Date of Award

January 2015

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Teaching & Learning

First Advisor

Barbara Combs


At least 34 states require teacher candidates to complete a comprehensive teacher performance assessment (edTPA) during their student teaching experience. Teacher candidates are assigned the edTPA during this critical time in their preparation. One state--Minnesota--uses the edTPA portfolio exclusively for teacher preparation program approval. Teacher candidates in Minnesota thus devote considerable effort, during a critical time in their teacher preparation program, in the completion of an assessment where the results do not affect their ability to obtain a teaching license. This study explored the impact of the edTPA's timing and perception of personal benefit on the level of effort teacher candidates were willing to invest. Twenty-two teacher candidates, from three Midwestern colleges and universities participated in semi-structured interviews and focus group meetings. A grounded theory, qualitative study revealed teacher candidates' perspectives and the meanings they ascribe to the process of completing an edTPA. Findings indicate that many teacher candidates were willing to devote time to the assessment despite the challenges they faced during the process; however, they did not perceive the edTPA to be an accurate reflection of their readiness for teaching. Most participants were also able to recognize personal benefits gained from completion of the edTPA. An additional finding revealed that most teacher candidates believed that if the due date were later in the student teaching semester,

their readiness for teaching would be more accurately reflected. As a result of this study, teacher education programs, particularly in Minnesota, may wish to consider implementation decisions that are responsive to teacher candidates' perspectives.