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The edTPA is a performance-based assessment that aims to measure teacher candidates’ readiness for teaching. Beginning in the fall of 2015, this assessment will be a mandatory requirement for those seeking certification in Georgia. General agreement exists in the field of education about the basic knowledge and skills essential for beginning teachers to demonstrate in classroom teaching. Does edTPA measure the knowledge and skills essential for beginning mathematics teachers in particular? Assuming that edTPA can successfully measure that knowledge and skills for beginning teachers, the use of the assessment could be valuable.

One of the critical components of edTPA is academic language. Academic language is the formalized language of school to help students communicate, define and form concepts, and construct knowledge (Gottlieb & Ernst-Slavit, 2014). According to World-Class Instructional Design and Assessment (WIDA), emphasis on academic language will also benefit linguistically diverse populations of students because academic language is “a vehicle for communicating and learning within sociocultural contexts; the interaction between different situations and people in the learning environment (WIDA, 2014, p. 4).”

In edTPA, teacher candidates should demonstrate how they create opportunities (i.e., language functions) for students to use academic language such as vocabulary, syntax, and discourse to achieve the learning objective. As teacher educators, it is our responsibility to prepare our candidates for the edTPA by preparing them to support their students’ mathematics learning through these language demands.

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.