Do California's New Teachers Feel Ready to Educate Students with Learning Disabilities?
Including students with learning disabilities in traditional schools and classrooms has been an increasing priority in California. In turn, our state’s teacher preparation programs have faced increased responsibility to ensure newly-graduating teachers (known as teacher candidates) receive adequate preparation to educate all students including those with learning disabilities. One crucial unexplored aspect of this teacher preparation is the use of edTPA, a high-stakes teaching performance assessment, to reflect and improve classroom practices as well as a prerequisite for candidates’ licensure.
This study surveyed one cohort of graduating teaching candidates in 2017 from a large California research university. We examined what factors of candidates’ preparation related to feeling prepared to work with students with learning disabilities. Findings indicated that candidates who believed that edTPA was an effective tool for becoming a teacher also believed that the assessment helped prepare them to work with students with learning disabilities. Implications for preparation and policy are discussed.