Education Professor Speaks at National edTPA Conference

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Written by Public Relations Intern Rachael Minard

Julia Houston

Julia Houston

Rome, Ga. — Julia Houston, assistant professor of early childhood education and edTPA coordinator for Shorter University’s School of Education, recently presented at the National edTPA Implementation Conference.

Houston topic was “edTPA and the Professional Learning Plan (PLP),” and her presentation was part of a roundtable discussion. She discussed the PLP as part of Georgia’s new teacher induction plan.

The conference, held in San Jose, Calif, highlighted relevant issues in education and how educators can address them. National speakers featured at the event included Linda Darling-Hammond, president and CEO of the Learning Policy Institute; Charles E. Ducommon, president of Education Emeritus at Stanford University; and Dr. Rick Stiggins, founder of the Assessment Training Institute, who spoke on assessment literacy being the foundation of truly effective schools.

edTPA is a performance-based assessment and support system used by teacher preparation programs in 40 states “to emphasize, measure and support the skills and knowledge that all teachers need from Day 1 in the classroom,” according to the edTPA website. Through edTPA, all Georgia teachers have to write and implement a professional learning plan including goals written in order to improve classroom instruction, Houston explained.

“Teacher candidates looking for certification in Georgia are required to pass edTPA with a specific score,” she added. Shorter’s School of Education has a 100 percent first-time submission pass rate on edTPA in all of its education programs.

Houston said that she and other education faculty members use teacher candidates’ edTPA scores to determine areas in need of improvement and then guide the teacher candidates in using that information a basis for completing a Professional Learning Plan before they graduate.

In regard to the effectiveness of the professional learning plan, Houston said, “As with any type of document, the value lies in the user. The PLP provides teachers an opportunity to evaluate their own strengths and areas of need and to write a targeted plan that will allow them to set their own goals for growth as a teacher. I absolutely see that as a positive.”

The national edTPA conference was open to all educators seeking to network within a learning community of fellow teachers in order to deepen their understand of edTPA and to discuss issues regarding it.

“The opportunity to interact with other educators across the country is always a valuable experience,” Houston said. “We were able to share our journey, struggles, and successes with edTPA! It is sometimes confirmation that we are moving in a positive direction with teacher preparation and also developing new ideas and strategies for working with our teacher candidates in preparing them for success on the edTPA.”

In addition to the roundtable presentation at the national conference, Houston also made a presentation on the Professional Learning Plan at a conference in Macon. That presentation focused on the development of the Professional Learning Plan.

Founded in 1873, Shorter University is a Christ-centered, four-year liberal arts university committed to excellence in education. U.S. News & World Report and The Princeton Review annually include Shorter on their lists of best Southeastern Colleges. The university offers traditional bachelor’s degrees in 40 areas of study, online courses and degree programs, undergraduate programs for working adults, associate’s, and master’s programs.