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José Felipe Martínez Wins AERA’s Palmer O. Johnson Memorial Award

By Joanie Harmon

SRM associate professor recognized for article raising concerns about the technical properties of edTPA.

UCLA Associate Professor of Education Jóse Felipe Martínez has been honored by the American Educational Research Association (AERA) with the Palmer O. Johnson Memorial Award. Martínez, who teaches in the division of Social Research Methodology (SRM) in the UCLA School of Education and Information Studies, was recognized for his article “Assessing the Assessment: Evidence of Reliability and Validity in the edTPA.” co-authored with colleagues Gitomer, Battey, and Hyland of Rutgers University. Martínez and his colleagues will be presented with the award during a  ceremony at the 2022 Annual Meeting of AERA on Sunday, April 24, 11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. PDT, in the San Diego Convention Center.

“We are thrilled that AERA has recognized the outstanding work of our colleague, Professor Martínez, as the recipient of the Palmer O. Johnson Memorial Award,” says Christina (Tina) Christie, Wasserman Dean of the UCLA School of Education and Information Studies. 

The article examines the Educative Teacher Performance Assessment (edTPA), a system of standardized portfolio assessments of teaching performance mandated by educator preparation programs in dozens of states across the nation as part of initial certification for preservice teachers. Martínez and his co-authors examined the technical documentation of edTPA, and raised concerns about scoring design, the reliability of the assessments, and the consequential impact on decisions about edTPA candidates, arguing that the proposed and actual uses of the edTPA are currently unwarranted on technical grounds.

“It’s important to note that we do not oppose, in fact we recognize the importance of high quality assessments of teaching, even for high stakes decisions,” says Professor Martínez. “However, we found that the edTPA does not meet even the most basic standards of technical quality expected of an assessment of this type, with important consequences for teacher candidates across the country. Thus, after careful consideration we decided to take the unusual step of calling for a moratorium in any uses of edTPA for teacher certification on technical and ethical grounds.”

The award honors the lifelong achievements of Palmer O. Johnson, a dedicated educator and his pioneering work in educational research and methodology and is given for an outstanding article appearing in a journal published by AERA, including AERA Open, the American Educational Research Journal, Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, Educational Researcher, or the Journal of Educational and Behavioral Statistics.