly distributed and available.

School Partner FAQs

  • The edTPA is a performance-based assessment completed by teacher candidates during student teaching and the semester prior (now called Clinical Practice I and II statewide). The assessment is comprised of three sections, or “tasks”, that teacher candidates complete: planning, instruction, and assessment. There are subject-specific versions for each subject area, and handbooks are available for each certification area that provide guidance on subject-specific language and information that should be present in the submitted materials. Teacher candidates will submit a portfolio of artifacts created during Clinical Practice I and II, including lesson plans, sample assessments, written reflections, student work samples and video of themselves teaching. The submission occurs during the Clinical Practice II semester.
  • Given that teacher candidates already engage in planning, instruction, and assessment activities as part of their preparation at Montclair State, it is important to note that the edTPA is simply a new vehicle through which they will demonstrate competence in these areas.
  • Spring 2017: All MSU student teachers will pilot the edTPA (matching what most universities are doing)
  • 2017-2018 school year: All candidates seeking initial teaching certification in NJ will be required to complete the edTPA in order to be certified. There will be no cut score needed to pass the assessment.
  • 2018-2019 school year: All candidates seeking initial teaching certification in NJ will be required to pass the edTPA by meeting a cut score set by the NJDOE.
Teacher candidates will be preparing their edTPA artifacts independently and in workshops, seminar classes, and peer groups. While they may have questions or seek advice from their cooperating teachers about what topics to choose, etc., there is no expectation on the part of Montclair State University that the cooperating teacher will set aside extra time to work with the intern specifically on the edTPA. University faculty and staff will be providing ongoing support. In addition, the assessment specifically prohibits cooperating teachers, supervisors, faculty, et al from providing direct feedback on the work teacher candidates plan to submit. The video component is the only piece of the edTPA where the cooperating teacher will need to be “involved,” primarily in terms of the logistics.
Interns must submit video of themselves teaching as part of the implementation section of the edTPA. Here are some quick facts about this component:
  • Student faces do not have to be shown in the video. Video can be shot from behind students and/or student faces can be blurred out with technology that all interns will have access to and training for.
  • As few as five students need to participate (appear) in the lesson.
  • Interns will be required to use a stand-alone video recording device such as an iPod or video camera that is not connected to the Internet. No phone recording devices will be permitted.
  • As per edTPA legal guidelines (to which interns must agree), videos cannot be shared online or used for any other purpose besides submission to edTPA.
  • Interns will be using Tk20, software package/platform, to securely upload videos from the recording devices to a computer and then directly to the edTPA site.
  • MSU’s ADP Center for Learning Technologies will be providing ongoing training and support to interns on how to videotape, edit, and upload their videos. The ADP Center will also have video equipment for interns to borrow.
  • The State has provided a sample release form that districts can choose to use or you can require your own release form for student participation in the video if desired.
  • Unless you prefer otherwise, interns will be responsible for disseminating, collecting, and storing release forms.
We are grateful for your partnership and thank you for your support in striving to continuously improve the quality of the P-12 teacher education programs at Montclair State University.