syntax: The set of conventions for organizing symbols, words, and phrases together
into structures (e.g., sentences, graphs, tables).
language supports: The scaffolds, representations, and pedagogical strategies
teachers provide to help learners understand, use, and practice the concepts and
language they need to learn within disciplines (Santos, Darling-Hamm
The language supports planned within the lessons in edTPA should directly
support learners to understand and use identified language demands (function,
vocabulary and/or symbols, syntax or discourse) to deepen content understandings.
artifacts: Authentic work completed by you and your students including lesson plans,
copies of instructional and assessment materials, video clips of your teaching, and student
work samples. Artifacts are submitted as part of your evidence.
assessment (formal and informal): “[R]efer[s] to all those activities undertaken by
teachers and by their students . . . that provide information to be used as feedback to modify
the teaching and learning activities.”
Assessments provide evidence of students’ prior
knowledge, thinking, or learning in order to evaluate what students understand and how they
are thinking. Some examples of informal assessments are student questions and responses
during instruction and teacher observations of students as they work or perform. Some
examples of formal assessments are quizzes, homework assignments, lab reports, journals,
projects, and performance tasks.
assets (knowledge of students):
personal: refers to specific background information that students bring to the
learning environment. Students may bring interests, knowledge, everyday
experiences, family backgrounds, and so on, which a teacher can draw upon to
cultural: refers to the cultural backgrounds and practices that students bring to the
learning environment, such as traditions, languages and dialects, worldviews,
literature, art, and so on, that a teacher can draw upon to support learning.
community: refers to common backgrounds and experiences that students bring
from the community where they live, such as resources, local landmarks, community
events and practices, and so on, that a teacher can draw upon to support learning.
central focus: A description of the important understandings and core concepts that you
want students to develop within the learning segment. The central focus should go beyond a
list of facts and skills or procedures, align with content standards and learning objectives,
and address the subject-specific components in the learning segment. For example, the
subject-specific components for secondary science are conceptual understanding, use of
scientific practices during inquiry, and evidence-based explanations of or reasonable
predictions about a real-world phenomenon. A central focus for the learning segment might
be inheritance of traits. The learning segment would focus on conceptual understandings of
genotypes, phenotypes, dominant genes, and so on, an investigation of how relationships
Zwiers, J. (2008). Building academic language: Essential practices for content classrooms. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Santos, M., Darling-Hammond, L., & Cheuk, T. (2012). Teacher development to support English language learners in the
context of common core state standards. Stanford University Understanding Language. Available at
Black, P., & Wiliam, D. (1998). Inside the black box: Raising standards through classroom assessment. Phi Delta Kappan,
edTPA Secondary Science Assessment Handbook
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