QUESTION: If I only record 4 students, should I change my Context for Learning?

This question is asked so often that I sometimes want to just run and bury my head when I see it. This is when the "exceptions" that the edTPA has made are more confusing than they are helpful.

FIRST: Let's get some facts straight:

  • Unless you are SPED, the larger the group that you choose to plan your learning segment for, the better. There are many questions about planning for a diverse group of unique learners and that gets harder with a smaller group. Also, when you get to Task Three and have to find patterns of learning, that is MUCH harder to do with a small group.

  • Your Context for Learning is based on the number of students who will learn the material and take the assessment. Are you going to teach this learning segment to the whole class? Or will you only be using a small group throughout this learning segment? The Context for Learning is NOT based on how many students you record. It is based on who you are planning the learning segment for. Who is going to learn this material? Who will end up taking the assessment? To learn more about the Context for Learning, CLICK HERE.

  • Your Task One is planned for the students you are going to teach (not necessarily record). Are you teaching everyone? Are you teaching only a small group? Because your Context for Learning also is based on the number of students who will be learning in this learning segment, your lesson plans, instructional materials, assessments, and commentary should reflect your Context for Learning. As I noted before, the more students that you discuss in Task One, the better. To learn more about planning for Task One, CLICK HERE.

  • Task Two allows for you to record a small group of students even if a much larger group is being taught. The intention of this rule was to help you with recording. It was never the intent of edTPA to encourage you to plan a learning segment for four students. We know this because Task One and Task Three work out better the more students that you have. To learn more about Task Two, CLICK HERE.

  • Task Two does NOT have to match the Context for Learning.

  • Task Three DOES need to match the Context for Learning (within reason). If you planned your learning segment for an entire class, then your entire class must take the assessment that you analyze. Sometimes students are absent though, right? If you have students that are absent, then just comment on that fact in Prompt 1 of Task Three. There is absolutely no need to change your Context for Learning unless a very significant number of students were absent and never got to make up the assessment. To learn more about Task Three, CLICK HERE.

    • Take Note: Before you go change a bunch of stuff, remember that the scorer only knows what you tell them.

ANSWER: Your Context for Learning reflects the number of students you are planning to instruct and assess - NOT the number of students that you plan to record.

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Take Care and Hang in there!!!

Mamaw Yates

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