Photo of students in an MPH classroom.

FAQs for Teacher Interns

What is edTPA? What does this have to do with me?

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 three tasks: planning three to five lessons, video recording yourself teaching these three to five lessons, and collecting student work from these three to five lessons. These three main tasks must be submitted via Tk20 to Pearson to be scored.
Who determined the tasks for edTPA?

Content was developed by more than 1,000 teachers and teacher educators from 29 states.
Does the edTPA portfolio replace my capstone assignment or other required summative coursework for graduation and/or course completion(s)?

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.

When do I complete edTPA?

edTPA will be completed during your Clinical Practice II semester.

How much does edTPA cost?

Official submission of edTPA costs $300.00. Payment is due when you sign up at which will happen during the Task 2 Workshop.

What is the best way for me to approach the edTPA process?

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.

How can I find out more information on the specific subject area or overall guidance for this 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.

How are edTPA tasks scored?

Each edTPA task includes a series of rubrics which are scored on a five point scale. To pass edTPA you must earn an average of three out of five 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.
Should I read through and attempt to understand the rubric before beginning my process?

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.

Before I start, are there any page limits I should know about?

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.

Can I use previous ideas or lesson plans for this portfolio?

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 Montclair State’s educator preparation program.

Can my professor, advisor, other faculty and staff assist me in this process?

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.

Who will score my edTPA submission?

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.

How long will it take to receive my edTPA portfolio results?

It takes up to three weeks after submission to receive your scores.

What if I don't pass?

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.

Which edTPA test do I take?

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
What can you do to prepare for edTPA?

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.

How does Montclair State University support you during edTPA?

Support Materials

When you start your student teaching, you will have access to a Canvas course with support materials specific to your program.


During the semester you are student teaching, you will attend two workshops that will guide you through completing edTPA and have an optional two 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:
What is the purpose of Task 1?
This task hones in on the central focus of 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.
How many lesson plans should I submit?
About three to five lessons are recommended, however, you want to be able to demonstrate to the scorer the connections you are making.
Is there a page limit for each lesson plan?
Yes, there is a four page limit for these.
Since originality was mentioned as being a requirement, how do I go about a lesson plan that is set forth or prescribed by a standard curriculum or in a certain district?
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.
What are the central elements to Task 1?
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.
Are there specific lesson plan formats or templates to adhere to?
While there are no prescribed lesson plan templates from SCALE for edTPA, we recommend you 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:
Is it my responsibility to make sure that consent by students (and their parents) is given?
Yes, you are professionally 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.
Am I able to post these videos online or use them in other teaching related settings?
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.
How do I know that these videos will remain private once I submit the 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.
Can I re-record or edit in new clips to replace mistakes or misunderstandings in my videos?
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.
How important are the video clips for passing scores on Task 2?
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).
What happens if the video goes well but I am in a setting where the sound is not perfectly clear?
You are able to provide a limited amount of captions or provide a transcript. Do this sparingly.
How do I know what video clips are the most effective?
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:
Where do I begin with the assessment task?
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.
What should I keep in mind while choosing the assessment I focus on?
The assessment you design must demonstrate students’ thinking. It cannot be just an overview of what they memorized.
What should the evaluation criteria entail?
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

How do I choose students’ work samples for my portfolio?
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.
Where does the feedback portion of this Task come in?
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.
Whose language do I focus on, my own or the students’?
It is essential to focus on the students’ language use in regards to feedback on the lesson.
What do I need to provide in the next steps portion?
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 to BE SPECIFIC.

Technology Questions:

Where do I go to speak to someone about edTPA equipment rentals?
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 the ADP Center.
Are there office hours?
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.
Is there any video equipment provided to students who do not have access to technology for the video recording?
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.
Are there any additional resources available to me?
Yes, the ADP Center computers include editing software for trimming and compressing video recordings. Walkthrough guides and videos are available on the Canvas site
What is the policy for renting equipment?
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.
What happens if I lose, break, or if the video equipment is stolen?
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.
Is there a fee to rent the equipment?
There is no fee to rent the equipment.
What is the policy on the amount of time to have equipment checked out?
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.